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9 Solutions | Microsoft Word Won't Open on Mac

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Jul 17, 2024 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

"I was trying to use MS Word, but it crashed unexpectedly. Now my Microsoft Word will not open on my Mac, and I don't know what to do. I keep trying to open different files, but every time, it crashes after a few seconds. How can I fix it?"

Just like any other software program, MS Word is also susceptible to issues. You will find unlimited queries on forum sites asking, "why won't my Word document open on my Mac." Most of the people have no idea why their Microsoft Word stopped working randomly. If you are also facing a similar situation, you will have to look for an appropriate solution to fix this issue.

In this article, we will discuss the potential fixes that can resolve the Microsoft Word not opening issue.

Why Won't Microsoft Word Open on Mac Computer?

As MS Word is a widely used program, a malfunction could get tragic real soon. Before you get to solutions, you must go through the reasons for this problem first. The common causes of these issues are.

  • Inappropriate shutdown or system crash
  • Shift + Delete, and the file is deleted permanently from the device.
  • Formatted drives
  • Damaged and corrupted files
  • Virus or malware attack

Unless you have a brief idea about what caused the problem, you won't be able to steer away from the common errors. The user's listed common symptoms that lead to the "word won't open on my Mac" issue are given below:

  • The application keeps closing without any warning.
  • MS Word encounters an unknown issue and needs to close.
  • Erase, Install, or re-install factory version of OS X
  • MS Word file can't open due to an error.
Related: Further, read and get 8 specific solutions to "Word Keeps Crashing Mac."
- 2 minutes to read it.

When you face a situation like this, don't pain and look for solutions on the internet. If you are lucky, then you'll come across real fixes soon. Otherwise, you might have to struggle to find an ideal fix.

How to Fix "Microsoft Word Not Opening Mac"?

With so many versions and updates on MS Word, it can get hard to simplify the solutions for all versions. Here is a summarized list of solutions that can work when Microsoft Word is not opening on Mac. All these methods are useful and easy to carry out. So, give them a try one by one.

Solution 1. Force Reboot Microsoft Word

If the Microsoft Word app is active on your Mac now, you can quit the app forcefully or reboot it using Activity Monitor to fix the problem.

  1. Right-click on the Microsoft Word icon at the bottom of the screen.
  2. If the app is malfunctioning, you will find the option to Force quit it.

force quit microsoft word on mac

If it doesn’t work, try this way:

  1. Press Command+Option+Esc keys to open the Force Quit Applications window.
  2. Locate and select the Microsoft Word from the list of the applications.
  3. Click on the Force Quit option.

force quit microsoft word

You also can run the Activity Monitor feature to force quit Word.

  1. Launch Activity Monitor by going to Applications->Utilities->Activity Monitor.
  2. Find and select Microsoft Word from the list of the applications.
  3. Click the “X” button from the top left corner of the Activity Monitory window. It will force quit the program.
  4. Click on the Force Quit button to confirm.

force quit microsoft word through activity monitor

Solution 2. Remove Word Preferences to Open Frozen Word

Sometimes, it is the random words combination or special characters that lead to such issues. It can be resolved if you follow the steps below.

  1. Open library and type Library in the Go to the Folder and hit the Go button.

    open library to open Word

  2. Look for a folder that says "Preferences." This folder contains the preferences file you set for the MS Word program.

    Locate the Word Preferences folder

  3. Open the folder, search for a file named- "com.microsoft.Word.plist," and move the file to the desktop. Now, try opening the Word file and see if the problem persists. If it does, then move the file to its original location and move on to the next step.

    move the Word plist file to desktop

  4. Exit every Microsoft program running on your Mac and click on the Word option in the Apple Menu. Tap on the "Preferences" option from the list.

    open Word preferences

  5. Choose the File Locations option and select the "User templates."

    access User templates to fix Word Not Opening

  6. Locate the file which saved as Normal and moves it to the desktop.

    move Normal file and open Word

Solution 3. Free RAM on Mac

For users who are using the 8GB RAM powered Macs, they may face the situation that the Mac is running out of RAM. In this case, you can clear the RAM by closing the irrelevant programs and services to solve the can't open Microsoft Word on Mac problem.

You can follow this way to check the RAM usage on your Mac:

  1. Go to Activity Monitor.
  2. Click the Memory tab and check the Memory Used.
  3. If it’s using almost 80% RAM, you may need to shut down some irrelevant programs to make the Microsoft Word be accessible again.

free ram

Solution 4. Open and Repair Microsoft Word

Everyone knows how to open Microsoft Word on Mac, but we do not talk about just opening and closing the files. You can also repair the MS Word files with the following steps.

