Word for Mac document stops responding when you try to open a document

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Article ID: 2027101 - View products that this article applies to.
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Symptoms

When you try to open a Microsoft Word for Mac document, Word for Mac stops responding. Additionally, you may have to use the Force Quit command to exit the program.

Resolution

Step 1: Clear the Auto Recovery folder

Try to clear the Auto Recovery folder. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. On the Go menu, click Home.
  2. Open Documents.
  3. Open Microsoft User Data.
  4. Open the Office Autorecovery folder.

    Note You do not have to delete files in this folder. You can copy or move these files to the desktop.
  5. Test the application.

If the issue continues to occur, go to the next step.

Step 2: Download and install the latest update

Download and install the latest Word update, depending on your version of the program. To view the version of your Word installation, start Word, and then click About Word on the Help menu.

To download the latest update, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

 323601 How to obtain Office for Mac software updates

If the issue continues to occur, go to the next step.

Step 3: Check the document name

If the document name contains symbols, such as the percent character, the file does not open when you double-click the name. You can try to resolve this issue by renaming the file without symbols.

If the problem file is downloaded from a website, the web browser may add a symbol to the file name. If this is the case, try to use a different browser to access your email, and then download the files again.

If the issue continues to occur, go to the next step.

Step 4: Remove the Word preferences

If you have used Word previously on this computer, you can try to remove any preferences that you have set. Note that this removes all customizations that you have made, including the creation of custom dictionaries and keyboard shortcuts, and changes to the toolbars. To remove Word preferences, follow these steps:

1. Exit all Microsoft Office for Mac programs.
2. On the Go menu, click Home.
3. Open Library.

Note The Library folder is hidden in Mac OS X Lion. To display this folder in Mac OS X Lion, hold down the OPTION key while you click the Go menu.
4. Open Preferences.
5. Look for a file that is named com.microsoft.word.plist, and move the file to the desktop.
6. Start Word, and check whether the problem still occurs. If the problem still occurs, exit Microsoft Word, and then restore the com.microsoft.word.prefs.plist file to its original location. Then, go to the next step. If the problem seems to be resolved, you can move the file to the trash.

Note If you do not locate the file, the program is using the default preferences.
7. Exit all Microsoft Office for Mac programs.
8. On the Go menu, click Home.
9.

Open Library.

Note The Library folder is hidden in Mac OS X Lion. To display this folder in Mac OS X Lion, hold down the OPTION key while you click the Go menu.

10. Open Preferences.
11. Open Microsoft.
12. Locate the file that is named com.microsoft.word.prefs.plist, and move the file to the desktop.
13. Start Word, and check whether the problem still occurs. If the problem still occurs, exit Word, and then restore the com.microsoft.word.prefs.plist file to its original location. Then, go to the next step. If the problem seems to be resolved, you can move the file to the trash.
14. On the Go menu, click Home.
15. Open Library.

Note The Library folder is hidden in Mac OS X Lion. To display this folder in Mac OS X Lion, hold down the OPTION key while you click the Go menu.
16. Open Application Support, and then open Microsoft.
17. Open Office, and then open User Templates.
18. Locate the file that is named Normal, and move the file to the desktop.
19. Start Word, and check whether the problem still occurs. If the problem seems to be resolved, you can move the Normal file to the trash.

If the issue continues to occur, go to the next step.

Step 5: Try in Safe Mode

Try to open the file in Safe mode. For the steps to do this, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

2398596 How to use a "clean startup" to determine whether background programs are interfering with Office for Mac

If the issue continues to occur, go to the next step.

Step 6: Check for third-party fonts

If you are using third-party fonts, Word for Mac might experience problems with the font that you have installed. For more information, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

295062 Third-party installed font does not appear in the font list in Word for Mac

Note The document may have to be accessed on a PC. The document may also require that you replace the PC font by using a font that is more suitable for the Mac, such as Arial or Verdana.

If all these steps fail, the document is probably corrupted beyond recovery. At this point, you might have to look for a backup of the document, or re-create the document.

Properties

Article ID: 2027101 - Last Review: February 15, 2012 - Revision: 16.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft Word for Mac 2011
Keywords: 
dftsdahomeportal KB2027101

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