How to fix Microsoft Word not responding on Mac

woman working on mac

Pages or Microsoft Word? Fortunately, you don’t have to choose because macOS allows you to install both word processors. However, there’s a catch. Even though Word boasts a better feature set, availability, and accessibility, it’s not a stranger to freezes and crashes. Simply put, brace yourself for the possibility of a sluggish Word. Unless, of course, you implement our tips. 

This article offers easy-to-follow advice on fixing unresponsive Microsoft Word on Mac. Without further ado, let’s help you tame the unruly Word to finally allow you to unleash your creative mojo.

How to Fix Unresponsive Microsoft Word on Mac

Writing is never easy, but with a freezing Word, it’s downright impossible. The nerve-wracking rotation of the spinning beach ball is enough to make you get a typewriter and forgo the questionable luxuries of digital life. Well, maybe not that bad, but it should surely pique your interest to discover  quick solutions for a freezing Word. Here’s what you can do:

Reset Word preferences

Sometimes Word refuses to function properly because of corrupted .plist files, which store app preferences and configurations. If you have ever tried troubleshooting unsatisfactory app performance, you are surely familiar with the pesky files and macOS’ inability to replace them after corruption. Here’s how to reset Word preferences:

  1. In the Finder, click Go 
  2. Hold the Alt key and select Library
  3. In the Application Support folder, open the Microsoft folder
  4. Drag the file titled com.Microsoft.Word.plist to the desktop
  5. Relaunch Word

Reset the normal template

Every time you launch Word on your Mac, the normal.dotm file opens along with it. The file stores default styles, fonts, margins, and other customizations, thereby determining the look of your Word documents. Should something happen to this file, you will immediately experience Word crashes and freezes. Luckily, it doesn’t take more than a minute to fix the issue.

  1. In the Finder, click Go 
  2. Hold the Alt key and select Library
  3. From the Application Support folder, go to /Microsoft/Office/User/Templates/My Templates
  4. Locate the normal.dotm file and drag it to the Trash
  5. Relaunch Word

Rename your hard drive 

Unlike Windows, macOS provides you with a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to naming your hard drive. Restricted by its Windows ancestry, Word can balk at some hard drive names. To address the issue, do the following:

  1. In the Finder, select the Applications tab and open Utilities
  2. Launch the Disk Utility and right-click your hard drive
  3. In the drop-down menu, select the Rename option
  4. Enter a new hard drive name that doesn’t start with a number or contains special characters
  5. Hit Enter

Delete auto-saves

Microsoft Word comes with an auto-save feature. Although undoubtedly useful, the feature is known to cause a slew of performance issues, causing Word to fold like like a house made of cards. It wouldn’t be half as bad if Word allowed you to disable  the feature for old documents rather than only for your  current document. But worry not, there’s a neat way to address Microsoft’s oversight. 

  1. In the Finder, click Go and select Go to Folder
  2. In the window that opens, insert the following path: ~/Library/Containers/
  3. Click Go
  4. In the AutoRecovery folder, delete all auto-saves

Remove malware

Malware is a common cause of poor Mac performance, including app freezes and crashes. Therefore, before cursing Microsoft for an unresponsive Word, it’s best to ensure that a hoard of viruses haven’t ensconced themselves on your device. Go through this checklist to remove malware from your  Mac:

  • Disconnect your Mac from the internet, because malware might use it to transmit your data to cybercriminals;
  • Boot your Mac in the Safe Mode to prevent malware from automatically launching on boot;
  • Delete apps and browser extensions you don’t remember installing;
  • Remove login items you don’t need because some of them might harbor malware;
  • In the Activity Monitor, quit processes consuming a suspiciously large amount of CPU and Memory resources;
  • Run a malware scan using professional security software and remove detected threats.

Wrapping Up

Nothing destroys writing zeal faster than a sluggish Word. Hopefully, our advice has helped you address any unresponsive Word issues before your writing muse has disappeared. If that’s the case, don’t waste another second — start writing. And if you manage to cajole the muse into extending its disembodied presence after the completion of your writing project, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment.

Photo by from Pexels

Leave a Comment