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Stopping Word from Accessing the Internet

Verle noted that every time he starts Word it tries to access the Internet. So far the only way he has been able to stop it is by using his firewall program, but he can't help but think there must be another way.

Generally speaking, Word will access the Internet only when you use Help or when you click a link. If a link is on a network and you have Word configured to update automatic links when a document is opened, then Word may also try to access the Internet. However, just starting Word with a blank document should not cause it to access the Internet.

That being said, there are a few things you can check out. First, look in your Word Startup folder to see if there are any templates located there that might contain AutoExec macros. Since anything in the Startup folder is automatically loaded when you start Word, those AutoExec macros get run. If those macros access the Internet, then it will always seem like Word is accessing the Internet when you start the program.

You can also start Word and check to see which templates and add-ins are loading when Word starts. If those have any AutoExec macros that access the Internet, then you'll run into the same problem.

If all else fails, start Word from the command prompt using the following command:

winword.exe /a

This starts Word without any add-ins and without the default template. It should not access the Internet. If the Internet is accessed when you start Word normally and it doesn't access the Internet when you use the command-line approach, then you know that you've missed something in a template or add-in.

If your default template includes some "boilerplate" unique to your company, that boilerplate could be causing the Internet to be accessed, or at least your network to be accessed. This is particularly true if the template includes links to network documents or if it contains graphics (such as a logo) that must be refreshed from a remote location.

Another thing you might check is whether your copy of Word is trying to update the workspace based on shared settings over your network. If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the General tab is displayed.
  3. Click the Service Options button. Word displays the Service Options dialog box.
  4. Make sure that Customer Feedback Options is selected at the left of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Service Options dialog box.

  6. Choose the No, I Don't Wish to Participate radio button.
  7. At the left of the dialog box, click Online Content.
  8. Clear the Show Content and Links from Microsoft Office Online check box.
  9. At the left of the dialog box, click Shared Workspace.
  10. At the right of the dialog box, search for any radio button that is labeled, in part, "Never." Choose these.
  11. Click OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5889) applies to Microsoft Word 2002 and 2003.

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Comments for this tip:

Spreadsheetninja    02 Jun 2015, 11:34
Noticed excel 2010 has these checkboxes marked on by default :x
chris     29 Apr 2015, 20:45
Hey,

I can't get word to stop prompting me for internet access everytime I start it up. I migrated computers a few months ago and this has been happening ever since. I had fixed it on my other computer.

I deleted all .plist files as another blog suggested. I don't have any exec files in the start-up folder.

I tried the winword.exe /a. Is that done in Terminal? It tells me no command found. Where can I type this?

Obviously I've tried every setting with the firewall and it does nothing. This prompt every time is so infuriating! I really want it to stop asking me.


cak    07 Sep 2014, 22:50
MS Office accesses the internet (if available) each time it starts in order to check if there's another computer running another non-unique copy of MS Office. If it finds another copy running on another internet connected computer, it refuses to boot and the other copy will also need to be shut down. How can that be avoided?
 
 

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