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

There are a few reasons you may see a "Microsoft Word is not responding" message.

  • A damaged program file is a common cause of this issue.
  • A file that has been corrupted or deleted could cause Word to stop working properly.
  • An incompatible add-in could be the origin of this error, as well.

How to Fix Microsoft Word Not Responding

Sometimes the answer is as simple as restarting your computer. If this doesn't resolve the issue, 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 issue 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 check boxes 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 issue.

  3. Repair the document. If the error is appearing when you try to open or save a specific Word file, that document might be corrupted. You can use a tool within Word to attempt 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 have your Microsoft ID and Product Key, you can uninstall and reinstall Word if you are still experiencing issues. 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.