in ,

Microsoft Word won’t load or having problems when in use [troubleshooting guide]

Microsoft Word is one of the most reliable applications from Microsoft over the years. Although some users may not encounter any problems with Word for years at a stretch, it’s a pain when it doesn’t. If you are looking for a solution to your own Word issue, we hope this troubleshooting guide can help fix it.

Before we proceed to the main topic, we would like to remind you that we accept requests for assistance regarding their Windows computers. If you have a problem that you can’t seem to find a solution to, send us your issue by following the link at the bottom of this page. Just remember, windows problems can sometimes be difficult to diagnose so kindly make sure that you give us very detailed description of the problem. You want to mention relevant history that may have led to the issue. The more information that you can provide, the higher the chance of us diagnosing the issue more efficiently. We also expect that you mention whatever troubleshooting step/s that you may have done before contacting us in order to prevent repeating them in our article. Again, the more details you can give us, the faster it is for us to pinpoint the cause and its corresponding solution.

Install all available updates


Microsoft regularly releases updates in a weekly basis so there’s no reason why you’ll miss anything. Unless you intentionally prevent your computer from installing updates, we highly recommend that install the latest updates to minimize software problems. The same is true for specific programs you use in a regular basis so if there’s a pending update for Word, make sure to install them. Some updates are meant to fix known bugs, probably like the one in your system so try not to skip them as much as possible.

Sometimes, updates can lead to problems so you want to know how to prevent problems after installing Windows updates in this link.

Verify if an add-in is causing the problem


Incompatible or malicious add-ins can sometimes cause programs (they are attached to) to crash. Add-ins are sometimes added by other programs automatically when you install them so if you want to check if one of them is causing the problem, you want to load Microsoft Word without them. To do that, simply do the following:

  • Type Run in the Search box (in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8) or in the Start Search box on the Start menu (in earlier versions of Windows), and then press Enter.
  • In the Run dialog box, type winword /a, and then press Enter.

The  “/a” switch is a Windows troubleshooting tool that a user can use to check if Word is having a problem. Basically,  “/a” blocks non-Microsoft add-ins and templates to run when you open Word.  “/a” also tells the operating system to block attempts to modify or read system files.

Try moving your document to another file


The last paragraph of any Word document contains important details about the document. If your document has become corrupted, there may still be a chance to recover the text of said document if you can delete the mark contained in the final paragraph. In order to load a document but omit the final paragraph mark, you can try the following steps:

  • On the File menu, click New and then click Blank Document.
  • On the Insert tab, click Object in the Text group, and then click Text from File or Create from File (depends on the Word version you have).
  • Select the file that you want to open and insert, and then click Insert.

Modify the system’s registry keys

If all the above solutions won’t work at all, you have no other choice but to do some advanced modifications of the registry. Keep in mind that changing the registry is a serious business and can lead to severe problems if not done correctly. If it’s your first time to hear about this troubleshooting, make sure that you follow everything to the letter.

Create a backup of registry

As a basic background information, Windows registry normally called registry by most folks is a huge set of databases that contain configuration settings of the operating system. The registry keeps configuration details of hardware devices, programs, customizations, user preferences, operating system settings, to mention a few. Changing one critical value may or may not cripple core systems so be extra careful when modifying it. We strongly recommend that you create a backup of the registry before modifying. To do that, follow these steps:

  • From the Start menu, in the search box, type regedit.exe, and then press Enter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • In Registry Editor, locate and click the registry key or subkey that you want to back up.
  • Click File > Export.
  • In the Export Registry File dialog box, select the location where you want to save the backup copy to, and then type a name for the backup file in the File name field.
  • Click Save.

In case something goes wrong after trying to modify some keys of Microsoft Word, you can simply restore the backup registry. Here’s how:

  • From Start, type regedit.exe, and then press Enter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • In Registry Editor, click File > Import.
  • In the Import Registry File dialog box, select the location where you saved the backup copy to, click to select the backup file, and then click Open.

Delete the Word Data Registry Key


Now that you know a critical piece in dealing with a potential registry problem, you are now ready to do the main thing, which is to delete the key called Word Data registry subkey used by Word to store frequently used options. Sometimes, deleting this key or subkey can fix problems in Word. After deleting the key, Word can simply rebuild it after you load it again.

