A beginner's guide to troubleshooting problems in Word
This article was previously published under Q322743
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This article presents a systematic approach to help you resolve various error messages and problems in Microsoft Word. You can use one of the following methods to resolve various error messages and problems in Word:
- Use the the Troubleshoot Utility in the Support Template
Perform the steps, in order, until your problem is resolved.
You can easily perform most of the procedures in this article when you use the Word Support Template.
Step 1: Install the Support TemplateThis template makes it easy to start Word with default settings and to rename or remove specific items that may be causing the problem.
For more information about how to obtain and install the Word Support Template, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Step 2: Start Word with the Default SettingsWhen you start (or quit) Word, several events occur that can affect the behavior and performance of Word. These events include loading the Normal.dot template, reading several Windows Registry keys, and loading add-ins and files in the Startup folder.
To start Microsoft Word with the default settings using the Support Template, follow the steps in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
- Locate the Winword.exe file.
Note By default, this program is in the following location depending on your version of Word:
Word 2003C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11Word 2002C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10
- Click Start, and then click Run.
- In the Open box, type the path for Winword.exe file as you found it in step 1.
- Enclose the path in quotation marks so that it is similar to the following:"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe"
- In the Open box, move the insertion point to after the quotation marks at the end of the path statement.
- Type a space, and then type /a.
The path statement now looks similar to the following:"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe" /a
- Click OK.
Note You must type the /a switch outside the quotation marks. If you type the /a switch inside the quotation marks, you receive a message that is similar to one of the following when you try to run the command:Cannot find the file 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe /a' (or one of its components). Make sure the path and file name are correct and that all required libraries are available.Windows cannot find 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe /a'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click the Start button, and then click Search.
- Path 1. If you experienced the problem when you started Word, did that problem occur when you started Word this time?
- Path 2. If you experienced the problem when you quit Word, try to quit Word now. Does the problem still occur?
- Path 3. If you do not normally experience a problem when you start or quit Word, proceed to step 3 and try to reproduce the problem now.
If the problem recurs after a clean or safe mode boot in Windows, and you started Word with its default settings, then you may need to reinstall Windows and/or Word. If the problem does not recur, the problem is with a component that is normally loaded when you start Windows. You may need to contact Microsoft Windows support for additional troubleshooting steps.
For more information about how to clean boot your computer, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
310353 How to perform a clean boot in Windows XP
281770 How to perform clean-boot troubleshooting for Windows 2000
267288 How to perform a clean boot in Windows Millennium Edition
180902 How to start a Windows-based computer in Safe ModeIf you answer No, the problem does not occur now to either Path 1 or Path 2, the problem is with one of the items that were bypassed by starting Word with the default settings. To resolve the problem, follow the steps in one the following Microsoft Knowledge Base articles:
To continue to use the Troubleshoot Utility in the Support Template, click the article link here:
To continue to use the manual approach, click the article link here:
259413 How to troubleshoot problems that may occur when you start or work in Word 2000, in Word 2002, and in Word 2003
Step 3: Try to Reproduce the ProblemAfter you start Word as described in step 2, try to reproduce the problem. For example, try to open your document, and see whether the problem recurs.
- If the problem recurs, go to step 4 for more troubleshooting steps.-
- If the problem does not recur, one of the components that was disabled in step 2 was causing the problem. You must follow the steps listed in one of the following Microsoft Knowledge Base articles: To continue to use the Troubleshoot Utility in the Support Template, click the article link here:259413 How to troubleshoot problems that may occur when you start or work in Word 2000, in Word 2002, and in Word 2003After you complete each step in the article you have chosen, try to reproduce the problem again. If the problem recurs, go to the next step. If the problem does not recur, that component is causing the problem.
Step 4: Determine the Problem AreaYou reached this step because you determined that the problem does not occur when you start or quit Word, or that the problem still occurs when you work with your document while Word is running with its default settings.
Before you go further, try the following:
- Does the Problem Occur in Other Programs?
If the problem occurs in programs other than Word, most likely the problem is not with Word but with Microsoft Windows, a component of Windows, or a piece of software that is running in the background. Although some of the troubleshooting tips and possible solutions in this article may help you to resolve errors outside of Word, the focus of this article is to resolve errors that are more specific to Word.
