Fix: Microsoft Office not opening in Windows 10, 8.1

By: John Nedelcu
6 minute read

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Windows 10 and 8 users have reported an issue regarding Microsoft Office versions 2010 and 2013, where products like Word, Excel or PowerPoint will not open and return no error or prompt.

In the reports submitted by Windows 8 users, Microsoft’s Office suite worked fine for a period of time, and for no apparent reason, the shortcuts of the different Office components stopped launching the program. Microsoft Office didn’t return any error or give any prompt when this issue presented itself. But, by following the steps from below, let’s hope that you will be able to solve your problems.

Here are some more examples of this problem:

  • Microsoft Word 2016 not opening
  • Microsoft Word not opening files
  • Microsoft Word2007 not opening
  • Microsoft Word not opening Windows 10
  • Microsoft Word 2013 not opening
  • Microsoft Word 2010 not opening

As you can see, this problem mainly occurs with Microsoft Word. Of course, that’s because Word is the most used Microsoft Office application, but we’re going to show you solutions that apply to all Office programs, nevertheless.

How to fix Microsoft Office not opening in Windows 10, 8.1

Fix Microsoft Office problems in Windows 10, 8.1

Table of contents:

  1. Open Task Manager
  2. Go to the source
  3. Use Safe Mode
  4. Repair or Reinstall
  5. Install Windows updates
  6. Uninstall Windows updates
  7. Disable Add-Ins
  8. Make sure Office is activated
  9. Remove Word Registry Keys
  10. Remove old printer drivers

Usually, when a program fails to start, it returns an error message letting the user know that something is happening. In this case however, users have not received any information regarding why Microsoft Office did not open. There are a few troubleshooting steps you can take in order to see where the issue is.

Solution 1 – Open Task Manager

fix-office-not-opening-windows-8 (2)

If you’ve tried to open Microsoft Office Word (for example) from your Windows 8 computer or laptop and it didn’t do anything, try opening the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc or right click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager) and take a look either through the opened apps or under the “Details” tab, where you will find it as WINWORD.EXE. If you see the process there, this means that Windows 8 thinks the program is opened and will not do anything about it. In this case, try to create a new document and right click it and select “Edit”. In some cases, this method has proven useful and might help you in a tight spot.

Solution 2 – Go to the source

If your Microsoft Office shortcuts don’t do anything when you try to launch them, then there might be an issue of communication between the shortcut itself and the actual executable it should open. Depending on why version of office you’ve installed, you should find them in one of these locations:

  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14

Try launching the tool you need from here, if it works, then your shortcut was to blame. Create a new shortcut for the Office components you use and replace the faulty ones.

Solution 3 – Use Safe Mode

Starting an Office product in Safe Mode is pretty simple, as it was in Windows 7. All you need to do is open the “Run” utility (Windows key + R) and type in the name of the product you want to followed by “/safe“. For example, if you wish to open Microsoft Excel in Safe Mode, type in “excel /safe“. More information on opening Office products in Safe Mode can be found here.

Solution 4 – Repair or Reinstall

 

fix-office-not-opening-windows-8 (1)

Lastly, if you’re left with no other solution, try using the Repair feature. You can access this by opening Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> locate Microsoft Office and select “Change” from the top menu. In the window that appears, choose Repair and follow the wizard. If this does not fix your issue, then you should uninstall Microsoft Office and perform a fresh install. More information on Microsoft Office uninstall and reinstall can be found here.

Solution 5 – Install Windows updates

Microsoft regularly releases updates for Microsoft Office (and other in-house features and programs) through Windows Update. So, if your current version of Office is disrupted in some way, there’s a chance a new update will fix it.

And it doesn’t necessairly need to be a Office update. Maybe some other feaute installed on your computer is interfering with Office, preventing you from accessing it. In both cases, installing fresh updates can resolve the problem.

To install the latest updates on your computer, simply go to Settings > Update & Security, and check for updates.

Solution 6 – Uninstall Windows updates

Now, let’s do a total oposite of the previous solution. If the problem started to manifest after you’ve updated your Office suite, then you can easily uninstall the latest updates and see if this fixes your problem. To uninstall an update, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Now, go to Updates & Security > Windows Update
  3. Go to Update history > Uninstall updates
  4. Now, find the latest Office update installed on your computer (you can sort updates by date), right-click it, and go to Uninstall
  5. Restart your computer

Solution 7 – Disable Add-Ins

Sometimes, damaged add-ins may block your Word/Excel/PowerPoint from opening any document. Since, you can’t know for sure which add-in causes the problem, I recommend uninstalling all of them, and then installing one by one again. That way, you’ll be able to find out which one causes problems. The task is time-consuming, but you don’t really have too many choices.

Here’s how to add-ins in a troublesome Office app:

  1. Open the troublesome app
  2. Go to File > Options
  3. Click Add-Ins, and then disable all add-ins
  4. Restart the program, and run it without any add-ins enabled

Solution 8 – Make sure Office is activated

If your copy of Microsoft Office Suite is not genuine, you won’t be able to open any Office app. Technically, you’ll be able to open any program normally, but you can’t do anything with it. You can’t create new documents, or open and edit existing documnets. It’s just an empty shell.

So, make sure your Office is properly activated, and try to run in once again.

Solution 9 – Remove Word Registry Keys

If you specifically have problems with opening Word, we’ll try to delete some registry keys. Hopefully, the program will work after that. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Search, type regedit, and open Registry Editor.
  2. Navigate to one of the following paths:
    • Word 2002: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft \Office\10.0\Word\Data
    • Word 2003: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Office\11.0\Word\Data
    • Word 2007: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Office\12.0\Word\Data
    • Word 2010: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Data
    • Word 2013: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word
    • Word 2016: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word
  3. Now, just click on the Data key, and delete it
  4. Restart your computer.

Solution 10 – Remove old printer drivers

And finally, some users have also reported that having old printer drivers installed on your Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 PC prevents Microsoft Office from working. If that’s the case, I recommend checking this article for detailed instructions on how to delete your old printer drivers.

That’s about it. We certainly hope at least one of these solutions helped you resolve the problem with Microsoft Office. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, just let us know in the comments down below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2014 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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