Office Preferences

If one or more Office for Mac applications fails to open or frequently quits the issue may be due to a corrupt preference file. Deleting a corrupt preference file won’t negatively impact Office. It recreates them as necessary. Rarely does removing and installing Office correct any problems.

Preference files store just that—your preferences. They include the last window you had open, its size, your preferred fonts, etc. You may need to configure a few preferences after deleting some of these files. You won’t lose any data.

Preferences

Start with preference files:

  1. Click on a blank area of the desktop so that you are in the Finder.
  2. Select Go menu > Go to Folder.
  3. Enter “~/Library/Preferences” and click the Go button.
  4. In the Search field in the upper right corner of the new window enter “microsoft”.
  5. Select all the found files and drag them to the Trash. Do not empty the Trash.
  6. Test launching your applications.
  7. If your applications launch then you’ve found the file(s) causing the problem. Quit the applications.
  8. Open the Trash and select half the preference files. Make note of the file names or label them. Press Command-D to put them back in place. If asked to replace any files then do so.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 until you find one or more files that causes the problem.
  10. If the applications do not launch then put back your preferences. Open the Trash and select all the preference files. Press Command-D to put them back in place. If asked to replace any files then do so.

Application Support

If removing the above preference files doesn’t work then try this:

  1. Click on a blank area of the desktop so that you are in the Finder.
  2. Select Go menu > Go to Folder.
  3. Enter “~/Library/Application Support” and click the Go button. (Office 2008 users should enter “~/Library/Preferences”.)
  4. Open the Microsoft folder.
  5. Open the Office folder and drag its contents to the Trash. Do not empty the Trash.
  6. Test launching your applications.
  7. If your applications launch then you’ve found the file(s) causing the problem. Quit the applications.
  8. Open the Trash and select half the items. Make note of the file and folder names or label them. Press Command-D to put them back in place. If asked to replace any files then do so.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 until you find one or more files that causes the problem.
  10. If the applications do not launch then put the items back into the Microsoft folder. Open the Trash and select the items. Press Command-D to put them back in place. If asked to replace any files then do so.

Microsoft User Data

Finally, do this if your applications won’t launch:

  1. Click on a blank area of the desktop so that you are in the Finder.
  2. Select Go menu > Documents.
  3. Select the Microsoft User Data folder and drag it to the Trash. Do not empty the Trash.
  4. Test launching your applications.
  5. If your applications launch then you’ve found the file(s) causing the problem. Quit the applications.
  6. Open the Trash and select the Microsoft User Data folder. Press Command-D to put it back in place. If asked to replace any files then do so. Begin troubleshooting your user database.
  7. If the applications do not launch then restore the Microsoft User Data folder. Open the Trash and select the Microsoft User Data folder. Press Command-D to put it back in place. If asked to replace any files then do so.

Further troubleshooting

Those are all the preferences Microsoft Office creates. If removing none of them resolves your issue then something in your system is interfering with Office.

  1. Clear your caches by restarting your computer in Safe Mode. Restart your computer with the Shift key down until you see a progress bar at the bottom of the startup window. Wait for your desktop to appear.
  2. Test launching your Office applications.
  3. If they work then restart your computer normally. Test launching your Office applications again. If they fail to launch then you have a third party application causing problems with Office and you’ll need to disable those one-by-one until you find it.
  4. If the Office applications don’t launch while in Safe Mode then restart your computer normally.
  5. Remove Office and install it again.
  6. If Office still doesn’t work after a fresh install then your operating system software may be corrupt. Consider reinstalling OS X. Seek the advice of a consultant if necessary.
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