For more assistance when working in Windows, please see the following resources:
Windows XP Support Center:
- Does the Problem Only Affect a Certain Document?
If the problem is specific to a certain document, the document may be damaged. To test this, create a new document, and then see whether you can reproduce the problem in the new document. To create a new document, follow these steps:
- On the File menu, click New.
- In the New Document task pane, click Blank Document, and then click OK.
- Create a document similar to the document that was causing the problems.
If the problem does not occur in a new document, the original document may be damaged. Damaged documents often display behavior that is not part of the program design (for example, infinite repagination, incorrect document layout and formatting, unreadable characters on the screen, error messages during processing, the system stops responding when you load or view the file, or any other unusual behavior that cannot be attributed to the typical operation of the program). Some of this behavior can be caused by factors other than document damage.
To help rule out other factors, follow these troubleshooting steps:
- Look for similar behavior in other documents.
- Look for similar behavior in other programs.
- Take the document in question to another computer, and then try to duplicate the behavior.
- Does the Problem Only Occur When You Perform a Certain Function in Word?
To further determine where the problem exists, you must define what you are doing when the problem occurs.
The problem occurs when I try to make editing changes to the document.
This can be caused by several conditions, including the following:
- A Damaged Custom Dictionary
- A Damaged AutoCorrect File
- Damaged Spelling and Grammar Files
- Damaged Fonts
When you type a space or press ENTER after a word, the background spelling and grammar checker tries to check the word. If the background spelling and grammar checker does not find the word in the main dictionary, the background spelling and grammar checker looks in the custom dictionary. When you click Spelling and Grammar and then click Add to add a word to the spelling dictionary, the word is actually added to the custom dictionary. If the custom dictionary is damaged for some reason, an error occurs when you try to run Spelling and Grammar.
For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
291176 You receive a "The custom dictionary is full. The word was not added" error message when you add a word to the custom dictionary in Word 2003 and in Word 2002
Is the AutoCorrect (ACL) File Causing the Problem?
When you type a space or press ENTER, the background AutoCorrect feature tries to correct the spelling or grammar of a word or to add special symbols instead of some characters. The AutoCorrect list (ACL) stores a list of what words or characters to act upon, and what to substitute for them.
If this ACL file is damaged, a problem occurs when Word tries to access the ACL file. To correct this problem, back up the AutoCorrect list for your computer. For more information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
269006 How to move AutoCorrect entries between computers in Word 2002
826147 How to move Word AutoCorrect entries between computers in Word 2003After you back up the AutoCorrect list, search for a list of .acl files on your computer. Rename each of the .acl files, and then restart Word the way that you typically do.
Note The .acl files can be customized so that you can enter personal AutoCorrect entries. If you rename these files, you will lose any customizations that have been made. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you rename and not delete the .acl files.
If the problem is corrected, you have identified the problem as a damaged ACL file. To complete this step, click Detect and Repair on the Help menu, and then follow the onscreen instructions to repair any other errors in Word.
If the problem is not corrected, restore your AutoCorrect list by following the steps in one of the preceding Knowledge Base articles, "Move Word AutoCorrect entries between computers in Word 2002."
or "Move Word AutoCorrect entries between computers in Word 2003."
Is the Background Spelling and Grammar Checker Causing the Problem?
When you type a space or press ENTER, the background spelling and grammar checker verifies what you typed. If the background spelling and grammar checker finds a misspelled word or grammar mistake, it flags what you typed as a misspelled word (with a red wavy underline) or as a grammar mistake (with a green wavy underline). If the spelling files or the grammar files are damaged, you may receive an error when you type. To determine whether this is the problem, turn off the background spelling and grammar checker, and then try to reproduce the problem.
To turn off (or turn on) the background spelling and grammar checker, follow these steps:
- Open the document, if possible.
- Immediately, before you do anything else, click Options on the Tools menu.
- Click the Spelling and Grammar tab.
- Click to clear the Check spelling as you type check box and the Check grammar as you type check box.
- Click OK, and then try to reproduce the problem.
If the problem is not corrected, continue to troubleshoot by following the steps in the "Are the Fonts Damaged?" section of this article.
Are the Fonts Damaged?
A damaged font can cause an Invalid Page fault when you are working with Microsoft Word (or any other Windows program).
