Troubleshooting Tips

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There are several common sources of problems that cause crashes, sub-optimal performance, or other undesired behavior in NeoOffice. This page collects some common problems and tips to help narrow down the cause of, or in some cases even fix, the problem. (For problems related to installing NeoOffice or NeoOffice patches, see NeoOffice Installation Issues instead.)

To use this page, locate the problem you are experiencing under the "Common Problems" section. Then click on the link or links provided for more information about troubleshooting steps you should try. If you do not find your particular problem under Common Problems, try to find a similar issue, or ask your question in the NeoOffice Support forum on trinity.

Common Problems

For all problems

NeoOffice takes more than a minute to launch

NeoOffice fails to start, or crashes during startup or right after starting

NeoOffice crashes randomly

Problems with the menus or menu bar

Dialogs or windows appear with no text

Crashing in the font drop-down

Text appears as gibberish, or certain characters are incorrect

Error Loading BASIC of Document

Performance

Common causes of slow or lackluster performance

A patch does not appear to fix a bug it claims to fix

Preferences don't seem to stick

Certain keyboard shortcuts do not work

Documents zoom in and out unexpectedly

NeoOffice claims a document is in use by another user after a crash

Solutions and Troubleshooting Steps

Below are a series of solutions and troubleshooting steps that may help resolve common problems you may be experiencing with NeoOffice.

General Troubleshooting

Install NeoOffice Patches

  • Always make sure that you are using the latest NeoOffice patch.
    • NeoOffice is updated regularly through patches, and it is often the case that an issue you are experiencing has been fixed by the latest patch, so be sure you regularly install the patches.

Update Mac OS X

  • Always make sure that you are using the latest iteration of Mac OS X (e.g., 10.3.9 or 10.4.10) and the latest available security and Java updates from Apple (see below for instructions on using Software Update and checking your Java version).
    • While NeoOffice might run on older revisions of Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4, each patch is only qualified against the latest "point" release at the time of patch release.
    • Similarly, each NeoOffice patch is only qualified against the latest Java update for the appropriate Mac OS X version, and not having the latest Java update will cause bizarre and otherwise unexplained issues.

Disable system hacks

  • Disable or uninstall any installed hack-like software, or add NeoOffice to the exclusions list for any APE haxie(s).
    Hack-like software, such as as InputManagers, SIMBL "plugins", or haxies (programs that use Unsanity's Application Enhancer (APE) framework), works by injecting its code into running applications in order to customize the behavior of Mac OS X or an application in a way that neither Apple nor the application developer intended. One of these programs may have a bug that causes an application to crash, or it may simply create a condition that the application is not prepared to handle and thereby cause a crash.
    Because of the scope of the project and the limited time and resources of the NeoOffice developers, no effort will be made to fix a bug that only occurs when hack-like software is present. Note also that Apple's official support policy is to disregard all reports of problems that occur when APE is present.
    • Some haxies, particularly older ones, can cause NeoOffice to run up to 10 times slower than on machines that do not have the haxie.
    • Not all random crashes are caused by haxies, but we have found a disproportionate correlation between the presence of haxies and strange NeoOffice crashes (this was particularly true of NeoOffice versions prior to 1.2 Alpha, which used Java 1.3.1). Many other Mac developers have experienced similar issues with their applications when haxies are present.
  • To determine if you have hack-like software, and to disable it if you do:
    • Check to see if you have Unsanity APE installed by opening the System Preferences application. If there is an Unsanity APE icon at the bottom of the window, click on it and then disable it (or at least disable it for NeoOffice).
    • In each of the following folders, check for any subfolders named ApplicationEnhancer.bundle or Smart Crash Reports or SIMBL. If you find any, move them out of the folders and reboot your machine:
      /System/Library/SystemConfiguration
      ~/Library/InputManagers
      ~/Library/Application Support
      /Library/InputManagers
      /Library/Application Support
      Remember that ~/ represents your home folder, and that the leading / represents the startup volume (usually Macintosh HD).

Disable MenuCracker

  • MenuCracker, while not an Unsanity APE haxie, is a hack for enabling third parties to add items to the Mac OS X menu bar, and it has caused problems in the past, such as the disappearance of NeoOffice's menus from the menu bar.

