Slow Microsoft Word performance? Seven Tips for making Word 365 / 2019 / 2016 run much faster

Last updated: October 2019

Applicable for: Office 365 subscriptions; Word 2019, 2016, 2013 and 2010. Running on Windows 7, 8  and 10 operating systems.

Here’s a question we got from a reader:

Lately, i am noticing some slow down in my Microsoft Word software performance, this is visible mainly when starting up the software. My feeling is that some additional packages i have installed are causing this. Any ideas from your side?

Why Microsoft Word is slow?

Microsoft Word’s performance is in general reasonable fast but it can definitely deteriorate and significantly slow down if bloated with add-on software or running on dated or inadequate hardware. Same can happen in other MS Office apps, such as Excel and Outlook, which might fell a bit clunky.

Speed up Microsoft Word if it’s slow

In this article, you’ll find some quick DIY tips to clean up your Microsoft Word install which based on feedback of many of our readers, will result in faster performance. There are cases in which a hardware upgrade might be needed, but there is a lot you can do in the software configuration side, before considering buying new hardware.

Disable Word Add-ins

Microsoft Office software has the capability to host Add-In components. These small software programs extend the capabilities of the standard Office package to improve user productivity. In a way, you can think of those little programs as browser Add-ons, but just for Microsoft Office. The caveat is that sometimes, these Add-Ins slow Word, specially at startup, as the programs are loaded when Word is started causing a noticeable delay. This is probably the most common performance hiccup of Microsoft Office program, so it’s applicable also to Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Visio.

If you notice that Word is slow as startup, you might want to look into your installed Add-Ins and temporarily disable the ones you don’t currently need. Here’s how to accomplish that:

  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Hit the ‘File’ button at the top right and choose ‘Options’ at the left side of the screen.
  3. Now, click on Add-Ins at the left side of the Windows called ‘Word Options’.
  1. Now, Choose ‘Go’ after selecting Manage ‘COM Add-Ins’ at the bottom of the same window.
  1. Uncheck the Add-Ins you don’t need in order to disable them (In my case, I’ve got just one COM Add-In to disable).
  1.  Hit OK.
  2. Close Microsoft Word.
  3. Startup Word and see if you notice fast startup performance. If so, you might want to remove the disabled Add-Ins altogether, this will be covered in the next section.

Remove unwanted Add-ins

Similar to the previous tip, however, instead of un-checking the COM Add-Ins entries to disable proceed as following:

  1. Go ahead and highlight the entry to uninstall
  2. Hit Remove.
  3. Repeat for all required entries.
  4. Once done hit OK.

Always work on local documents

Retrieving document and saving changes into files stored in remote locations (OneDrive, SharePoint libraries,  shared folders etc’) is typically time consuming and depends on your network performance. Therefore, If possible, ensure that the documents you are working are stored in your local drive. Once done, sync your changes into the network location or save a new version of your document so you can share with others contributors or reviewers.

Note: If possible, also ensure that the local drive storing your documents is uncompressed.

Disable Auto Correct options

By default, Word checks your spelling and automatically correct any mistakes found in your text. Very useful feature, but has a performance penalty.

To skip auto corrections, proceed as following:

  1. Navigate to Options, then navigate to the Proofing tab.
  2. Navigate to the lower section of the tab, and uncheck “Check spelling as you type” and “Mark grammar as you type”.
  3. Hit OK.

Note: you’ll need to check your spelling and Grammar manually (Review tab>> Spelling and Grammar).

Disable Screen Tips

Screen Tips help you receive additional information and guidance when you hover on hyperlinks, comments and so forth. This is useful, but might impact Word performance.

To cancel ScreenTips display in your Word document, proceed as following:

  1. Navigate to Options, then in the General tab, navigate to the UI options section.
  2. Then, under ScreenTips style, select Don’t Show ScreenTips.
  3. Hit OK.

Clean Temporary/Unwanted Files

Quite often, cleaning up temporary/unwanted files can significantly improve your personal computer performance. Freeware solutions such as CCleaner and TreeSize Free can be specially helpful. Don’t forget to clean both your Temporary files and the Registry. You  could also remove unwanted software that are installed in your system using the Add/Remove Programs panel.

Consider an hardware upgrade

Couple of readers contacted me reporting slow performance issues when working with large files which included pictures, which caused Word to get stuck. One of the solutions would be to upgrade your computer RAM memory to 8GB, specially if you run multiple programs in parallel or do some intensive work on image and video editing software.

Hopefully, these steps should make Word much faster. If you don’t notice anything different, leave us a comment below.

3 thoughts on “Slow Microsoft Word performance? Seven Tips for making Word 365 / 2019 / 2016 run much faster”

  1. The only Add In I had was Cisco Web Ex. I disabled it and now Word starts almost instantly. It was taking 10-15 seconds to load.

  2. I have a large capacity desktop with 1T SSD, 64 Gigs RAM, and Intel i7-8700, 64-bit CPU. Fast? Yes! But even when working locally on large documents (1000+ pages) it may take minutes to save a file. I know that repaination is a big problem. Is there any way to speed up this process?

  3. I have a newly installed 7 core gaming laptop with a brand new installation of Windows 10 installed on a reformatted HD. Word (and xcel) is/are very slow when typing. In Word I can type 8-10 letters before the first letter is displayed on the screen. There was a suggestion that my file might be corrupted. I opened a brand new clean file – same thing. I read that there might be a problem with the install. I did the office repair and it deleted all office files. I did a clean reinstall – still slow. I have used Word for years and previously on this laptop as well with no prior issues. At the moment if is hardly usable. Is it possible to install an earlier version of office because this one really has problems? Typing this message the speed is fine and is also fine in everything except Office.

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