Seven Tips for Making Microsoft Word run faster


Last updated: September 2018

Applicable for: Word 2019, 2016, 2013 and 2010; Windows 7 and 10 operating systems

Here’s a question we got some time ago:

Lately, i am noticing some slow down in my Microsoft Word 2016 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?

Microsoft Word’s performance is reasonable fast but it can definitely slow down if it’s bloated with add-on software or running on dated or inadequate hardware. In this article, you’ll find some quick DIY tips to make Word work faster than ever before.



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 your 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’.

Add-Ins

  1. Now, Choose ‘Go’ after selecting Manage ‘COM Add-Ins’ at the bottom of the same window.

Add-Ins2


  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).

Add-Ins3

  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.

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.

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.

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

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