Disable trackpad gestures

  • Many users have reported that their MacBook laptop's trackpad is too sensitve and that causes NeoOffice documents to zoom in and out unexpectedly. Since Mac OS X does not provide any way to reduce trackpad sensitivity, starting with NeoOffice 2.2.5 Patch 5 users can stop unexpected zooming by disabling all trackpad magnify and swipe gestures. To disable these trackpad gestures, do the following:
    • Make sure that you have installed the latest NeoOffice patch from the patch download page
    • Launch the /Applications/Utilities/Terminal application, copy the following command into the Terminal window, and press the Return key:
      defaults write org.neooffice.NeoOffice IgnoreTrackpadGestures -bool yes
    • Restart NeoOffice

Remove stuck lock files

If NeoOffice 3.0 crashes while a file is open, sometimes you will be unable to open or edit the file when you reopen it, and NeoOffice will warn you that the file is in use by another user. Beginning in OpenOffice.org 3.0, Sun engineers changed from using native file locking methods used by all applications on a particular operating system to using an invisible file only OpenOffice.org-based applications recognize. When the application crashes, the lock file is not removed and NeoOffice still thinks that the document is in use. To use the document again, you must clear the file.

  • The preferred method of clearing the lock file is reopening and then closing the file by the same user in the same application that the crash occurred in.
    For example, if you had the file open in NeoOffice and NeoOffice crashed, you need to open and close the file in NeoOffice. If a colleague opened the file in OpenOffice.org and it crashed, then your colleague must open and close the file in OpenOffice.org.
  • If it is not feasible for the original person reopen and close the file, or if that method does not work, you can remove the lock file manually:
    1. Launch the /Applications/Utilities/Terminal application, copy the following text, paste it into the Terminal window, and press the spacebar:
      cd
    2. Go to the Finder and drag the folder that contains the read-only file into the Terminal window.
    3. Copy the following text, paste it into the Terminal window, and press the Return key:
      ; rm .~lock.*

You should now be able to access and edit your file again.

Check for corrupted user preference files

  • Corrupted user preference files can cause crashes as well as unexpected behavior when the application is running. When preferences or settings changes don't seem to apply or don't stick between restarts of NeoOffice, the most likely cause is a some sort of corruption of your profile/preferences. Allowing NeoOffice to create a fresh set should fix the problem.
  1. Quit NeoOffice.
  2. Move or rename your ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-3.0 (for 3.0) and ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.2 (for 2.2.x) and ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.1 (for 2.1) folders.
  3. Launch NeoOffice; it will then create a fresh preferences folder and settings.

Check the Console.log

  • Check the Console.log (via /Applications/Utilities/Console.app) for messages about Java, soffice.bin, or NeoOffice
    • These messages may not make any sense to you, but providing them to NeoOffice community support volunteers may enable the volunteers to identify the source of your problem.

Ensure NeoOffice has the correct permissions

  • If the NeoOffice icon bounces in the Dock for a while and then stops, open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app) and type the following and then press return:
    • cd /Applications/NeoOffice.app/Contents/program
    • ls -al soffice.bin
      • The first few characters should contain x three times.
      • If not, type chmod +x soffice.bin, close the Terminal and try to launch NeoOffice again.

Sample NeoOffice in hangs during the startup process

  • If NeoOffice starts but “hangs” during startup (longer than a minute or so on recent Macs), take a sample before force-quitting NeoOffice, one of the developers or community support team might be able to deduce the problem based on log info.

Post the crash log for crashes during startup

  • If NeoOffice crashes, check for a current entry in ~/Library/Logs/CrashReport/soffice.bin.crash.log (the crash log for NeoOffice, and, unfortunately OpenOffice.org)
    These logs will often contain useful information, and even if they are gibberish to you, one of the developers or community support team can often deduce the problem based on log info.
    See this section of the Bugzilla Guide for more information about obtaining the crash log.

Insufficient RAM

  • NeoOffice requires a Mac with at least 512 MB of RAM (memory). While NeoOffice will run on a Mac with 512 MB of RAM, it will run (and launch) more slowly, particularly if you have other applications also running (Mac OS X really runs best with 512 MB or more of RAM).
    • Add more RAM to your Mac
      Luckily, RAM is cheap; adding RAM is the most cost-efficient way to speed up your Mac. See this thread for some real-life stories.
    • Quit other applications before running NeoOffice

Check for background processes

  • Constantly-running background processes can degrade the performance of NeoOffice. If you open the Activity Monitor application, located in the Utilities subfolder of the Applications folder, and click of the CPU or System Memory tabs, you can see which applications are using the most processing power and memory on your machine. Some known culprits include:
    • Seti@Home
    • Folding@Home
    • DNET client (http://www.distributed.net/)
    • Dashboard/widgets
      disable all inessential widgets for best performance
  • If you have any of these applications running, or if Activity Monitor identifies another application using all of your CPU or RAM, try quitting the application(s) before running NeoOffice.

