Word 2011 slow after upgrading to Lion

Some users are reporting Office for Mac Word 2011 is slow to open after upgrading to Lion. The following tips have help users.

Delete duplicate fonts installed by Office 2011:  The following fonts in the Library/Fonts/Microsoft folder are duplicated in Library/Fonts with a newer version of the same font. Remove these fonts in Library/Fonts/Microsoft folder. Font Book isn’t smart, it will delete the duplicate you haven’t been using even if it is an older version)

  • Andale Mono
  • Arial Black
  • Arial Narrow
  • Arial Rounded Bold
  • Comic Sans MS
  • Georgia
  • Impact
  • Tahoma
  • Trebuchet MS

After removing the duplicate fonts, you need to run Font Book to check your remaining fonts then delete your font caches. I suggest using Font Nuke. See Font Management for additional help.

Remove these files:

1) Quit all Microsoft applications first.

2) Track down all instances of pre-2011 Normal template on your computer, and drag them to your desktop.

By default, your Normal Template is located here: (~/ is shorthand for your user account in OS X. See notes below on how to enable ~/Library)

Word 2008: ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/Normal.dotm

Word 2004: ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Normal

Word X, Word 2001, Word 98: /Applications/Microsoft Office ***/Templates/Normal (where *** stands for your version of Office)

However, your Normal template may have been moved. To make sure of the location on your computer, use the Word>Preferences>File Locations> dialog to confirm its location. Select User Templates and click on Modify to see the filepath.

It is possible to have more than one template named Normal on your computer, but Word only recognizes and uses the one that is in the User Templates location, or in the default location if Word does not find Normal in the User Templates location.

More info on the Normal Template

3) Drag the entire Microsoft folder to Desktop from User/Library/Preferences/ (Your custom dictionary file is in this folder. You can drag it back if desired.) Don’t get confused…this is in your User’s Library/Preferences folder.

4) Re-start Word 2011 or better yet, restart your compouter.

The first time you launch Word it will be slow as it builds cache files. You should see increased performance after the first launch.

If you still have problems, testing in a new User will quickly tell you if the problem is system wide or if it’s your User’s folder that contains the problem.


Go to System Preferences –> Create a New User in Accounts. Switch to the New User by logging out/in under the Apple in the Menu bar or use Fast User Switching.

Open Word. The first time will be slow as it builds cache files.

  • If you see an improvement in the new User, the problem resides in your User’s folder.
  • If you don’t see an improvement the problem is with your base file and/or your hardware.

See Troubleshoot Office and Problems from Insufficient RAM and Free Hard Disk Space for additional help.


  • The User’s Library folder is hidden in Lion, to enable:
    Option 1) Hold down the Option key when selecting Go in the Menu bar while in the Finder. This will show the ~/Library folder.
    Option 2) Open the Terminal and type:  chflags nohidden /Users/[username]/Library/
  • For specialized help with Word ask on Answers.
  • Be sure you are updated to the latest version of Microsoft Office for Mac. Under Help in the Menu bar select “Check for Updates”.
    How To Install, Reinstall and Update Office 2011
  • You no longer need Open XML Converter. You can safely delete this app in Applications.
  • Need help upgrading .doc files? See Convert old Word (.doc) files to standard (.docx) files
  • Additional articles on Word 2011
  • Re-index Spotlight cache files after moving to Lion for improved search. Depending on your Mac and the contents of its hard disk, re-indexing may take several hours.
    From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  • Select Spotlight.
  • Click the Privacy tab.
  • Drag your hard drive to the list.
  • Remove the drive you just added.
  • Spotlight will re-index the contents of the item you initially dragged to the list.
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1 comment to Word 2011 slow after upgrading to Lion

  • This article solved my problem with slow performance on PowerPoint and Word. Specifically:
    * I removed only the specific fonts noted in this article
    * I removed the old Normal.dotm files
    * I removed the Microsoft files in the User/Library/Preferences/ folder
    * I restarted my Mac

    Now the Document Gallery appears instantly and the documents open quickly from the File/Open menu.

    Thank you for collecting these items. As an instructor/presenter, the performance of these apps is critical in real time.