Fix Microsoft Word Slow When Opening, Typing and Processing Files?

Microsoft Word is one of the popular text processing applications available. Though there are many alternate apps, Word is an ultimate document app due to universal use. However, slow performance of Microsoft Word is quite common on many computers due to various reasons. This may result in reduced productivity for business professionals and normal computer users. In this article let us explain how to fix slow Word when opening, typing and saving documents to speedup productivity.

Related: How to fix slow Microsoft Excel and speedup your productivity.

Fix Slow Microsoft Office Problems

Here are the fixes to solve the performance problem with Microsoft Word.

  1. Deleting default template file
  2. Disable graphics acceleration in Word settings
  3. Use registry editor to disable graphics acceleration
  4. Install updates
  5. Update your OS
  6. Reinstall Microsoft Office
  7. Delete temporary files
  8. Optimize the document
  9. Open Word in safe mode
  10. Check locked files
  11. Disable add-ins

Method #1: Delete Normal.dot File

Microsoft Word uses template files to create documents. Normal.dot is the global template file that Word uses for creating a blank document file. This essentially means, the template file is always in use when Word is in use. Word also stores all style related settings, such as font size and font type in this template. So, problematic or corrupted ‘Normal.dot’ template can cause slow performance when opening or closing your documents.

An effective solution is to delete the Nomal.dot or Normal.dotm template file. You don’t need to worry about deleting this file as Word will recreate a fresh Normal.dot file when you open the application. However, it is a bit tricky task, since Normal.dot or Normal.dotm file is a hidden file. Therefore, you need to first enable the option in Windows to show hidden files. Then save all your open documents and close Microsoft Word.

The file location may be different depending upon your Windows version. Generally you can find the Normal.dot (Word 2007) or Normal.dotm (Word 2007/10) or Normal.dotx (Word 2013 and above) file in the following location:

C:\Users\Username\appdata\Microsoft\Templates

In Windows 10, you can look for the file in the below path:

C:\Users\Your User Name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

View Word Template File in Windows 10
View Word Template File in Windows 10

If you use Office on Mac, go to Finder and press “Command + Shift + G” to open “Go to folder” box. Type the following location and press enter key.

~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/

After locating the template file in your PC or Mac, simply delete it. Now, open Microsoft Word to create a new Normal.dot/dotm/dotx file. Check whether this helps to solve the slow processing issues in Microsoft Word.

Related: How to quickly insert dividers in Microsoft Word?

Method #2: Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration

In some cases, when you type on a Word document, it will lag for few seconds or longer from the moment you press the key. This will badly affect your productivity by causing delay and diverting your concentration when doing important work. Newer Office versions use hardware graphics acceleration to speed up the performance. However, slow computers often have limited hardware resources, which make Word less responsive. Follow these steps to disable hardware acceleration in Word:

  • Open Microsoft Word and create a blank document.
  • Click “File” menu and choose “Options” in the left pane to go to backstage view.
  • On the “Word Options” screen, choose “Advanced” in the left pane.
  • Look for “Disable hardware graphics acceleration” option at the right pane under the “Display” section and enable it.
  • Click the OK button to apply your changes.
Disable Hardware Acceleration in Word
Disable Hardware Acceleration in Word

Restart Microsoft Word and verify whether the problem has been resolved.

Method #3: Disable Hardware Acceleration in Registry Editor

If Microsoft Word still performs slowly, it may be a good idea to perform changes in the registry. Note that modifying registry is not recommended and you may not have access in the administered computers. If you have access to registry editor then backup your data and follow the below steps:

  • Press “Win + R” keys to open Run prompt. Type the command “regedit” and hit enter. Alternatively, use Windows search box and type in “regedit” to open Registry Editor.
  • Navigate to the entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\common.
  • Note that 16.0 is the version of Microsoft Office 2016, your version could be different.
  • Right click on the right pane select “New > Key” to create a new key under the “common” folder.
Create New Registry Key
Create New Registry Key
  • Windows will create a key with the name as “New Key #1” with an option to edit. Type in “Graphics” for the name of the key.
  • Click the newly created “Graphics” key and right click on the right pane. Select “New > DWORD (32-bit) Value” option.
Create New DWORD Value
Create New DWORD Value
  • Type in “DisableHardwareAcceleration” as the name of the new DWORD value.
  • Double click on the new DWORD and change its value from 0 to 1.
Change Value Data
Change Value Data

Close the registry editor and restart your computer. Check Word works smoother now.

