Fix: Unable to save a Word document [Quick guide]

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Some users claimed that they're unable to save Word documents and it seems to usually happen for Windows 2010, 2013, and 2016 versions.
  • As many people solved today's problem in this way, we recommend starting Word in Safe Mode.
  • You should try to disable a certain feature and check if the issue persists.
  • In case you're unable to save Word documents, make sure you verify if the antivirus is blocking your actions.
Fix: Unable to save a Word document [Quick guide]

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Microsoft Word is probably one of the best-known text editors on the market, but many users reported that they are unable to save Word documents on their PC.

This is a pretty annoying problem, but today we’ll show you how to fix it properly in a matter of time.

Before performing any of the recommended steps listed below, it is best to restart your computer first, as you need to refresh the app.

What kind of documents can I create with Microsoft Word?

Word is a processing software that allows you to easily create, edit, store, and print text documents.

Among these types of documents, here are some honorable mentions: letters, memoranda, forms, employee performance evaluations (such as those in Appendix A), proposals, reports, security surveys (such as those in Appendix B), general security checklists, security manuals, books, or articles.

In other words, Microsoft Word allows you to create and customize any kind of text document, no matter how long they are or their main purpose.

That’s why we strongly recommend using it anytime you need it.

What can I do if I’m unable to save a Word document?

1. Start Word in Safe Mode

  1. Make sure that Word is completely closed.
  2. Now, you have to locate the Word shortcut. To do this, hit the Windows key, type Word, then right-click on the first result and choose to Open file location.
  3. Locate Word shortcut, then press and hold the CTRL key and double-click on Word.
  4. You’ll be asked to confirm that you want to start Word in Safe Mode.

If you’re unable to save Word documents, perhaps the issue is related to one of the add-ins. Word comes with various add-ins by default, and sometimes these add-ins can cause issues to appear. T

o fix the problem, users are suggesting starting Word in Safe Mode. This is pretty simple to do, and you can do it by following these steps:

After doing that, Word should start in the Safe Mode without any add-ins enabled. Once Word starts, check if the problem is still there.

If the issue doesn’t appear in Safe Mode, the problem is most likely related to your add-ins.

You can fix that by finding and disabling the problematic add-ins. This is quite simple, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. In Word, go to File.
  2. Navigate to Options.
  3. Now, select Add-ins in the left pane, then click the Go… button next to Manage COM Add-ins.
  4. Locate the problematic add-ins and disable them. Usually the problem is related to the Send to Bluetooth Add-in, but others can cause the problem as well.

After you disable the problematic add-ins, check if the problem is still there.

2. Rename Normal.dotm template

  1. Use the following keyboard shortcut to open the Windows run dialog box: Windows + R.
  2. In the opened window, input %appdata%, then hit Enter.
  3. Navigate to the Microsoft.
  4. Now, go to Templates.
  5. In there you should see Normal.dotm file.
  6. Rename the file to OldNormal.dotm.

According to users, sometimes the problem can be caused by your template file. If the default template file is damaged or corrupted, you’ll be unable to save Word documents on your PC.

However, you can easily recreate the template file on your own. This is quite simple to do, and you can do it by following these steps:

After doing that, you’ll force Word to recreate the new default template file. Once you recreate the template file, the issue should be resolved completely.

Many users reported that this method worked for them, so we encourage you to try it out.

3. Disable autocapitalization feature

  1. Open Word.
  2. From the top-left corner of the window, select the File.
  3. Choose Options.
  4. If hidden, select More…, then choose Options.
  5. Now, in the left window pane, select Proofing, then click on the AutoCorrect Options… button from the right side of the window.
  6. Make sure that the first four options shown directly below are unchecked.
  7. Once you’re done, click on OK.

Sometimes built-in features of Microsoft Word can cause this issue to appear. The autocapitalization feature can cause this problem in Microsoft Word.

If you’re unable to save Word documents on your PC, perhaps you should try disabling the autocapitalization feature altogether.

After doing that, check if the problem is resolved. This is just a workaround, but it might work for you, so feel free to try it out.

4. Check your antivirus software

Sometimes your antivirus software can prevent you from making changes to certain files. To fix the problem, it’s advised that you check your antivirus settings and disable certain features, especially features such as Folder Access or Folder Security.

If disabling these features doesn’t solve the problem, perhaps you can try disabling your antivirus altogether. In case that doesn’t work, try removing your antivirus and check if that helps.

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If you’re on Windows 10, you should remain protected by Windows Defender even if you remove your third-party antivirus, so there’s no need to worry about your safety.

