How to troubleshoot issues that occur in Office for Mac on a computer that is running Mac OS X 10.4.x or a later version

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SUMMARY

This article describes general troubleshooting steps that you can use to resolve problems with Microsoft Office for Mac programs. The troubleshooting steps that are included in this article use the Mac OS X Safe Boot feature to remove preference files and to reinstall software.

INTRODUCTION

This article discusses general troubleshooting steps that you can use to resolve problem that occur when you use an Office for Mac program on a computer that is running Mac OS X 10.4.x (Tiger), Mac OS X10.5.x (Leopard), or Mac OS X10.6.x (Snow Leopard).

MORE INFORMATION

Use the following methods to troubleshoot problem with an Office for Mac program. The methods are listed in the order of complexity and intrusiveness. Follow the steps in a specific method, and then work with the Office for Mac program for a sufficient time to determine whether the problem was resolved before you try the next method.

Before you try any of these methods, make sure that you apply the current updates for the operating system and for the Office for Mac program. To obtain updates for Office for Mac products, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads
To obtain Apple updates, you can use the Software Update tool. To do this, click Software Update on the Apple menu while your computer is connected to the Internet.

After you install all the required updates, try to reproduce the problem to determine whether the problem was resolved. If the problem still occurs, try the next appropriate troubleshooting method.

Problems that occur with a single Microsoft Office program

If the problem only occurs with a single Microsoft Office program, check the following articles first:

976191 "Application has quit unexpectedly" error when you start a Microsoft Office for Mac application
975723 Formatting problems or the program closes unexpectedly when you try to open a new presentation or start PowerPoint for Mac
975724 Formatting problems or the program closes unexpectedly when you try to open a new presentation or start Excel for Mac
975725 Formatting problems or the program closes unexpectedly when you try to open a new presentation or start Word for Mac
976447 Microsoft Entourage for Mac stops unexpectedly

Use safe mode in Mac OS X

You can use safe mode to troubleshoot startup problems that occur in Mac OS X 10.4 or later versions.

Be aware that some operating system features are disabled in safe mode. For example, you can't use the DVD player, capture video in iMovie, use audio input or output devices, or use an internal or external USB modem. Also, be aware that behavior of some devices, such as an AirPort card, may vary in safe mode, depending on the computer and on the Mac OS X version.

Safe mode in Mac OS X 10.5 also disables Quartz Extreme (hardware accelerated graphics). Programs that depend on Quartz Extreme will not open, and the Mac OS X menu bar will appear solid even if Translucent Menu Bar is enabled in Desktop & Screen Saver preferences.

Safe mode in Mac OS X 10.6 also disables File Sharing access. This means that you will not be able to mount Time Capsule disks or volumes that are served by other computers that are running Mac OS X.

When you perform a safe boot, the following items are affected:
  • A directory check of the startup volume is performed.
  • Only required kernel extensions (some items in /System/Library/Extensions) are loaded.
  • All fonts other than those in /System/Library/Fonts are disabled.
  • All font caches that are typically stored in /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/[UID]/, where [UID] is a user ID number such as 501, are disabled.
  • All startup items and logon items are disabled.
  • Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later versions: The dynamic loader shared cache at (/var/db/dyld/) is deleted. (Cache problems may cause a blue screen condition (stop error) on startup, especially after a software update. A restart normally recreates this cache.)
To start an Office for Mac program in safe mode, follow these steps in the order in which they are listed.
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. When you hear the startup tone, immediately press and hold down the SHIFT key.

    Note Press the SHIFT key as soon as possible after you hear the startup tone. However, do not press the SHIFT key before you hear the startup tone.
  4. Release the SHIFT key when you see the gray Apple and the progress indicator on the screen. The progress indicator resembles a spinning gear.
  5. During startup, the words "Safe Boot" will appear on the Mac OS X startup screen.
  6. Start the Office for Mac program, and then try to reproduce the problem to determine whether the problem was resolved.
  7. If the problem does not recur, something that was normally set to start together with the operating system was causing the problem. Because Safe Boot affects different items in different ways, the problem could be related to startup items, fonts, or other items.
To investigate font-related problems, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
313535 How to troubleshoot font problems in Office for Mac programs
To investigate startup item problems, follow these steps:
  1. Click the Apple menu.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Select Accounts.
  4. On the left side, the account will appear selected. On the right side, select Login Items.
  5. All the items that are listed here are set to be started during a normal startup of the operating system. If the item is marked with a check mark, that item will be hidden and will not be started during a Safe Boot.
  6. To remove an item, selecting that item, and then click the minus sign that is below the list.
  7. Remove the items one at a time, and then restart normally to test whether the problem still occurs.
For more information about safe mode and Safe Boot, see the following AppleCare article:
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107392

Use the "Repair Disk Permissions" option

You can use the Repair Disk Permissions option to troubleshoot permissions problems in Mac OS X 10.2 or later versions. If the permissions for your Microsoft software are incorrect, Office for Mac programs may start slowly or perform slowly. To use the Repair Disk Permissions option, follow these steps:
  1. On the Go menu, click Utilities.
  2. Start the Disk Utility program.
  3. Click the primary hard disk drive for your computer.
  4. Click the First Aid tab.
  5. Click Repair Disk Permissions.
Note The Disk Utility program only repairs software that is installed by Apple. This utility also repairs folders, such as the Applications folder. However, this utility does not repair software that is in your home folder.

