Documents Opening in the Wrong Program

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 17, 2016)

Ron had a problem crop up with Word recently—when he double-clicks on a Word document, it now opens in Word Viewer, rather than opening in Word. He was wondering how to make the documents again open in Word, as he prefers.

Windows maintains a list of file associations that dictate which types of files are opened by which programs. The file association for files ending with the DOC extension is normally set to Word. It can get changed, however, if you install some other program on your system that utilizes files with the same extension. In Ron's case, there is a good chance that some other program was installed, and that program installed Word Viewer and reset the file association for Word files.

There are several different ways you can reset the proper file associations. Word itself provides a way to do it. Open a command prompt window and, at the command line, enter the following:

winword /r

Nothing seems to happen when you press Enter, but Word will reregister itself back in Windows. In the process, it resets the file associations for the files it uses, such as those for documents and document templates. You can close the command prompt window and double-click on a document; Word should start right up.

If you prefer, you can also make the file association change directly in Windows. Follow these steps:

  1. In Windows, right-click on a Word document icon. Windows displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose Open With from the menu. (Don't choose Open; make sure you choose Open With.)
  3. If Windows displays another level of menu, make sure you select Choose Program. Windows displays the Open With dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Open With dialog box.

  5. In the list of available programs, select Word. (It may appear as Word, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Office Word, or some other variation. The wording variation doesn't matter; choose the one that is obviously for Word.)
  6. Under the list of programs there is a check box labeled something like "Always use the Selected Program to Open this Kind of File." Select this check box.
  7. Click OK.

These steps change the file association for a single type of file—the type you right-clicked on in step 1. You will still need to check other file types to make sure they open Word properly. If not, change the associations as described above.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5687) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Resetting All Shortcut Keys

At some point you might want to wipe out all the custom shortcut keys you've created in Word. This is easy to do by following ...

Discover More

Viewing Your Work Full-Screen

Want to use the maximum space possible for displaying information on screen? You'll want to learn how to use the full-screen ...

Discover More

Spellchecking an Entire Document

Google Docs includes a few tools designed to help improve your writing. One such tool is the spellchecker, which you can use ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Using Seek In a Macro

When processing non-document text files in a macro, you have a wide range of commands available for your use. One of those is ...

Discover More

Using a Standard Format in a Suggested File Name

Many companies (and some individuals) use specific formats for naming their documents. If you want Word to recognize your ...

Discover More

Determining Word Versions of Documents

If you know where to look, you can figure out which version of Word was last used to work on a document. It takes some ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

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.

Subscribe

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.

Links and Sharing
Share