Fix Microsoft Word Slow When Opening, Typing and Processing Files?
Microsoft Word is one of the popular text processing application available. Though there are many alternate apps are available, Word is an ultimate document app due to universal use. Slow performance of Microsoft Word is quite common on many computers and this could be caused by many factors. This may result in reduced productivity for business professionals and normal computer users.
Related: Fix slow Microsoft Excel.
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 documents.
An effective solution is to delete the Nomal.dot or Normal.dotm (for Word 2007 and Word 2010). Word will recreate a fresh Normal.dot file when opened. But it is a bit tricky task, since Normal.dot or Normal.dotm file is a hidden file. So first enable the option in Windows to show hidden files. Then save all your open documents and close Microsoft Word.
The file location may 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 location C:\User\[Username]\appdata\Microsoft\Templates. On Mac, go to Finder and press ‘Command + Shift + G’ to open ‘Go to folder’ box. Enter the location ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/.
Locate the file in your PC or Mac and simple 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.
Method #2: Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration
In some cases, when you type on a Word document, it lags for a few seconds or longer from the moment you press the key. This will badly impair your productivity and cause so much delay. 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:
- Open Microsoft Word and create a blank document.
- Click ‘File’ menu and choose ‘Options’ in the left pane.
- On the new screen, choose ‘Advanced’ in the left pane. Look for “Disable hardware graphics acceleration” at the right pane under the ‘Display’ section and check it.
- Click the OK button.
Restart Microsoft Word and verify whether the problem has been resolved. If Microsoft Word still performs slowly, it may be a good idea to perform changes in registry. Follow these steps:
- Go to Windows search box and type in ‘regedit’. Hit Enter.
- Navigate to the entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common.
- Note that 15.0 is the version of Microsoft Office, your version could be different.
- Create a new subkey under the ‘Common’ folder. Right click on the right pane select ‘New > Key’.
- Type in ‘Graphics’ for the name of the subkey. Click the newly created Graphics subkey and right click on the right pane. Select ‘New > DWORD Value’. Type in DisableHardwareAcceleration as the name of the new DWORD value. Click on the new DWORD and change its value from 0 to 1.
Close the registry editor and restart your computer. Check Word works smoother now.
Method #3: Install Latest Updates
Microsoft Word is one of the most often used programs. Any small problem could have a big effect on our productivity. If Microsoft Word seems to react poorly to any command to process a task, you may need to do 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.
Also ensure your Windows OS is getting automatic security updates to make sure that rest of the system is working properly. Follow these steps
- Open ‘Control Panel’ and go to ‘Security Center’.
- Set ‘Automatic Updates’ to ‘On’.
On Mac, you can install the latest updates of macOS from the App Store.
Method #4: Reinstall Microsoft Office
If you use Microsoft Office regularly, by 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. Prepare your Microsoft Office DVD and key code to complete the reinstallation process. Follow these steps:
- Go to ‘Control Panel’ and choose ‘Add and Remove Programs’.
- Find Microsoft Office and click the ‘Change’ button. Follow steps on the screen to reinstall your program
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 with the installation file.
Method #5: Delete “~.dot” or “~.doc” Files
These are temporary files and they are indicated by the ~ (tilde) sign at the beginning. If you accumulate a lot of these temporary files, Word would become slow and sluggish. Follow these steps:
- Go to the Search box and type in ~*.dot.
- Hit enter and wait until all are displayed properly. 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’.
- Empty your Recycle Bin.
Open Microsoft Word and make sure that the problem has been resolved
Method #6: 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 #7: Open Word in Safe Mode
One of the reason for slow Word app is the corrupted documents. When you try to open corrupted document, Word will show the 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.
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.
Related: Fix slow Microsoft Outlook emails.
Method #8: 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.
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.