Microsoft Word/Strange text encoding


When I try to print a new document in word 2010 I get a box asking what text encoding I want.  I choose the the windows option, but the text window shows strange special characters and what appears to be the programming language.  I've tried repeatedly to adjust the encoding option to Western Europe (American English ?) but nothing works. Older document created say, weeks ago, print all right.  Printing e-mails works all right. Cannot print new Garmin Owners's manual -  same wierd text encoding instead of English.  I've read my Word 2010 booklet but w/o sucess. Thanks for your time and effort in telling me what dumb thing I did to cause this.  !

Your Garmin owner's manual is almost certainly a PDF. Word 2010 can create PDFs but not read them; for that you need to use Adobe Reader. In the unlikely event that you don't have Adobe Reader, you can get it from

If you are trying to open the PDF from Windows Explorer (My Computer) by double-clicking, and it is trying to open in Word, then the problem is that your file association is incorrect. You should be able to right-click on the file, choose Open With, and select Adobe Reader. To make this permanent, however, you should right-click, select Choose Program, then select Adobe Reader and make sure that any check box referring to always using this program to open this type of file is checked.

Depending on your version of Windows, there are articles at the Microsoft site about how to change the file association:

Windows 7:

Windows Vista:

Windows XP:
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Suzanne S. Barnhill


I've been using Word for Windows since version 2.0 (1992), and the more I learn about it, the more I realize how little I know. But I may know a few things that you don't, and I'll help if I can. I answer many questions every day in Microsoft's peer support forums and as a result have been awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) designation by Microsoft Corporation. You may be able to find the answer to your question at the Word MVPs' FAQ site or at my own Word FAQ site, so please check those first! Please, no questions about VBA (macros), Registry editing, networks, or complex merges, as I have no experience with these aspects of Word, nor do I have any experience with Word for Mac. Please indicate which version of Word you are using; if you are not sure, see "What version of Word do I have?".


I have a master's degree in classics (Latin), which is surprisingly helpful, though I no longer teach. The things I am proudest of: Having raised two children to maturity, both Merit Scholars, both college graduates (one a philosophy major!), one Phi Beta Kappa (from Harvard!); having been made a Paul Harris Fellow by my Rotary club; having been designated a Microsoft MVP.

Rotary Club of Fairhope, Friends of the Fairhope Public Library

B.A. (Latin), Agnes Scott College, 1966; M.A. (Classics), Emory University, 1972.

Awards and Honors
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award every year since 1999; many Rotary honors

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