Related: Fix slow Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.

Method #4: Install Latest Updates

If Microsoft Word seems to react poorly to any command for processing a task, you may need to look for updating to the latest service pack. The latest service pack may provide you with bug fixes and performance optimization. Microsoft releases service pack regularly, generally they are installed automatically if you have auto update enabled. Otherwise you need to check and update them manually. Often, by installing a new service pack, you can regain lost performance.

Update Microsoft Word
Update Microsoft Word

Note that Apple stopped supporting 32-bit applications from macOS Catalina. Hence the 32-bit Mac Word 2011 or 2016 apps will no more work on your Mac. Ensure to purchase Office 365 subscription to work with 64-bit compatible Office apps on your Mac.

Method #5: Update Your OS

Also ensure your Windows OS is getting automatic security updates to make sure that rest of the system is working properly. Microsoft updates Windows 10 automatically, however follow the below steps to check the status and manually update:

  • Press “Win + I” keys to open Windows Settings app.
  • Click on “Update & Security” section.
  • Click on the “Check for updates” button to update your Windows 10 to the latest version.
Update Windows 10
Update Windows 10

If you have Mac, you can install the latest updates by following the below instructions:

  • Go to “Apple menu” by clicking the Apple icon on top left corner of your Mac.
  • Select “System Preferences…” and click on the “Software Update” option.
  • Check any update is available and install the latest version.

Related: How to change embedded document name in Word?

Method #6: Reinstall Microsoft Office

If you use Microsoft Office regularly for creating complex documents, spreadsheets and presentations, there’s a possibility that it will become faulty or corrupted. You may remedy it easily by reinstalling Office package. Prepare your Microsoft Office DVD and product key to complete the re-installation process. Follow these steps to uninstall and re-install Office in Windows 10:

  • Go to “Control Panel” and choose “Uninstall a program” under “Programs” section.
  • Find Microsoft Office and click the “Change” button. Follow steps on the screen to remove the program.
  • Use the installation disk or download from the Windows Store for re-installing again.

Note that Word 2000, 2002 and 2003 can be restored to original settings by choosing ‘”Detect and Repair” in the “Help” menu.

On Mac, you can simply drag the application file to trash bin and reinstall from the App Store.

Method #7: Delete “~.dot” or “~.doc” Files

When you open a document, Word will have a temporary file in the same folder indicated by the ~ (tilde) sign at the beginning. Generally, Word will delete them automatically when you save and close your document. however, if you accumulate lot of these temporary files, Word would become slow and sluggish. For example, if you zip the content when the document is open then the compressed folder will include the temporary file in addition to the original file. Follow these steps to cleanup the temporary files:

  • Go to Windows Search box and type in ~*.dot.
  • Hit enter and wait until you get all the files on your computer. Select all of them, right click and choose “Delete”.
  • Repeat the process by typing in ~*.doc in the search box. Also select all of them, right click and choose “Delete”.
  • You can also empty your Recycle Bin to save storage space on your PC.

Open Microsoft Word and make sure that the problem has been resolved

Method #8: Optimize Document Files

Often, less optimized document files cause slow performance. Check whether your document has plenty of embedded macros and remove any of them if possible. Many people also put high quality pictures with large resolution inside documents. You need to optimize the pictures by changing the dimension that matches the size of the page. You may also use Adobe Photoshop or Snagit to save these images in optimized format to reduce the file sizes without sacrificing the quality too much.

Method #9: Open Word in Safe Mode

One of the reasons for slow Word app is the corrupted documents. When you try to open corrupted document, Word will show a message like “Microsoft Word is not responding” indicating the problem. You can choose “Restart the program” option to cancel the current operation and try to reopen the file again.

