Freezing Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 20, 2011)

Some readers have complained of Word freezing or hanging when displaying a dialog box. Word works very closely with the operational environment provided by Windows, so if something is not set correctly in the Windows environment, it will affect the way in which Word functions. If Word is hanging when displaying a dialog box, then chances are good that there is a problem with one or more components that are related to the purpose of the dialog box. For instance, if Word hangs when displaying a dialog box related to the printer or fonts, then the problem may well be with the printer drivers installed in Windows.

The two most common devices which need to be checked are the video and printer drivers. To verify if you have a problem with the video driver, and you are using Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0, reboot and start Windows in Safe Mode. Then start Word to see if the problem has gone away. If the problem is gone, then it is your video driver. This is because in Safe Mode, Windows loads a plain-vanilla video driver that functions as the lowest common denominator.

If you determine the problem to be video related, then check to make sure you have the latest video driver. You can typically determine this by checking the card manufacturer's Web site. If you are using the latest driver, then check to make sure you are using a video resolution or color setting that will work with your system. You can determine this by simply setting these to lower settings and trying to recreate the problem. You can also try to set the refresh rate to a lower setting, as this can affect the display of information on your monitor.

The other potential problem is your printer driver. If you think this could be the problem, then make sure the generic text driver is installed as a printer on your system, and then choose it as the printer you want to use. If the Word problem goes away, then you should check to make sure you have the latest and greatest printer driver for your normal printer.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1270) applies to Microsoft Word 97.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Pulling Out Spelling Errors

Unless you are creating a very short document, chances are good that your prose will contain spelling errors. If you want ...

Discover More

Jumping Around Folders

If you need to move between two different folders quite regularly in the Open dialog box, you'll find the technique ...

Discover More

Positioning a Graphic in a Macro

Macros are a great way to process information in a worksheet. Part of that processing may involve moving graphics around ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Direction Arrows Confused

What do you do if you open a document, only to find that the arrow keys don't work the way that they should? The first ...

Discover More

Turning Off a Startup Sound

If you hear a sound when you start Word, it is because of some settings within Windows itself. You can use the Control ...

Discover More

Default Units that Change

Word allows you to specify the unit of measurement you would like used in dialog boxes throughout the program. It can get ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.