MacOFF: How to Optimize Your Macintosh System Configuration

This article was previously published under Q297238
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
For a Microsoft Word 98 version of this article, see 184839.
This article describes how to get the best possible performance from Microsoft Office programs by optimizing your Macintosh operating system. To do this, you can make adjustments to your system software configuration (extensions, fonts, and so on) and hardware configuration (amount of memory, available hard disk space, and so on).

Memory Allocation

When you install the Office programs, different programs are set with specific memory allocations assigned; for example, Word is set up with 10,000 KB (10 MB) of memory allocated to it. On some systems, an Office program may run faster if you increase the amount of memory allocated to it. For example, with additional memory, Word performs less frequent disk swapping. This is especially true if you usually use a program to work on large files. To allocate more memory to an Office program, follow these steps:
  1. Quit the Office program if it is running. (On the File menu, click Quit.)
  2. In the Finder (desktop), select the Microsoft program name icon.
  3. Select Memory from the Get Info submenu on the File menu.
  4. Increase the value in the Preferred Size box. Start by increasing the size by 5,000 KB. If necessary, repeat these steps and increase the preferred size further.
  5. Close the Microsoft program name Info dialog box.
NOTE: Do not increase or decrease the Minimum Memory allocation. Increasing or decreasing this memory setting may cause problems with the program.

Virtual Memory

Office 98 and Office 2001 for Mac are created to run on Macintosh PowerPC computers. All Macintosh PowerPC computers, as noted by Apple Computer, use RAM most efficiently with Virtual Memory enabled. For more information about virtual memory, review the Apple Technical Info Library article "Power Macintosh: Turn on Virtual Memory for Best RAM Usage" at the following Apple Web site:Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

Free Space on the Drive

If less than 10 percent of the Macintosh hard disk that contains the SystemFolder is available, move files to different disks and delete files, until more than 10 percent is available.

How to Determine Whether the Macintosh Hard Disk or Removable Disk Is Actually Full
  1. On the desktop, locate the icon for the disk.
  2. On the File menu, select Get Info. If you are using Mac OS 8.5 or later, click General Information on the menu that appears.
"Capacity"' in this window indicates how much the drive can hold. "Available"indicates the amount of unused space on the disk. "Used" is the amount of space on the disk that your data, programs, and operating system occupy.


Fonts, especially Type 1 PostScript fonts, consume system resources on yourMacintosh. Review the fonts that are installed on your computer, and remove any that you do not need. (To remove a font, drag it out of the Fonts folder in your System Folder to the desktop or another folder.)

Additionally, there may be separate suitcases in your Fonts folder that contain large numbers of fonts. If necessary, drag the suitcase out of the Fonts folder in your System Folder to the desktop or another folder.

For more information about fonts, please review the Apple Technical Library Info article "Fonts: Bitmap, PostScript, and TrueType Compared", at the following Apple Web site:For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
295062 OFF2001: Installed Font Does Not Appear in the Font List

Extensions Conflicts

Extensions and Control Panels devices are memory-resident system components that add functionality to the Macintosh system. These components, which are generically referred to as INITs or system extensions, are located in the Extensions and Control Panels folders in the System folder.

Sometimes these files conflict with one another or with a program such as the Office applications, thus affecting performance. To determine whether an extension conflict is affecting your system's performance, restart your computer with all the extensions turned off. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Using the Application menu, switch to the Finder.
  2. Click Restart on the Special menu, and hold down the SHIFT key.
  3. Continue holding down the SHIFT key until the "Welcome to Macintosh. Extensions Off" message appears.
  4. On the desktop, start an Office application and work in the application.
If the application performs better, you can conclude that one or more extensions are affecting the performance of your Macintosh. Proceed to the next section.

NOTE: To reactivate extensions, restart your Macintosh by clicking Restart on the Special menu. Do not hold down the SHIFT key.

If the problem no longer occurs with the extensions turned off, an extension or control panel is interfering with either the operating system or Office. You must locate the file that is causing this behavior. To do this, use the process of elimination.

An excellent tool for this process is the Extension Manager control panel, which lists most of the extensions and control panels that are installed in the operating system. To start the process of elimination, follow these steps:
  1. On the Apple menu, click Control Panels, and then click Extension Manager.
  2. In the Extension Manager, make sure that you save the current set of extensions that are running, and then switch to the Base Set.

