Ending Office Autoexec annoyance

I’m willing to put up with a fair share of abuse from my computers. Naturally, I won’t countenance a machine that refused to boot, eats my data, or fires up iTunes to blast BTO’s n-n-n-noxious “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” unless specifically asked to, but when it comes to the very occasional error message, count me among the Live and Let Live League.

However, when error messages become predictable rather than occasional, it’s time to take action. Today, that action was taken when Excel, for the umpteenth time, displayed its now-routine “Compile error in hidden module: Autoexec” error message when I attempted to quit the application.

It turns out that if you run Adobe Acrobat Pro along with Microsoft Office 2004’s Mac Service Pack 1 (11.1.0), this error can appear when you close Office docs or quit Office applications (though it happened to me only when closing Excel docs). The conflict appears to arise due to the PDFMaker plug-ins installed by Acrobat Pro. To work around the problem, dump the PDFMaker files from the affected applications and then prevent Acrobat from reinstalling copies.

The files you want to toss are:

Excel: /Applications/Microsoft Office 2004/Office/Startup/Excel/PDFMaker.xla

PowerPoint: /Applications/Microsoft Office 2004/Office/Startup/PowerPoint/PDFMaker.ppa

Word: /Applications/Microsoft Office 2004/Office/Startup/Word/PDFMaker.dot

Once you’ve done this and restarted your Mac, launch Acrobat. When you see the warning that the PDFMaker plug-in needs repair, uncheck the box next to it and click Continue to prevent Acrobat from reinstalling it (if you click Cancel, it will be reinstalled).

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