If a document stops responding while you are working in it, try to determine what fonts are in the document, and then apply these fonts to a new document that is based on the Normal.dot template. If the problem occurs in the new document, reduce the number of fonts in the new document one by one, until only the font that is causing the problem remains.
NOTE: The Tahoma font is used in the dialog boxes and menus in Word and Office. If Word crashes when you start it, a possible cause may be a damaged Tahoma font. Follow the steps to remove and reinstall the Tahoma font.
After you determine or suspect that a font is damaged, follow these steps to remove and reinstall the font.
NOTE: This procedure removes the font from your system and requires you to reinstall the font from its original source.
- Quit all Microsoft Office programs.
- Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
NOTE: In Windows XP, click Start and then click Control Panel.
- Double-click Fonts.
- Drag the font (or fonts) that you think may be damaged to your desktop (or to some other location outside the font folder). The font is now "removed" from your computer. In any document that is formatted with that font, another font will be substituted.
- Close the font folder, restart Word as you typically do (without using the /a switch), and then try to reproduce the problem.
NOTE: If the font that you removed came from a different software program, you may have to reinstall that program to replace the font on your system.
The problem occurs when I try to print or make formatting changes to the document.
If the problem occurs when you try to print or make formatting changes in your Word document, this section can help you determine whether the problem is caused by your printer driver or video driver. Follow the steps, and then test to see whether the problem is resolved in Word. You may have to repeat the steps several times to determine whether the problem is resolved by making changes to your printer driver or video driver.
Word frequently queries the printer driver for information that Word needs when Word is formatting and printing a document. A damaged printer driver can cause an invalid page fault or exception error to occur when you are working in a document.
Most non-PostScript (PCL) printer drivers use a common core file called the Unidrv.dll file. This includes Microsoft Fax and Generic/Text Only. For this reason, if you are using a PCL printer driver and you want to troubleshoot the printer driver, you must install a non-PCL printer driver.
Almost all PostScript printer drivers use a common core file called the Pscript.drv file. For this reason, if you are using a PostScript printer driver and you want to troubleshoot the printer driver, you must install a non-PostScript printer driver.
For more information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
291336 How to troubleshoot printing problems in Word 2002 (Part 1)
291344 How to troubleshoot printing problems in Word 2002 (Part 2)The following topic is covered in part 1:
- What Are Some Specific Error Messages I May Get?
- How to Eliminate Document-Specific Printing Problems
- What Are Some Other Things I Can Try?
- Additional Troubleshooting Resources
- Microsoft Support Options
Word frequently queries the video driver for information that Word needs when Word is formatting and printing the document. A damaged video driver can cause an invalid page fault, an exception error, or other problems. As a test to determine whether the video driver is causing the problem, set your video driver to the lowest compatible settings in Word.
For more information about how to troubleshoot video display problems or error messages for the video display driver when you start or use Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307960 Resources for troubleshooting display problems in Windows XPFor more information about how to troubleshoot video display problems or error messages for the video display driver when you start or use Microsoft Windows 98 or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
127139 Troubleshooting video problems in Windows
Step 5: What to Try When the Problem Is Not ResolvedIf the steps in this article did not resolve the problems you encountered in Word, please visit the Word Support Center at the following Microsoft Web site:
Microsoft Support OptionsIf you cannot resolve this issue, several support options are available to assist you.
Quickly Find Answers Yourself OnlineUse Microsoft Online Support to search the Microsoft Knowledge Base and other technical resources for fast, accurate answers. You can also customize the site to control your search.
To begin your search, browse to the following Web site:
Microsoft Product SupportContact a Microsoft Product Support professional to assist you with troubleshooting problems.
For more information about obtaining help with troubleshooting Microsoft Word, click About Microsoft word on the Help menu, and then click Tech Support.
Microsoft Solution ProvidersMicrosoft Solution Providers are independent organizations that have teamed with Microsoft to use technology to solve business problems for companies of all sizes and industries.
To locate a Microsoft Solution Provider in your area in the U.S. and Canada, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. If you are outside the United States, contact your local subsidiary. To locate your subsidiary, see the Microsoft World Wide Offices Web site at:
Article ID: 322743 - Last Review: 12/07/2015 11:01:06 - Revision: 7.0
Microsoft Word 2002
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