    NOTE: The Base Set is located either at the top of the dialog box with a drop-down menu, or on the File menu.
  3. Scroll through the list, and turn on all the extensions that start with the word "Microsoft". Restart the computer.
  4. Test the program for the previous behavior.
If the behavior continues, you know that the behavior involves one of the extensions or control panels that is turned on. You must start eliminating files from the list of those currently turned on in the Extension Manager.

If the behavior does not occur with the Base Set + Microsoft extensions turned on, you know that the file that is causing the behavior is not part of that set. You must add extensions to that set (note which extensions or control panels that you add), restart the computer, and test for the behavior until it occurs again. After that, you must test the extensions or control panels that were recently added to find the one that is causing the behavior.

For additional information about how to troubleshoot extensions conflicts, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
263159 How to Troubleshoot Extension Conflicts on the Macintosh
For additional information about known extensions that conflict with Word, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
273015 OFF2001: Known Third-Party Extension Conflicts with Office 2001
For information about how to contact a third party vendor, view the following hardware and software third-party vendor contact information: The majority of Control Panel devices and extensions do not cause system conflicts. In general, printer drivers, network drivers, and fonts in the Extensions folder do not conflict with most Macintosh systems. Likewise, the following table contains the standard Control Panel devices that Apple includes in the Control Panels folder. These items rarely cause problems.
       ColorSync                   Monitors       Color                       Mouse       Date & Time                 Network       Easy Access                 Numbers       File Sharing Monitor        Sharing Setup       General Controls            Sound       Keyboard                    Startup Disk       Labels                      Users & Groups       Map                         Views				

Rebuild the Desktop

The Desktop file is a hidden database file that contains information about the files, folders, and other resources on your computer's hard disk. You should rebuild your Desktop file on a regular basis, as frequently as once per month, to maintain overall system performance. You should also rebuild your Desktop file after you install any software. To rebuild your Desktop file, follow these steps:
  1. Hold down COMMAND+OPTION and start your computer. (Or, if your computer is already running, quit any open applications, and then click Restart on the Special menu.)
  2. Hold down COMMAND+OPTION until the "Would you like to rebuild the Desktop" message appears.
  3. Release the COMMAND+OPTION keys, and then click OK.

Other Suggestions

  • If you do not need the millions of colors that your Macintosh supports, reduce the number of colors from millions to thousands, or 256. (NOTE: "16 colors" is not a recommended setting and is not available on System 8.0 or later.) With fewer colors active, your Macintosh does not take as long to redraw the screen, and overall performance may improve. To change the Colors setting, point to Control Panels on the Apple menu, and then click Monitors (in System 7.5), or click Monitors & Sound (System 8.0 and later).
  • In Word, work in normal view instead of page layout view whenever possible. In page layout view, Word takes longer to redraw the screen.
  • Select the background printing option that best fits the way you work. With background printing turned on, your document is printed somewhat more slowly, but you can continue working in the Office application while your document is being printed. With background printing turned off, your document is printed quickly, but you cannot work in the Office application until the print job is finished. To change the background Printing option for InkJet printers, follow these steps:

    1. On the Apple menu, click Chooser.
    2. In the Chooser dialog box, select your printer icon.
    3. If background printing is available for your printer, click either the On or Off option, as appropriate. Then close the Chooser dialog box.
    To change the background printing option for LaserWriter printers, follow these steps:

    1. In an Office application, click Print on the File menu.
    2. In the upper-left corner of the Print dialog box, click Background Printing in the General list.
    3. Click the button next to Foreground (no spool file), and then set the Print Time.
For more information about optimizing, browse to the following Apple Web sites.

"Virtual Memory: How It Differs On Power Macintosh":"Mac OS: About Mac OS Extended Format":
OFF2001 mac OFF2001KB too slow faster quickly more performance enhance enhancing enhancement improvement increase increased improvements optimization optimized Off98 WD98 XL98 PPT98 98

Article ID: 297238 - Last Review: 12/06/2015 02:23:04 - Revision: 3.0

Apple Mac OS 9.0, Apple Mac OS 8.6, Apple Mac OS 8.5, Apple Mac OS 8.1, Microsoft Entourage 2001 for Mac Special Edition, Microsoft Excel 2001 for Mac, Microsoft PowerPoint 2001 for Mac, Microsoft Word 2001 for Mac, Microsoft Office 98 for Macintosh

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