What to Do If “Word frozen on Mac”?

If Microsoft word keeps freezing on Mac, then you must be looking for a plausible solution to this problem. Don’t worry; we have an authentic solution if MS Word or Outlook for Mac is freezing.

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The Mac forums are filled with questions like “why does Microsoft word keep freezing on my Mac”. Even though Mac OS X is a reliable OS, but this doesn’t make it glitch free. Users often have to face a situation like this when Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and other MS office tools stop responding.

When you are using a version of MS Office which is not compatible with the macOS, it causes problems. Thus, Microsoft word is frozen on Mac and the system fails to process other requests too. Well, we might not know the exact reasons why this happen to you, but we can surely sum up the reasons in a list. In this article, you will not only learn the possible causes of this problem but also find out how you can fix it. Just take a look!

Part 1. What Causes Word Frozen on Mac?

Before you get to the fixes, it is vital to gather information on why does word keep freezing on my Mac. There are various reasons which lead to this issue causing panic in the users. If the problem last long, then it will cause the system to crash and the files will become inaccessible permanently. The causes narrow down to the following:

  • Human mistakes which include accidental deletion, formatting of files or volumes during normal operation.
  • Sudden termination of the system files due to a power surge or other reasons.
  • Interrupted Read and Write Operations.
  • Sharing data files with a system whose platform is not supported.
  • Virus attack.
  • Modification in BIOS settings can also lead to Microsoft word frozen on Mac issue.
  • Corruption in Header files.
  • Catalog files node corruption.
  • Problem in the boot sector.
  • Improper installation of the programs.
  • Hardware or software issues.

As you can see, there are numerous that can make the word file inaccessible. Once the files become inaccessible, you can only think of possible solutions. So, let’s try them now.

Part 2. How to Solve the Problem "MS Word keeps freezing on Mac"?

Normally, people freak out and they don’t have any idea what to do when word freezes on Mac. But you have to make sure that you can either repair word on Mac or resolve the issue immediately to avoid further issues. Here are some methods that would fix the problems.

Solution 1: Force Quit Word Application on Mac

If you don’t know how to shut down the word on Mac when frozen then you should try the Force Quit. It will close the unresponsive application instantly. But you’ll also lose the current file on which you are working. Follow the steps below to force quit word or any other application on Mac:

Step 1 Click on the Word option in the Apple menu and it will open up several options.

Step 2 There you will see the Force Quit option. Click on the option and the system will shut down Word.


During the force quit, you won’t even get a notification that you’ll lose your unsaved documents. You can also force quit the running and unresponsive applications using the Task Manager.

Solution 2: Reset the Word Preferences and Restart Mac

Another method that you can try if the Microsoft word is freezing on Mac is resetting the Word Preferences. It is one of the main reasons that cause issues in Word or other MS Office applications. You have to reset the preferences according to Mac. Follow the steps below to do this:

Step 1 Close all the applications and open Library using the Go to the folder search. In the results, you will see the Preferences folder. It contains the preferences file you set for MS Word.


Step 2 Open the folder and locate the files which are named as-com.microsoft.Word.prefs.plist. Open the files and close it and check if the problem is fixed. If not, then move the file to desktop and check again.


Step 3 If step 2 doesn’t work, then open word from the Apple menu. As you click on the Word option, you will see the Preferences option in the drop-down list.


Step 4 Open Preferences and click on the File Locations option. Select the User Template option and find the file which is named as Normal.dotm.


Move the files to the desktop and check whether the problem is resolved or not. If it doesn’t work then delete the file from the system permanently and it will fix reset the word preferences entirely.

Solution 3: Update Microsoft Office to the Latest

Usually, Mac Microsoft office gets frozen when an update is pending on the system. You can fix it by simply updating the existing version to the latest one. There is an Auto Update option for Mac so that you won’t experience security problems or other issues, but it needs to set up first. You can either open the Word application or go to the App store to update the MS Office.

Step 1 Open MS word and open the Help menu. There you will see the Check for Updates option.


Step 2 If there is an update available, install it on your Mac and the problem will vanish. Set up the Automatic Download and Install option and you won’t need to worry about the updates in the future.


The update will not only repair office on Mac but also improve the system performance. If you use the App Store, you can update all MS Office apps at once.

Part 3. How to Recover Force Quit and Unsaved Word Documents on Mac:

When word freezes on Mac, most of the people suffer from data loss situations. It is a palpable condition and you’ll need help to retrieve the lost files from your Mac. Here is the most apparent solution.

You can’t stop it if Microsoft word keeps freezing on Mac. But you can use Recoverit (IS) for Mac to get back the lost word files. The above methods to fix MS Word results in serious data loss but if you have the right tool; you can get them back easily. With a wide array of file format support, the recovery software for Mac is capable of retrieving all kinds of files including Word documents, presentations, archives, emails, photos, videos, and others too. Plus, you get a chance to recover the files which are deleted from Trash, lost from partition, formatted from the drive, and lost due to corruption and virus attack too.

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  • It is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating system.
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  • It has a deep scan features for in-depth scanning of the hard drive for searching files to recover.
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How to Recover Word Files on Mac?

Now, you can avoid the hassle of scouring the internet with keywords like “word froze on Mac how to recover”. All you need is right in front of you, a reliable Mac data recovery tool which is powerful and easy to use. Follow the guide below to get the unsaved word files back on Mac:

Step 1 Download and Run the Program:

The first and foremost step to get the files back is to download the software on your system. After the download, launch the software and select the file types that you want to recover. Choose a recovery method from the interface and move on to the next step.

Step 2 Scan Drive for Unsaved Files:

As the files are unsaved, it is better that you pick the “I can’t find my partition” option from the list. Hit the Start button and the software will scan the entire drive to look for lost or deleted files.

Step 3 Preview and Recover:

Once the scan is complete, the files will be displayed on the screen according to their formats. You can select the files and have a preview to ensure that they are intact. Select the files that you need on your Mac and click on the Recover button.


The files will be downloaded on your system in a while according to the size. To avoid overwrite or corruption, make sure that the files are saved in a separate folder.


If Microsoft word for Mac keeps freezing, you can try out any of the above methods to resolve the issue. It is quite common with MS Office including Word, Excel, and Outlook 2016 Mac freezes abruptly. But now you know how to deal with the problem quickly. And if none of the methods work out, iSkysoft is always here for your help.


staff Editor

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