[Fixed] Microsoft Word Crashes or Quits Unexpectedly on Mac

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avatar“This is my first Mac after many years of PCs. I have adored it until I downloaded Word. The program crashes constantly, and I am losing data and hours of work time. Any help is much appreciated.”

Microsoft Word crashing on Mac is not an unusual thing. Matter-of-factly, more users of Microsoft Word/Office for Mac than expected have reported cases of such unexpected crashes/quits online. In this article, we’ll briefly look at why Microsoft Word keeps crashing on Mac and provide 6 effective solutions to fix this issue. Besides, you will learn how to recover Word documents after a crash (if the error causes loss of data) and a few tips on how to prevent Office for Mac crashing.

Word crashes on Mac

1Why Does Microsoft Word for Mac Keep Crashing?

Microsoft Word/Office on Mac is third-party software that is prone to certain failures. Here we have put together the common reasons that lead to Word crashes on Mac Mojave/Catalina:

Insufficient permissions granted to Microsoft Word for access to resources/core OS functionalities, thereby leading to crashes.

MS Word could also crash if not downloaded or installed properly.

External corruption/infection like virus attack or system failure.

If MS Office crashes only when trying to save your work, the reason might be ROM/hard drive issues.

Memory Failure (usually RAM).

26 Methods to Fix “Word for Mac Crashes/Quits Unexpectedly”

In most situations, you can fix the issue with the below methods irrespective of the Mac OS you’re working on.

1Download and Install MS Word Updates

While Microsoft updates could be downloaded automatically, if you suspect there’s an available update and that your device hasn’t installed it yet you haven’t turned on Auto Update, then you should use the steps below to check and update the software. An updated version might just be the little solution to Microsoft Word 2011/2013 crashing on Mac:

Step 1: Open MS Word > Help > Check for Updates. If you can’t find the option to check for updates, manually download the update from Microsoft’s official page.

update Word for Mac

Step 2: Check the option to “Automatically keep Microsoft App up to date”, therefore you will receive the latest updates about this app.

Step 3: Click on Update to download the latest version. Click the little arrow beside the Update button, you can review info about all available updates of Office for Mac.

2Save Word Files to a Different Location

Watch out for Microsoft Office unexpectedly crashing when you save a file in the default Documents folder. If that’s the case, Microsoft Word is probably trying to save your document to a folder that it doesn’t have write permission to, or the name of your document and path is too long. Try saving the file to a different location, and remember that Microsoft limits file path name to 255 characters.

3Wipe the AutoRecovery Folder

The reason why this might be a fix is that the files in the AutoRecovery are loaded into your device’s memory each time Word application is started — which might, consequently, lead to memory failure and subsequently, unexpected crashes. Navigate to the folder: user\Documents\Microsoft User Data\Office {year} / AutoRecovery. If there are too many files in the folder, move them to another location and see if the issue persists. Please use the steps below:

  • 1. Click New Folder from File, a new folder will be created on the desktop.

  • 2. Click Home on the Go menu > Open Library. On macOS X Lion, display this folder by holding down the OPTION key while you click the Go menu.

  • 3. From Application Support, open Microsoft > Office {YEAR} AutoRecovery.

  • 4. Click Select All from the Edit menu and drag all files into the “New Folder” on your desktop, the AutoRecovery folder is empty now.

  • Open your Word on Mac and try saving a file. If successful, review the contents of “New Folder” and select only a handful of documents — probably the ones you still need and move back into your AutoRecovery folder.

4Reset Word Preferences

Word preferences are changes to toolbars, custom dictionaries, keyboard shortcuts, among other customizations that are not originally default. This might be a fix for Office Mac crash if it’s the wrong preferences that lead to this error. In this case, you should try using the steps below to reset Microsoft Word preferences.

Step 1: Click Home from the Go menu.

Step 2: Next, open Library &gt Preferences

Step 3: Find the file named com.microsoft.Word.plist, move it to Desktop. If this file is not found from the list, it indicates that MS Word is running on default preferences.

Step 4: Restart MS Word application. If the above steps seem to solve the unexpected crashes, you might move com.microsoft.Word.plist to Trash. If the problem persists, quit MS Word and move the file back into its original folder and try the next method.

5Create Another User Account on Mac

It’s possible that user-specific info got corrupted. Create another account and try again.

On your device, click on the Apple menu and navigate to System Preferences and select Users & Groups.

To unlock it, you click the lock icon and enter the administrator name and password.

Add a new account to the list of existing users.

6Test Opening Word in Safe Mode

Software running in the background might lead to unexpected crash. If so, running Word in safe mode (booting your device to safe mode) could fix the MS Word crashes.

First restart your device, make sure to hold the Shift key as your device starts up.

Release the key as soon as the login window opens up, simply log in.

Look to the upper-right corner of your window, you’ll find “Safe Boot”.

3How to Recover Documents from Crashed Word on Mac

Did the frequent MS Word crash on Mac lead to data loss? If that’s the case, you should consider using a good data recovery software. Many data recovery software are available online; however, we’ll recommend iMyFone AnyRecover due to its simplicity and power. AnyRecover found its way to the top of user’s favourites with good reason.

100% safe to use, AnyRecover for Mac is a complete do-it-yourself data recovery software with simple steps involved. It also allows preview before recovery, so you can recover only the files you want.

AnyRecover product

1,000,000 + Downloads

Key Features of AnyRecover for Mac       

Up to 1000+ file types supported, including documents, videos, images, zip archive, sound files and more.

AnyRecover adopts unique deep-scan algorithms, thus ensuring a high recovery rate.

Perform data recovery from various devices such as internal hard drive, SD card, USB flash drives, CF card, etc.

Fully compatible with Mac OS X 10.9 - Mac OS X 10.15, and support APFS, HFS+, HFS X, NTFS, exFAT, FAT16 and FAT32 file system.

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Recover Lost Files from Word Crashing on Mac with AnyRecover

Step 1: Launch the software, select the location where you have lost the Word documents, then click on the Start button.

select a location with AnyRecover

Step 2: AnyRecover will perform a deep scan and search for lost files, then organize the files it has found in different categories.

scan for lost files with AnyRecover

Step 3: Click on any file to preview it, and then select Recover. Or you can choose multiple files and recover them all at once.

recover files from crashed Word on Mac with AnyRecover

4Tips to Prevent Word Keeps Crashing on Mac

Prevention is better than cure, here are some tips on preventing Word for Mac crashing unexpectedly:

Always have a good firewall running to protect your computer against malicious virus.

Frequently update apps when available because bugs are usually fixed in updates.

Install Ms Word on Mac only from the official Microsoft websites, don’t use the crack version.

Minimize abrupt closing/shutting down of your device while working with Word to prevent too many files in AutoRecovery folder.


More users than expected have complained about MS Word crashing on Mac. This post tries to contain every possible fix for the issue. However, in most cases, Word documents get lost after the accident. Hence AnyRecover for Mac is necessary, all deleted/lost files can be easily restored on your device with it.

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By  James Crawford , to Document Recovery

Posted on Jul 14, 2020  ( Updated: Jul 15, 2020 )

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