Cannot start other Word version when multiple versions are installed


Symptoms


You install two different versions of Microsoft Word on the same computer. After you start one version of Word, you cannot start the other version. When you attempt to start the other version of Word, you get a second document instance of the first version.

Note It is common practice for some companies to run multiple versions of Word on the same computer, especially for comparison testing before they upgrade multiple computers to the new version.

Cause


This behavior is by design. When Word starts, Word checks to see whether an instance of Word is already running. Word does not check to see which version of Word is running.

If an instance of Word is running, the request is passed to the running instance, and a new document window is created. If an instance of Word is not found, the version of Word that you requested is started.

Workaround


To work around this default behavior, use either the /n switch or /w switch to start the other version of Word. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Start the first version of Word. For example, start Microsoft Word 2002.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run.
  3. In the Run dialog box, click Browse.
  4. In the Browse dialog box, change the Look in box to the folder that contains the Winword.exe file of the other version of Word that you want to start.

    For example, change the Look in box to the folder that contains the Winword.exe file for Microsoft Word 2000. By default, this folder is in the following location, but it may be different on your system:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office
  5. Click to select the Winword.exe file, and then click Open.
  6. In the Run dialog box, the Open box will contain the path to the Winword.exe file for the other version of Microsoft Word that you want to start. Click into the Open box, and move the insertion point to the end of the path statement. The path statement in the Open box should be similar to the following:
    "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Winword.exe"
  7. After the closing quotation marks, type a space, and then type either /n or /w.

    Note The /n switch starts Word without a new blank document. The /w switch starts Word with a new blank document.

    The path statement in the Open box should now appear similar to the following:
    "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Winword.exe" /w
  8. Click OK.

References


For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

290576 How to run multiple versions of Office on one computer