Update KB4011039 causes again Word/Outlook 2016 table bug

[German]Users of Word 2016 or Outlook 2016 are facing a strange bug since last August 2016 patch day: Merged table cells are displayed broken or incomplete in both Office modules. Now it seems, that September 5, 2017 Update KB4011039 breaks merged cells again in Word 2016 and Outlook 2016. [Addendum: Microsoft has responded.}


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Update KB3213656 causes the table issue the first time

I’ve covered this issue within my blog post Update KB3213656 causes table bug in Word/Outlook 2016 a week ago. Microsoft has released several updates for Office 2016 on August 8, 2017. One was Update KB3213656 for installed version of Word 2016, which causes issues with merged cells in tables. The bug affects also Outlook 2016.

Update KB3213656 for Word 2016 is a non security patch for the .msi installer variants of Microsoft Office 2016 (Office Pro Plus). This update fixes a bug, that content with negative indent may be cropped in a non-first column in the presence of tables. But overall this update causes issues with merged vertical table cells.

Merged Cell issue in Word 2016
(Source: Microsoft Answers-Forum)

The issues has been discussed in details within this Microsoft Answers forum thread (the screenshots above is from this forum thread). The user has a full patched Office 2016 Pro Plus under Windows 10 and describes the issue as follows:

Have a word document that includes multiple tables, in each table there are merged cells.  If the cell is merged you can’t click on the cell or see the data in the cell.  If you copy the table out of word and paste it into excel the data shows.  If you un-merge the cells and paste it back into word it shows all of the data.  I tried this on a system that is not patched and the merged tables display properly in word.

Another user pointed out, that uninstalling KB3213656 solves the issue within Word 2016.

Tabellenbug Word
(Source: Microsoft Answers-Forum)

Within another Microsoft-Answers forum post (also at Technet) a user shows, that it only affects vertical merged table cells (see image above). Because Outlook 2016 uses Word functions, the error may affect also tables in Outlook 2016. Repairing Office or using safe mode doesn’t help. And some German users reported within Microsoft-Answers forum post, that this error has been observed also the issue on Microsoft Office 2016 Standard x64 German on Windows 7 x64.

No confirmation from Microsoft, Update pulled?

Microsoft hasn’t confirmed this issue nor offers a fix. But within this Microsoft Answers forum thread another user reported that Microsoft obviously pulled the patch. He did a fresh install of Office 2016 on a machine and tried to install all updates. Update KB3213656 did not show up anymore.

Machines without Update KB3213656 affected!

A couple of days later, some users reported within this Microsoft Answers forum thread, that they observed this issue not only in Microsoft Word 2016 and also Outlook 2016. Some users observed this issue without Update KB3213656 installed at all. That’s really strange, because uninstalling this update won’t cure the issue.

Some users re-installed Office on new machines and blocked all updates. Other users affected, expressing their doubts that updates following Update KB3213656 will cause the same issue.

Addendum: I’m receiving more and more feedback to my German blog post, that neither Update KB3213656 nor Update KB4011039 has been installed, but Word 2016 shows the same table rendering bug.

Same Bug with Update KB4011039 (September 5, 2017)

On September 5, 2017, Microsoft released Update KB4011039 for Word 2016. This update fixes the following issues – according to Microsoft:

  • This update improves compatibility of Microsoft Word 2016 to allow real-time collaboration on cloud documents between the desktop client, iOS and Android.
  • This update fixes the following issues:
    • When you reply or forward an RTF email that contains right-to-left paragraphs with pictures, Outlook 2016 stops working.
    • When you open a document that’s marked as Read-only recommended on a network location in Word 2016 and choose to open the document in the read-only mode, other users cannot open the same document as read/write.

But no words about the merged table bug. Hours after update release, users facing the merged cell bug in Word 2016 again, as you can read within this Microsoft Answers forum thread, within this Technet thread and also here at Technet, here at spiceworks.com, and at reddit.com here and here. I stumbled about this issue, after a German blog reader posted this comment on September 7, 2017.

Addendum: I’ve seen also, that Woody Leonhard has mentioned the issue two hours ago here. Uninstalling Update KB4011039 fixes the bug. My recommendation for admins is, to hide the update(s) in WSUS.

A feedback from Microsoft

I’ve asked in Microsoft’s Answers forum to escalate this issue to Microsoft’s Office 2016 product group – unfortunately as a German Microsoft Answers community moderator for Windows I haven’t the ability to do this in US Office Answers forums. Let’s see, how and when Microsoft is fixing this issue.

Addendum 2: Some news about this topic. Hours after my post in MS answers forum, a Microsoft employee came back with the following answer:

Done! Working on getting all the docs updated now. I’m told the Patch with the fix is targeted for October.

Let’s see, if Microsoft is fixing this issue in October 2017.

Addendum 3: Microsoft has confirmed the table bug – more details at Word 2016 Table bug in KB3213656/KB4011039 confirmed.


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3 Responses to Update KB4011039 causes again Word/Outlook 2016 table bug

  1. HELENE BRASSARD says:

    Nous avons le même problème depuis cette mise à jour. J’ai désinstallé la patch KB401039 et on voit le texte dans les cellules des tableaux. C’est un gros problème. On a beaucoup de fichiers fusionnés. J’espère qu’ils vont régler le problème bientôt.

  2. Mat says:

    There is another bug, reply to all puts wrong file name in place of previously embedded word document in table in Rich text email.

    Steps below cause the problem for me.
    Create a multi-tow table in a Rich text email with for or five columns.
    Embed a Word document above the table in the body of the email and outside the table itself.
    Embed one word document (named differently) into the first cell of each row. Send to your recipients.
    Get a recipient to click “Reply to all”.

    Outlook removes the Word documents replacing them with a label which is the removed documents name. Unfortunately, it puts the wrong label into the wrong cell. For me, the name of the document embedded above the table and outside the table altogether is entered into the first cell on the bottom row of the table. The other filenames appear to be misplaced by one row, one row higher than in the original document.

  3. Daniel says:

    Thank you for the post.

    We encountered this issue across hundreds of users. Luckily we were able to isolate the update.

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