  1. Start MS Word and click on the File menu. Choose the Open option, and it will open up a dialog box where you can select the Word file which needs repair.
  2. While you are selecting the file, at the right bottom side of the window, choose the Repair option and click on the Ok button.

Repair frozen Word files

The Mac utility will automatically repair the not opening Word file, and you will be able to use it now.

Solution 5. Run Disk Utility to Repair Word

Besides the above methods fail, you can also run the Disk Utility to repair the Word file if the Microsoft Word is not opening on your Mac computer.

  1. Inside the Go menu, choose the Utility option and start the Disk Utility program.

    Open Disk Utility to repair Word

  2. Ensure that you choose the Primary hard disk of your Mac and then click on the "First Aid" tab.

    Switch to First Aid tab

  3. You will get a pop-up option that asks you to run First Aid on the drive. Hit the Run option, and the Disk Utility will repair the Disk volume errors and permissions issues.

    Repair the Word freezing or not opening error

When the process finishes, click on "Done" and check whether the problem is fixed or not. There are maximum chances that the problem will be resolved. But if MS Word is still not responding correctly to commands, then there is one 100% guaranteed solution left to recover your Word Documents.

Solution 6. Clear Cache on Mac

If the MacOS collects too many cache files in the background, it may cause the programs installed on the computer be unable to work properly. In this way, you can clear some cache files.

  1. Open Finder->Go->Go to Folder.
  2. Type the following path in the window and click Go:
  3. Here, you can find the system cache files. You can choose the files you want to delete.

clear cache

Solution 7. Reinstall/Update Microsoft Word

Reinstalling or updating the Word program can be an effective way to solve the can’t open Microsoft Word on Mac issue. You can open the App Store->Updates to check if there is any available update for Microsoft Word.

Noted: Reinstalling/uninstalling Microsoft Word should not delete your documents. However, it's always a good practice to back up your important documents before performing any major changes to your system.

Solution 8. Go to Microsoft Word Web

If you need to edit a Word file urgently, you can temporarily use the Microsoft Word online version. Find the URL here: https://office.live.com/start/word.aspx

Solution 9. Recover Not Opening Word Files on Mac

While you are trying to repair the drive and Word files, it is common that the solutions don't work as expected, and the files get deleted from Mac. Here is the perfect solution if getting stuck in such circumstances without any recovery option.

The best tool available for Word file recovery on the internet is Recoverit Word Recovery software. This software is capable of recovering various kinds of deleted or lost data. For example, Word documents, PowerPoint, Excel files, PDF, photos, videos, songs, audios, and many more. It is a faster, easier, and 100% secure data recovery tool with the market's highest recovery rate.

Now, let's have a look at the simple steps on Word document recovery. You only need to launch the Word file recovery software and do a few clicks.

Step 1: Select a location storing the Word file

To recover the not opening document caused by accidental deletion, you need to select the drive where the data files are lost. Then, click the "Start" button.

select a location with Word files

Step 2: Scan the Word location for files

Typically, the software will run an all-around scan and search for the lost and deleted files on the entire drive. If you perform an emptied trash recovery or HFS+ data rescue, you can even try the deep scan mode.

scan the Word location

Step 3: Preview and recover Word documents.

When the scan completes, the files will be listed on the screen. The software will sort out the files according to format to make the search easier. You can select multiple files at a time and have a preview of them.

recover deleted or lost Word files

Video Tutorial on How to Fix "Microsoft Word Not Opening Mac"?


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Part 3. Tips Against "Microsoft Word Won't Open on Mac."

If you don't want to go through this problem, you should have to take care of a few things. This way, you will be successful in avoiding the Microsoft Word won't open on Mac issue in the future. So, here are some tips that you need to follow:

  • Avoid relying on automated tools to clean up the cache or redundant files on your Mac. These tools often end up deleting the important files on the device.
  • In case you use the Command Line to delete a file, be careful as a single mistake can lead to bigger issues.
  • Never format a drive before creating a backup; otherwise, you might end up losing important files.
  • Stay focused while partitioning the drives on your Mac. Improper partitioning can lead to corruption of data files stored on the drive.
  • Avoid rushing commands on MS Word. If you pass on multiple commands at once, then Word might get confused, and the file might become inaccessible due to some random mistake.

Even a little mishandling can lead to major working issues in MS Word. Instead of worrying about how you can rescue the data, try keeping the data safe on the first hand.

Now you know how to open Word on Mac along with the process of repair. And if you are facing a dilemma and then want to recover Word files, you can always think of using Recoverit Data recovery software.

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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