Printer needn't spit out specs

March 19, 2006|By JAMES COATES - Chicago Tribune

Q. I hope that you can help me fix a problem with my printer spitting out an extra page every time I print a document using Microsoft Word 2003.

Every time I print a document only in Word 2003, I get a second sheet of what I call a sheet of specs. Here is an example:

Filename: ComCom Memo 02-07-06 letterhead.doc

Directory: C:

Documents and Settings

My Computer

My Documents

Template: C:

Documents and Settings

My Computer






Title: Bill Williams


Author: William G. Williams

I have followed all of the advice I have been given by the experts, and it's all been to no avail. This is causing me to use excessive amounts of paper. I really need help as soon as possible.

- Bill Williams via e-mail

A. Those "specs" getting printed on a separate page every time you order Microsoft Word to print a document are known as the "document properties" at Microsoft and your problem is quite simple to solve. There are settings under Page Setup, which is under the File tool in the Word command bar, that include a command to print a properties sheet each time a document is sent to the printer.

Fixing this is easier by far than was explaining your problem to the four of us you have asked for help. Click on Tools in Word's command bar and scroll down to Options. When the Options menu pops up, click on the tab for Print.

There you will find a heading called "Include with Document." Below that is a check box for document properties. Remove the check, and our nation's forests will be a tad safer and your problem of always getting an unwanted page will disappear.

Q. I can no longer back up my Quicken files on my old 3 1/2-inch floppy disk because the program needs more disk space than a floppy has. Also, my Zip drive is no longer available on my new Windows XP computer. Furthermore, I have been unable to back up my Quicken files to a CD because I cannot find a "Burn" command. I have tried several programs that are supposed to make this CD-burning procedure easy, without success. I have even tried to get help in the Microsoft book "Microsoft Windows XP Edition 2" under "Step by Step," Page 101. I get the message "Put disk in drive" (it is already in the drive).

- Bill Williams,

Basking Ridge, NJ

A. I've got to explain why out of all of my e-mail I decided to answer two questions from a guy named Bill Williams. It's partly because the Quicken question is timely. However, I also finished answering the two questions before I noticed that the notes were from the same guy using different versions of his name and address.

Dealing with backups of Quicken files vexes a lot of people doing their taxes this time of year. Your computer is either telling you that you are trying to use a faulty CD or that your CD drive is defective. It's a far better idea to buy an inexpensive thumb drive that plugs into a USB port and use it to store those Quicken files containing your entire financial portfolio. We'd all be advised to get one of these inexpensive devices, use it to store our important information, and put it somewhere safe.

Do this and you won't need to worry about whether your computer can or cannot work with CDs or floppies or aging Zip drives. Thumb drives are gadgets about the size and shape of a pack of gum that include a USB connector and a memory card. A 16-megabyte one costs about $20.

You plug the thing into the USB port on that new Windows XP machine, and its icon will appear in the My Computer folder. Drag and drop your Quicken data files onto that icon, and the backup is done on a rugged piece of equipment that works with all new computers. These small drives are more reliable than CDs, which are prone to failure from scratches on the surface, warping or just confusing software, as you are experiencing right now.

Contact Jim Coates via e-mail at or via mail at the Chicago Tribune, Room 400, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60611. Questions can be answered only through this column.

The Herald-Mail Articles