Problem with Menus Crashing Word

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 7, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


I use Word 2003 on one of my machines, and recently it began acting strange. Shortly after allowing Microsoft to install the latest updates on the system, I noticed that the menu no longer worked properly. When I would click the Tools menu, it would not appear and Word would crash. (Other menus worked fine; it was just the Tools menu.) I also noticed that some of my add-ins had been automatically disabled by Word and were no longer available within the program. If I told Word to enable the add-ins, Word would again crash.

I ran the repair feature in Word, but to no avail—the problems were still there. (Word reported it could find no problems.) Thinking it was the add-ins, I reinstalled them, but to no avail. I then uninstalled Office, cleaned out all the Registry entries I could find, and reinstalled, but to no avail. No matter what I did, the problem still existed, the Tools menu was inaccessible, and Word would crash.

Finally I tried something I should have tried earlier—knowing that the problem was apparently with the menus and that menus were maintained in templates, I renamed my Normal.dot file (outside of Word) and restarted the program. All of a sudden everything was back to normal with both Word and the add-ins; they all worked as they should.

Apparently the problem was with a corrupt Normal.dot template. So, through first-hand experience, I learned that if there is something strange going on with your user interface (menus, toolbars, etc.), one of the first things you should check is whether your Normal.dot template is corrupt or not. It is simple to do (just rename the template, as I did), and it gives you immediate results.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3816) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

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