How to Fix Safe Mode in MS Word

If you can’t open MS Word, or if it does open but then closes automatically, it usually means the template is corrupt or one of the add-ins is causing a conflict. Other times, Word will open but says it’s in Safe mode. Obviously, this is fine to see the document but to get any work done we need the standard product.

Video – How to Fix Safe Mode in MS Word

If Word won’t open for you, follow these steps to get past Safe Mode and return to regular MS Word.

As mentioned, this issue is often related to an add-in or template. Let’s look at how to fix this.

#1 Regenerate the Template

MS Word uses the Normal_old.dotm template to create new documents. This is a template file, not an actual document. Note that the file extension is .dotm. In older versions of Word, this is .dot.   

If there’s an issue with your Normal.dotm template, it can cause problems.

Try the following:

  1. Close MS Word.
  2. In Windows, press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard. A small Run box will appear in the lower left corner of the screen.
  3. Type in: %appdata%MicrosoftTemplates. Press Enter.
  4. Click Yes to allow changes to your PC.
  5. Rename dotm file to something else. For example, Normal_previous.dotm.
  6. Restart Word. Behind the scenes Word creates a new ‘clean’ Normal.dotm file. Most of the time Word will now open fine.

Did this work? If not, let’s turn off the add-ins.

#2 Add-Ins

Add-ins are like plugins. Many of them are related to other Word products or tools you may have installed to help with your writing, such as grammar checkers. Sometimes, after updates, they can cause conflicts with Word, so you need to turn them off.

  • Go to File > Options > Add-Ins.
  • Under Manage, select COM Add-ins and click Go.
  • Uncheck all add-ins and click OK.
  • Restart Word.

#3 Repair Office

Did this work? If not, let’s repair Word.

  1. Go to Control Panel > Programs and Features.
  2. Find Microsoft Office in the list of installed applications.
  3. Click on it and choose Change.
  4. Select Online Repair and follow the steps.

#4 Registry

BE CAREFUL DOING THIS STEP. Back the registry before making changes.

If all else fails, you can try to fix the registry. However, be super careful here. If possible, ask an IT friend to help you with this or take your PC to a tech support shop.  

  1. Press Windows + R.
  2. Type regedit, and press Enter.
  3. Navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice16.0Word.
  4. Delete the Data
  5. Restart Word.

Did that work?

If you have a different version of MS Word the settings might be slightly different. If not, send me a screenshot.

Let me know if you have any other issues with MS Word and we’ll spin up a video on how to fix it.

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