Disable auto spell-checking

  • Turn off auto spell-checking, because the wavy lines are a problem to draw.
    Due to the fact that the OpenOffice.org code sets individual pixels and Cocoa and Java (used for drawing in NeoOffice) don't have any functions for setting individual pixels, NeoOffice must do a much more expensive operation of drawing a 1x1 pixel filled rectangle for each dot in the wavy lines.

Beware of virus scanning software

  • Some virus scanners scan all files when the files are opened, and other virus scanners scan archive files (.sit, .tar, .gz, and .zip and its cousins, like .jar) when those files are accessed; NeoOffice opens and access a large number of files at startup, including a number of .zip and .jar archives.
    • Disable virus scanning of the NeoOffice application (/Applications/NeoOffice.app) and preferences directory (~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-3.0 for 3.0 or ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.2 for 2.2.1 or ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.1 for 2.1), or of just the archive-type files in the NeoOffice application and preferences directory.

Remove macros imported from older NeoOffice versions

  • The error message Error Loading BASIC of document file:///xxxxx/xxxx/xxx General input/output error occurs when some BASIC files (macros) are imported from preferences files of older NeoOffice versions. To get rid of the annoying message, do the following:
    1. In the Tools menu, select the Macros sub-menu, then the Organize Macros sub-menu, and finally the NeoOffice Basic item
    2. In the dialog that appears, press the Organizer button
    3. In the dialog that appears, expand all of the macros in the My Macros item and check the path in each.
    4. For any items that have a path that does not exist, select the item and press the Delete button.

Check for shortcuts used by Mac OS X

  • If you assign a keyboard shortcut in NeoOffice and it doesn't work, it may be because you've chosen a key combination that Mac OS X is already using either as a general system shortcut or is in use by one of the system-wide Services.
    • Look in the System Preferences (Keyboard & Mouse preference pane, Keyboard Shortcuts tab) to see if your choice is in use already as a general system shortcut (this option is only available in Mac OS X 10.4).
    • Open an application that supports many system Services, e.g. TextEdit, and look in the Services sub-menu of the application's Application Name menu to see if any Services are using your chosen key combo (e.g., cmd-shift-L is often assigned to Search with Google).
      If you never use the Services keyboard shortcuts and want to free them up, you can install:
      • The Service Manager preference pane (freeware) to disable individual Services (works in 10.3.x and 10.4.x)
      • The ServiceScrubber application (freeware) to disable Services or reassign their keyboard shortcuts (10.4.x)

Check for shortcut conflicts within NeoOffice

  • If a key combination appears in one of the NeoOffice menus as a shortcut but doesn't actually work, it may be assigned to another command in the current NeoOffice module.
    • If you assign a shortcut as a Global NeoOffice shortcut, it may be overridden by a shortcut assigned to the particular module you're in (e.g., Writer, Calc, etc.)
      This is the case with cmd-shift-F11, for example; the menu shows this key combination as calling up the Preferences window (via the Options item in the Tools menu), but this doesn't work in Writer, as Writer has it assigned to something else arcane to do with templates.
    • Once you delete the module-specific assignment, the shortcut performs the command displayed in the menu.

Reboot to clear cached libraries

  • Mac OS X "caches" shared libraries and Java classes to improve performance; unfortunately, it has a very nasty habit of not clearing the cache when updated libraries and classes are installed (like in NeoOffice patches). If a bug doesn't appear to be fixed after applying a patch that should fix the bug, try restarting your Mac, which will clear the old versions of libraries and classes from cache. If the bug is still present after rebooting, you can then reopen the bug in Bugzilla.

Java-Related Troubleshooting

Check for an up-to-date Java version

  • Check to see if you are running the most up-to-date version of Java 1.5 on Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 and Java 1.6 on Mac OS X 10.6
    • Run the Mac OS X Software Update application (from the Apple menu) and install any Mac OS X Updates, Security Updates, and Java Updates that are offered. You may need to run Software Update multiple times in order to completely update your system. Do not ignore or skip installing a Java update for Java 1.5 or Java 1.6 because you only use the other version, as a Java update for one often blocks the appearance in Softwsre Update of updates for the other.
    • Open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app) and type the following and then press return:
      java -version
      • Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later:
        java version "1.5.0_13"
        Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_13-b05-241)
        Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_13-121, mixed mode, sharing)
      • Mac OS X 10.5.8 :
        java version "1.5.0_28"
        Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_28-b04-382-9M3326)
        Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_28-157, mixed mode, sharing)
      • Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later:

Check for a corrupt Java installation

  • Check for a corrupt Java installation
    1. Create a plain-text file called Test.java and put the following lines in it, saving afterwards:
      import java.awt.*; public class Test extends Panel { public void paint(Graphics g) { Graphics2D g2 = (Graphics2D)g; g2.setColor(Color.black); Font font = new Font("Arial", Font.PLAIN, 12); g2.setFont(font); g2.drawString("Java works", 100, 100); } public static void main(String[] args) { Frame f = new Frame(); Test p = new Test(); f.add(p); f.setSize(500, 500); f.show(); } }
    2. Open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app) and "cd" to the folder that you put the Test.java file in.
    3. Compile the Test.java file using the following terminal command:
      javac Test.java
    4. Run the compiled program with the version of Java you are using with NeoOffice by using the following terminal command:
      • Java 1.5.0 (default on Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5):
        /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.5.0/Commands/java -classpath . Test
      • Java 1.6.0 (default on Mac OS X 10.6):
        /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6.0/Commands/java -classpath . Test
    5. If a blank window appears when you run the program, then you know that Java is working. [1]

Remove incompatible Java extensions

  • You have installed a Java extension in one of the following folders and it is messing up your JVM [2]:
    • ~/Library/Java/Extensions/
    • /Library/Java/Extensions/
    • /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6.0/Home/lib/ext/
    • /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.5.0/Home/lib/ext/
    Remove the offending extension and try launching NeoOffice again (N.B.: NeoOffice tries to prevent extensions in the first two directories from loading, but the last two also contain key files for the JVM and its contents cannot be forced not to load).

Check for a a non-standard Java installation

  • Many sites on the Internet recommend non-standard methods (hacks) of changing the default Java version for Mac OS X or provide instructions for installing unsupported Java versions on different versions of Mac OS X. Although these hacks may work fine for simple, command-line Java applications, complex applications and those which use Apple’s Mac-specific UI classes (such as NeoOffice) will usually break.
    • Ensure that you have not manually changed the symlinks within /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/ (to change the default Java version in Mac OS X, use the General tab of /Applications/Utilities/Java Preferences.app instead).
    • Ensure that you have not installed Java 1.5 from Mac OS X 10.5 on Mac OS X 10.6, as this will cause NeoOffice to crash at startup.

Remove 24Uemail scripting addition

Check for corrupted Java Shared Archive

  • Java Shared Archive corrupted (would this be detected by the above?)
    Often caused by some 10.3.x update; Apple issued another update to fix it (but other causes, too; Terry had a potential solution for them)

Font-Related Troubleshooting

Disable corrupt fonts

  • This is usually caused by a corrupt font that hangs or crashes Apple's text layout routines (e.g. Vivaldi, DejaVu Sans Extra Light); check for a corrupt font and disable this font via Font Book
    • Mac OS X 10.3.x: Use FontDoctor™ (demo mode)
    • Mac OS X 10.4.x: Use Font Book:
      • Select all your fonts in Font Book
      • In the File menu, select Validate Fonts
      • Select Warnings in the drop-down menu while Font Book operates
      • Then check the fonts you would like to delete and click Delete selected fonts
    • Mac OS X 10.5.x and up: Use Font Book:
      • Select all your fonts in Font Book
      • In the File menu, select Validate Fonts
      • Select Warnings in the drop-down menu when Font Book has completed its scan
      • Then check the fonts you would like to delete and click Remove Checked
        You should remove all fonts that are flagged with errors, as they will likely lead to crashes; you may be able to resolve some problems listed as warnings, such as duplicate fonts, without needing to delete the fonts. When in doubt, however, removing fonts is the safest choice.

Check for duplicate fonts

  • Use Font Book to resolve duplicates
    • Scan the list of fonts for a font that has a bullet (•) to the right of it
    • Select any fonts with the bullet
    • Choose Resolve Duplicates from the Edit menu

Check the number of fonts installed

  • If you have a large number of fonts installed, NeoOffice will be slow to launch or slow to use (see this section of the Installation Issues article)
    • Disable fonts you are not using
    • Turn off Show preview of fonts in the preferences
      • Choose Preferences… from the NeoOffice menu
      • Select View in the NeoOffice section of the preference tree
      • In the Font Lists section, un-check the box next to Show preview of fonts

Check for OpenOffice.org 2

  • OpenOffice.org 2.x by default creates converted copies of all of your installed Mac fonts. Because these fonts are stored inside an application bundle in OpenOffice.org 2.x, all of the duplicate fonts are loaded by the Apple Type Server (ATS) process and made available to Mac OS X applications. This doubles the number of installed fonts, and these duplicate fonts seriously degrade the performance of NeoOffice, may cause fonts to display incorrectly, and may even cause crashes.

Check for the Tahoma font

  • If NeoOffice dialogs or windows appear without any text in them (like this), you have probably experienced a bug caused by the “Tahoma” font included with Office 2004.
    • Deactivate or remove the font and windows will appear normally. [3]


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