Many users reported issues with Trusteer Rapport and Endpoint Protection software, but bear in mind that other antivirus tools can cause this problem to appear.

If removing the antivirus solves the problem, perhaps this is a perfect time to consider using a different one. There are many great antivirus tools on the market.

Consequently, you should consider an antivirus that secures your PC and doesn’t block certain programs. For that, choose from the best antiviruses compatible with Windows 10/11.

Don’t forget that a lot of issues may appear because the Windows 10 Firewall may be in a sort of conflict with certain components of the antivirus you have.

In this case, you need to turn the firewall off for a while so it won’t interfere with your system and its components, including your antivirus.

Once you turned it off, see if the problem persists. If not, try to turn off your antivirus as well, and try to save your word document then.

5. Disable Controlled Folder Access

  1. Press simultaneously on the following keys to open Windows Settings: Windows + I.
  2. Navigate to Update & Security.
  3. Select Windows Security from the menu on the left, then choose to Open Windows Security from the right pane.
  4. Navigate to Virus & threat protection.
  5. Now select Virus & threat protection settings.
  6. Scroll down until you reach Controlled folder access section. Click on Manage Controlled folder access option.
  7. Make sure that Controlled folder access feature is disabled.

As we previously mentioned, your antivirus can sometimes cause issues with Word. If you’re unable to save Word documents on your PC, perhaps the problem is related to Windows Defender.

Windows Defender has a built-in folder protection feature, and if this feature is enabled, you won’t be able to save files into certain directories.

To fix this problem, it’s advised that you disable this feature altogether. This is quite simple to do, and you can do it by following the above steps.

6. Check the save location

According to users, sometimes this problem can occur due to your save location. According to users, Microsoft Word doesn’t work well with long file paths, and if you’re saving your document in a path that is between 180 and 255 characters long, you might encounter this issue.

To fix the problem, it’s advised that you try saving in a different path, closer to the root directory, and check if that solves your problem. In addition, be sure to remove any special characters from the file path.

It seems that Word has some issues with special characters such as apostrophes and similar, so be sure not to have them in the file path or the file name. After making these changes, the problem should be completely resolved.

7. Remove the Word Data registry key

  1. Open the Windows run dialog box by hitting simultaneously these keys: Windows + R.
  2. Enter regedit, then press on the Enter key.
  3. When Registry Editor opens, input this location in the search box: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office16.0\Word\Data
  4. Bear in mind that this key might be slightly different depending on the version of Office you’re using.
  5. Right-click the Data key and choose Export from the menu.
  6. Select the desired location, enter backup as the File name and click the Save button.
  7. Right-click the Data key and choose Delete from the menu.
  8. When the confirmation menu appears, click the Yes button.

According to users, if you’re unable to save Word documents on your PC, perhaps the problem is related to your registry.

Your registry can cause this issue, and to fix it, you just need to remove a single key from it. To do that, follow the above steps.

After doing that, start Word again and check if the problem is still there. If the issue is still present, run the backup.reg file that you created in Step 4 to restore the registry to its original state.

8. Recreate the document

If you’re unable to save Word documents on your PC, the issue might be related to certain formulas. Many users tend to use various formulas in Word, and sometimes these formulas can cause various issues to occur.

To fix the problem, be sure to select all text in your document and copy it to the clipboard.

Now, restart Word and open a new document. Paste the contents of the clipboard to the new document and you should be able to save it without issues.

What Word document related issues can I encounter?

Sometimes you might not be able to save a Word document. This can be a problem, and speaking of Word issues, here are some similar problems that users reported:

  • Can’t save Word document 2016, 2013, 2010 – This issue can occur in almost any version of Word. The problem can be caused by your template file, so be sure to recreate it and check if that solves the issue.
  • Microsoft Word 2016 won’t save documents – This issue can occur due to your add-ins. To fix the problem, be sure to start Word in Safe Mode and disable all add-ins.
  • Unable to save Word document read-only, permission error – This issue can occur due to your registry, and in order to fix the problem, you just have to remove certain keys and check if that solves the issue.
  • Not able to save Word document to Desktop – Sometimes you might encounter permission problems while saving Word documents. This is usually caused by your antivirus, so be sure to check its settings or disable it.

As you can see, many issues can prevent you from saving Word documents, but we hope that you managed to solve this problem after using one of our solutions.

Also, to discover more about Microsoft Word, you can verify Microsoft’s official page.

If you face any additional related questions, make sure you use the comment section below.

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