How to Sort Runtime Error in MS Word?

Microsoft Word is an authoring tool, which is just a fancy word for a text editor. It allows you to write, format and edit any text information without much technical know-how about its functioning. This can be considered as the biggest reason for its popularity.

What is a Runtime Error?

A runtime error prevents a program from working as designed. The effects can be anything from losing data in a file, appearance of errors, corruption of the file itself or non-functioning feature. It may be caused due to software or a hardware problem. Runtime errors do not cause the program or Windows to stop functioning and this makes them different from stop errors.

Runtime error causes include – but obviously are not limited to:

  • Ignored concern – Incompatible applications
  • Dearth of memory – a program is getting lesser memory than is required
  • Conflictions – third-party applications interferences
  • And of course — malware

In Microsoft Word this error is attributed to COM add-ins: nifty little extensions that enhance Word’s functionality; apart from the reasons mentioned above.

How do you fix it?

Word, when it launches, refers to a global template for font settings and paragraph style. You must have noticed that default font Calibri at font size 11 and the new line (enter) usually has more spacing than a sentence wrapping to next line. All of this is implemented by a global template known as

The first step is to start Word by disabling the add-ins and deleting the global templates. For this we start Word from a command line using a switch ‘a’.

  1. Press the windows key and ‘r’ together to bring up a Windows run box. Here type winword /a. /a switch starts Word and prevents add-ins and global templates (including from being loaded automatically.

    Once you have Microsoft Word started, the next phase is to identify whether the problem is being caused by third-party add-ins or global templates. To begin this process:

    • If you are using Office 2003 and earlier, click “Tools” menu and choose “Templates and Add-Ins”.
    • If on later Office versions, access Word options from Office Button > Word Options. Once here, click on Add-Ins to proceed with disabling of Add-Ins.
    • Locate the Add-In, from the path mentioned beside it.
    • Close word and go to the location from the above step, to delete the add-in.

    P.S.: My personal experience says that we can survive and flourish without an add-in in Microsoft Word and hence it can be safely deleted. If you are still squeamish about deleting an Add-In, simply move the add-ins — one at a time — from the located folder.

  2. Start Microsoft Word as you normally would, to verify if the problem has been resolved.

    Global template files, which define the formatting when a new file is opened, have an equal share in throwing the runtime error. If that is the case, below two methods can help you fix it. If you are not sure of the ‘case’, below methods can be harmlessly followed.

    1. Rename the file
      • Open Microsoft Word and and press Ctrl+O to access the File Open window.
      • Click Templates, take a note of the location and exit word completely.
      • Go to the noted location and rename the file to something like Normal.old. Locate the NORMAL.DOT file and rename the file extension (make sure that the extension and not the filename is modified).
    2. The second option is to delete the file NORMAL.DOT completely.
      • The absence of a global template file will force Microsoft Word to simply create another.
    3. P.S.: Microsoft Word should be closed before attempting to delete any add-in, or global template. Any other program that is dependent on Microsoft Word like Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook, should be closed out as well.

If the above methods do not fix the error, the last resort is to uninstall Microsoft Word from Control Panel > Programs and Features.

Restart the computer for these changes to take effect and then reinstall Microsoft Word upon a successful restart.

The above methods are more like trial and error methods for resolving a problem. For better, quick, more accurate results follow this Word Repair tool for repairing corrupt Word .doc and .docx files automatically without any data, time and efforts loss anyhow. It can repair highly corrupted Microsoft Word files from all versions in no time delivering as it is data content quality.

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About Barrett Clay

Barrett is passionate about technology and an admirer who believes in offering instant computing solutions to everyone. He solves personal and business technical issues related to IT products, applications, IT environments, platforms, technologies, etc., through well-documented blogs and articles, informative, authentic and descriptive content. He participates in technical content development, content publishing and marketing.


  1. Because of this runtime error I was not able to secure my data file, that’s why they got corrupted easily. Thanks to this blog which I find on the internet while surfing on the google, I am able to access my MS Word data file without any runtime error. Thank you so much.

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