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What is Causing Microsoft Word to Slow Down?

As proposal writers we spend a lot of time in Microsoft Word.  So If Word becomes slow or unstable it multiplies the time and effort, not to mention frustration, it takes to complete our work.  Sometimes the slowdown is outside of our control – such as the unexpected result of a Microsoft Office Update.  But there are also a number of factors we can control to help speedup Microsoft Word and improve its performance.

Word performance can be affected by both factors outside of Word as well as settings within Word.  If Word is ended abruptly it can leave behind invisible ‘temp’ files that can continue to cause problems.  Temp files can also be created by ‘Windows Defender’ and other security applications.  Sometimes a Word document or template or Word’s own Normal template can become corrupted.  Add-ins and start-up templates can also sometimes conflict with Word’s performance.

The following is a list of Windows System troubleshooting steps to consider:

  • Remove Temp files by running ‘Disc Clean-up
  • Delete Normal Template  (Note: before Deleting Normal.dotx, consider renaming and archiving it AND/OR contacting your IT Department. If you or your organization has a custom Normal.dot, request it be reinstalled.)
  • Reboot
  • Set Ribbon Folder as ‘Trusted Location’ in Word Options
  • Set Ribbon Folder as ‘Excluded’ in Windows Defender
  • Check for and disable other Word add-ins
  • Check for and remove Templates from Word Start-up Folder

 

Since settings in Word can also diminish performance, it is worth reviewing your current settings and content elements. Many settings are found in File > Options while others are specific to content elements such as tables, images and objects.

The following is a list of Microsoft Word troubleshooting steps to consider:

  • Save Word in the version that you are using (if you see compatibility mode in title, do a save as and click the ‘advanced options’ button to bring it to current version.)
  • Remove or limit timing of background saves
  • Disable auto-repagination
  • Compress images
  • Make images ‘inline’ instead of ‘floating’
  • Use styles instead of direct formatting
  • Unlink objects if not needed (sometimes pasting from Excel or other apps creates an unintentional link)
  • Turn off auto-update of links
  • Set Table properties ‘Text-wrapping’ to ‘None’ (text-wrapping makes tables act more like shapes, but this can cause instability when inserting rows or breaking across pages)
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