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Currently, I have a central server that is accessed by many users through AFP sharing. Sometimes, multiple users may have the same Word document open, while other times it may just be one user and one document at a time. No matter what the case may be, an underlying problem persists when Microsoft Word attempts to interact with the network share, both with loading and saving documents. A common workaround will be to copy the required document to the local computer, edit it as necessary, and copy it back and replace the file. However, I'd like to be able to do all the file editing on the server, as it ends up becoming a question of sheer convenience. Also, sometimes Finder will crash as well as Microsoft Word crashing when trying to access or edit certain files. Is there anything I can do to remedy this issue?

Another piece of information to note is that although the word issues are pervasive, they do seem to occur more often when accessing the server via vpn. Thus the issue may simply be a slow network connection.

Are there underlying issues with office 2008? Is updating to 2011 the best course of action?

Also, I've noticed that the way this AFP share is set up, it seems that the connection only persists as long as the finder window opens. In other words, as soon as I close the finder window, when navigating back to the share on the server I will have to re-authenticate, seeming to suggest the connection does not persist and that the client computer repeatedly tries to reconnect to the server. Perhaps this may be the underlying cause? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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are the affected users with network homes? MS Office apps try to create a temporary directory in the root of volumes which is very often prohibited by network policies. As far as I know similar issues are same for Office 2011 as Microsoft (similar to Adobe) doesn't support direct editing of files on shared volumes.

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