Deleting the Data registry subkey will reset settings that you customized before so don’t be alarmed if everything looks different after doing the procedure.

To delete the Word Data registry subkey, follow these steps:

  • Exit all Office programs.
  • Type regedit in the Search box (in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8) or in the Start Search box on the Start menu (in earlier versions of Windows), and then press Enter.
  • Locate the following registry subkey, as appropriate for the version of Word that you are using:
    • If you’re using Microsoft Word 2016: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Data
  • Click Data, and then click Export on the File menu.
  • Name the file Wddata.reg, and then save the file to the desktop.
  • On the Edit menu, click Delete, and then click Yes.
  • Exit Registry Editor.
  • Start Word.

If you’re using older Word versions, refer to the registry path below:

Word 2013: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Data

Word 2010: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Data

Word 2007: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Data

Word 2003: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Data

If the problem is fixed after deleting the subkey, you can go ahead and customize Word again. However, if the problem remains, you must restore the original Word Data subkey before proceeding to the next step.

To restore the original Word Data subkey, do the steps below:

  • Exit all Office programs.
  • Double-click the Wddata.reg icon on the desktop.
  • Click Yes, and then click OK.

Rename the global template file


Sometimes, macros, AutoText, or formatting saved in the global template file can cause Word to behave erratically. In this troubleshooting step, you want to prevent the global template file from affecting Word by renaming it. Renaming the global template file can cause settings to be reset to their defaults so if you want to restore them later, DO NOT DELETE it.

To rename the global template file, follow these steps:

  • Exit all Office programs.
  • Type cmd in the Search box (in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8) or in the Start Search box on the Start menu (in earlier versions of Windows), and then press Enter.
  • At the command prompt, type the following command, as appropriate for the version of Word that you are running, and then press Enter: “ren %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Normal.dotm OldNormal.dotm” (without the quotation marks).
  • At the command prompt, type exit, and then press Enter.
  • Start Word.

If the problem is not resolved after doing the steps above, restore the original global template file. Here’s how:

  • Exit all Office programs.
  • Type cmd in the Search box (in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8) or in the Start Search box on the Start menu (in earlier versions of Windows), and then press Enter.
  • At the command prompt, type the following command, as appropriate for the version of Word that you are running, and then press Enter: “ren %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\OldNormal.dotm Normal.dotm” (without the quotation marks).
  • Type exit, and then press Enter.
  • Start Word.

Set the default printer to something else


Some users have reported that older printer still associated with Word can cause problems and removing it fixes the problem. To change the default printer, kindly do these steps:

  • Exit all Office programs.
  • Type regedit in the Search box (in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8) or in the Start Search box on the Start menu (in earlier versions of Windows), and then press Enter Devices and Printers.
  • Right-click Microsoft XPS Document Writer, and then click Set as default printer.
  • Start Word.
  • Observe how Word works.

Uninstall newly added programs


If the problem started coincidentally after installing a new program, it may not be coincidence at all. Try removing said program from the system and check how Word works without it. Do the same thing if you recently connected a peripheral or hardware such as a scanner, printer, mouse, keyboard, hard drive, etc.

Repair Microsoft Office suite


As a last desperate step, try to repair the entire Office suite. Here’s how:

  • Go to Start
  • Go to Control Panel.
  • Click on Programs and Features.
  • Click on the Microsoft Office.
  • Click Change.
  • Click Repair.
  • Click Continue.

 


We are here to help

If you are having a problem with your Windows computer, don’t hesitate to let us know about it. We understand how frustrating computer problems can be so, more so if you can’t find the right solutions at all. Our blog exists to help PC users and Windows community deal with their problems effectively. To engage with us, just fill out the questionnaire in this link and wait for our articles to be published. In order to help as many people as possible, we only provide our solutions via posts so please don’t expect that we will respond to your emails or private messages. By making all posts public, we can share our solutions to other users in a more efficient manner. We cannot guarantee a quick response so if your issue is time sensitive, please find another way to resolve your problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

How to avoid problems after installing Windows updates

Troubleshooting guide for Cortana and Start menu: Start menu and Cortana won’t load