There is a serious disk error on when attempting to save, copy and paste or create auto recovery files in Office for Mac


Consider these scenarios:

When you save an Office file, perform a copy and paste or word attempts to create an auto recovery file, and you receive one of the following error messages:

·       There is a serious disk error on file

·       "Word cannot save or create this file. The disk may be full or write-protected"

·       There is a serious disk error on file ~Word Work File S{<filename>}.tmp.

Screenshot of Error message
Note: The number in the error is completely random.

When creating an new email in Outlook and saving a draft or editing a draft the above errors.  


During the save or autosave process a temporary file is created and the file is replaced by the saved version.  If something environmental causes a break in this process, the file may generate one of the errors above.


Method 1: Install the latest update for Office for Mac.

  1. Open any Office application such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook.
  2. On the Help menu, select Check for Updates.
  3. Under How would you like to check for software updates? select Automatically.

  4. On the Check for updates pop-up menu, select the frequency that you want AutoUpdate to use to check for new updates.
  5. Click Check for Updates.

If you need additional information on updates see article, Check for Office for Mac updates automatically

If you continue to experience problems, please contact support


Article ID: 3199355 - Last Review: Oct 13, 2016 - Revision: 1