Diagnose Your Problem

Before even glancing at the table below, take note of the following three points:

Common Problems

The following table focuses on common problems (and a few not-so-common ones). If you find your problem in the first column, click on any of the links listed  to learn what procedures to follow and, of course, start with those “most likely to help.”

Be aware that this table is not intended to be all-inclusive. If you do not find your specific problem listed, it is still possible that general troubleshooting measures will help. In that case, you might try the Diagnostic Tricks as a starting point.

Also, if a particular procedure is not listed in connection with the problem that brought you here, that doesn’t mean it’s of no use. Work through the procedures listed in the Troubleshooting Index.


Most Likely to Help

Other Possibilities

Unexpected quit on startup

Repair disk permissions

Check for add-in conflict

Troubleshoot fonts


Test preferences/settings

Test Normal template

Unexpected quit while in use

Repair disk permissions


Corrupt document

Document is/was part of a Master Document

Test Normal template

Test preferences/settings

Check for add-in conflict

Unexpected quit on quitting

Reboot your computer

Repair disk permissions

Test preferences/settings

Test Normal template

Crash on Save with MacIntel & Word 2004 (only)

Crash with MacIntel & Word 2004


Formatting changes while typing:

1) First words capitalize.

2) URLs become active links.

3) Double hyphen becomes dash.

4) Numbers carry over to next paragraph.

5) Two underlines become a long line.

Check your AutoCorrect and “AutoFormat as you type” settings on Tools menu> AutoCorrect

More on taming AutoCorrect here.


Document weirdness:

1) Mixed up page numbering

2) Infinite repagination

3) Wrong layout or formatting

4) Unreadable characters

5) Crash when viewing particular file

Corrupt document

Test Normal template

Numbered lists don’t work right

Word’s numbering explained

Outline & heading numbering


Corrupt Font Errors

Corrupt Font Errors in Word 2004/OS X 10.4.x (Tiger)


Fonts Keep Loading

Why your Office 2004 fonts want to keep loading in OS X


Fonts don’t look right (Word X)

Font display/quartz text smoothing


Font displayed is different from font selected

Test preferences/settings


Red X replaces graphics

Check for add-in conflict


Spell-checking, Language & Dictionary Issues:

1) Spell-check misses words

2) Spell-check in different language

3) Spelling & grammar prefs grayed out

4) Spelling & grammar dialog won't refresh

5) Spanish custom dictionary won't work

6) Exclude dictionary won't work

Spell-Checking, Language, and Dictionary Problems in MacWord


Can’t save or re-save to server

Can’t save to server


“Disk is Full” error

“Disk Full” error workaround


Won't print

Printing problems

Can't change default paper size to Letter Change print default workaround  

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Diagnostic Tricks

These approaches are not fixes, they merely help identify the cause of a problem.

  1. Log out of your user account, then hold down shift while logging back in. If the problem disappears, it is probably due to some conflict with the login items/utilities in your user account, since shift-login prevents those from loading. Reload them one by one until the problem re-appears. The last one loaded probably caused it. [This is a general OS X troubleshooting tip that may apply to any program, not just Word.]
  2. Create a new user account in OS X and test in that one. If the problem disappears, then the installation is fine but some user-specific file has corrupted. Test for Damaged Preferences, a corrupt Normal template, or Add-ins.