How to Fix It When Microsoft Word Is Not Responding

Repair and save your document

Microsoft Word not responding

Christin Hume 

Microsoft Word not responding usually appears as an error message.

You have two options: Close the program or wait for the program to respond. Whichever option you choose, there is a good chance that the error will appear again.

Cause of Microsoft Word Not Responding Messages

You'll most often encounter a Microsoft Word is not responding message for one of three reasons.

  • A damaged program file
  • A data file that has been corrupted or deleted
  • An incompatible add-in

How to Fix Microsoft Word Not Responding

Sometimes the answer is as simple as restarting your computer. If this approach doesn't resolve the problem, however, then disabling add-ins and possibly repairing the program are the best course of action.

These instructions apply to Microsoft Word 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and Word for Office 365.

  1. Start Word in Safe Mode. Letting the application load without templates and add-ins allows you to see if the program works as it should or if it is corrupted.

  2. Disable add-ins. If Word not responding is not an error in Safe Mode, an incompatible add-in is a likely culprit.

    1. Select File > Options > Add-ins to open Word Options.
    2. Choose the Go button under Manage near the bottom of the window to open the COM Add-ins dialog box.
    3. Clear the checkboxes next to each add-in to disable them all.
    4. Select OK to apply the changes and close the dialog.

    If the Word not responding error message no longer appears, enable each add-in one at a time, restarting Word after each one, to determine which one caused the problem.

  3. Repair the document. If the error appears when you try to open or save a specific Word file, that document might be corrupted. Use a tool within Word to try to fix it.

  4. Repair Word. Running the built-in Office Repair Utility can fix damaged files within any Office application, including Word.

  5. Provided you know your Microsoft ID and Product Key, uninstall and reinstall Word. You can opt to remove it through the Windows Control Panel or download the MS Office Uninstall Support Tool to remove it completely.

    Uninstalling Office from your computer only removes the Office applications you have installed. Files, documents, and workbooks will not be removed.

  6. Reinstall Microsoft Office from scratch. A fresh installation of Word will be added to your computer.