Word Not Responding
Word Not Responding

If that does not help, then press “Win + R” keys and open Run Command box. Type “winword /safe” to open Word in safe mode. This will help you to speedup the document as Word will disable extensions and other unnecessary stuffs in safe mode. Sometimes, Word will also suggest to open a document in safe mode. Choose “Yes” to check whether the safe mode can help in improving the performance at least when processing that document.

Word Safe Mode Request
Word Safe Mode Request

Related: Fix slow Microsoft Outlook emails.

Method #10: Check File Lock

Some times people share the locked file in chat, emails or SharePoint. When you try to open locked file, Word will show you the “File in Use” warning and ask you to choose the action.

Opening Locked Document
Opening Locked Document

You may notice, slow response time in Word when you open and read locked documents. We recommend you to open the locked file in “Read Only” mode to open it faster. Otherwise, you can request the owner to share the file without edit lock.

Method #11: Disable Add-ins

If you use add-ins to enhance the functionalities then ensure to disable them when you have problem with Word.

  • Go to “File > Options” menu in Word.
  • Choose “Add-ins” to view all installed on your Word installation. you can click each add-in to check the function it does.
  • Select the add-ins type from the “Manage” drop-down and click on “Go…” button.
  • Uncheck the add-ins to disable them.
Manage Add-ins in Word
Manage Add-ins in Word

Check whether this helps to resolve your problems. You can enable the add-ins back any time when needed.

Conclusion

Microsoft Word is almost an essential utility in office workers and many user’s daily life. So when you experience slow response, typing delay or any other problem, it is a good idea to check all the above steps. This will ensure to fix the problems and focus on creating documents with improved productivity.

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22 thoughts on “Fix Microsoft Word Slow When Opening, Typing and Processing Files?”

Leave your response.

  1. Thank you so much! Method#1 works for me!!

    I was confused as to why Word was slow when I tried to open it, it would take 1-2 mins while PowerPoint, Excel and Publisher opened in just 2-5 secs. I just deleted the Normal.dot file and Word now opens within 2-5 secs again!

    Thank you so much! God bless!

    Reply
  2. My Microsoft word is working slowly in my newly purchased dell laptop. It has affected my productivity of work. Request you to help me to solve this issue.

    Ashish

    Reply
  3. Deleting the normal.dot file didn’t seem to help. Disabling the hardware acceleration seemed to help quite a bit although I have a powerful system. I then went to delete the temp files. One of them deleted nearly all of my documents (it did seem like a lot). Fortunately I just sent them to the recycle bin so I could restore. I definitely typed in ~.dot and ~.doc so what am I doing wrong? Thanks.

    Reply
    • I had this issue in word 2016.
      changed graphic (display settings) from 16 bits to 32 bits and it fixed the problem.
      full screen was laggy and non-maximized screen was normal and this helped to fix it.
      This is graphic card issue not the MS word 2016

      Reply
  4. Yes! this is what was lacking: the check mark in the “disable hardware graphics acceleration” box! Thank you thank you thank you!

    Reply
  5. Hi, just wanted to say thank you so much for this information. It literally just saved so much of my time! You’re the true MVP!!

    Reply
  6. WOW!
    thank you a million times you just saved me from uninstalling my 2019 office and install a lower version and had lots of problems ahead.
    i recently upgraded my pc to windows 10 and when i install office 2019 they were running too slow when typing which drives me craaaaaazy, i used METHOD #2 and it worked!!!!!
    you made my day!

    Reply
  7. I deleted the normal.dot file on my Mac running Catalina 10.15.1. Now can’t get Word to open without restarting the computer. When it opened after a restart, I checked to see if a new normal.dot file was created in the ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/ location but nothing there. Next I tried uninstalling and reinstalling Office 2016 for Mac. When I opened Word the first time, it worked but now won’t open again. And no normal.dot file. Could that file missing have something to do with the reason it won’t open? Any help would be appreciated.

    Reply

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