For more information about the Repair Disk Permissions option, see the following AppleCare article:
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106712

Move the Office preferences files to the desktop

Note See the articles that were listed earlier if the problem is isolated to a single program.

If you experience the problem in multiple programs, you can move the Microsoft folder that contains common preferences to the desktop instead of just moving the preference files for one Office program. This procedure will force re-creation of the preferences files with default values.
  1. Quit all Office for Mac programs that are running.
  2. Create a folder on the desktop, and name the folder Preferences.
  3. On the Go menu, click Home.
  4. Open the Library/Preferences folder.
  5. Drag the Microsoft folder and any preference files that begin with "com.microsoft" to the Preferences folder on the desktop.
  6. Start the Office for Mac program, and then try to reproduce the problem to determine whether the problem was resolved.
If this procedure did not resolve the problem, move the Microsoft folder and the preference files back in to the Library/Preferences folder to replace the new preferences files that were created.

If these steps resolved the problem, you can test each Office for Mac program preference file until you determine which file is the cause of the problem. After you find the file that is causing the problem, you can put the rest of the preference files back in the appropriate folder to replace the new preference files that were created.

Create a new user

When you start an Office for Mac program, the system may crash or the program may quit. If you tried removing the preference files and are still experiencing the problem, create a new user to help determine whether the error is limited to the individual user or affects the whole system. To do this, follow these steps.
  1. On the Apple menu, click System Preferences.
  2. If some settings are unavailable, click the lock icon, and then type an administrator name and password.
  3. Click Add (+), and then type the user's name.
  4. Type a short name if you do not want to use the short name that is automatically generated.
  5. Type the user's password in the Password and Verify boxes.
  6. Make the account an administrator account.
    • In OS X10.4.x, select the Allow user to administer this computer option at the bottom of the window
    • In OS X10.5.x or OS X10.6.x, select Administrator from the New Account drop-down list at the top.
  7. Click Create Account.
  8. Log off from the current account.
  9. Log on to the new user account.
  10. Start the Office for Mac program, and then try to reproduce the problem to determine whether the problem was resolved.
If the problem no longer occurs, the problem exists within the user’s home folder. If you think that the user account was responsible, continue to troubleshoot by using the new user account.

Note Contact Apple if you need help moving your user files to the new account.

Remove and then reinstall the Office for Mac program

If the following conditions are true, you will have to remove all copies of Office for Mac from your computer:
  • All the Office for Mac programs are unexpectedly exiting.
  • You are receiving an Office Test Drive error message.
To do this, follow the steps for your version of Office for Mac.

For Microsoft Office 2008

  1. Exit all open programs.
  2. Open the hard drive.
  3. Open the Library folder.
  4. Open the Application Support folder.
  5. Locate the Microsoft folder, and move it to the trash.
  6. Click the Go menu.
  7. Select Applications.
  8. Move the Microsoft Office 2008 folder to the trash.
  9. Make sure that there is nothing in the trash that you want to keep, and then empty the trash.
  10. Insert the Installation media for Office 2008.
  11. Run the installation setup assistant.
  12. Install all available updates.

For Microsoft Office 2004

  1. Run the Remove Office utility in the Additional Tools/Remove Office folder on the Office 2004 for Mac CD.
  2. Select the appropriate versions of Microsoft Office for Mac from the Results list.
  3. Make sure that there is nothing in the trash that you want to keep, and then empty the trash.

    Note If you receive an error message when you empty the trash, repeat this step until you no longer receive any error message.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 until the Remove Office utility no longer finds Office for Mac components.
  5. Run the Remove Office utility again, let the utility finish, quit the utility, and then run the utility again.
  6. Restart the computer.
  7. Install Office for Mac.
  8. Install all available updates.

Install a clean version of Mac OS X

You may have to install a clean version of the Mac OS X if the following conditions are true:
  • All applicable troubleshooting steps cannot resolve the problem.
  • The problem seems to be operating system related.
When you open an Office 2004 for Mac program, you may receive an error message that states that a carbon file, a shared library, or a framework file that is required is missing. You may also notice that other Office for Mac programs have problems also. If the problem relates to a Framework Library in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint but these programs are still usable, install all available updates. If the problem persists, you may have to reinstall the operating system.

If you plan to reinstall Mac OS X, use the Remove Office utility to remove Office for Mac from your computer. This utility also removes any preferences from the Library/Preferences folder in your home folder that apply to Office for Mac. These include the Microsoft Office folder and the Microsoft preferences folder.

For more information about how to reinstall Mac OS X, contact Apple. To contact Apple support, telephone (800) 275-2273 or visit the following Apple Care support Web site for more information:
http://www.apple.com/support
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, about the performance or reliability of these products.

Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

Properties

Article ID: 979949 - Last Review: July 10, 2012 - Revision: 3.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition
  • Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition
  • Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft Excel 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Student and Teacher Edition
  • Microsoft Entourage 2004 for Mac
  • Microsoft Excel 2004 for Mac
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2004 for Mac
  • Microsoft Word 2004 for Mac
Keywords: 
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