Work with Office safe modes

Notes: You may receive the following error when you launch Office 2016 apps in safe mode on Windows 7: "We're sorry, but <Office app> has run into an error that is preventing it from working correctly. <Office app> will need to be closed as a result."

This issue has been fixed in version 16.0.6741.2017 or later. To get the latest update, follow the steps below:

If you can open an Office application:

  1. Open any office application and choose File > Office Account.

  2. Under Product Information, choose Update Options > Update Now.

If you can't open an Office application, you can run an online repair through the Control Panel:

  1. Go to the Windows Control Panel, choose Programs > Uninstall a Program.

  2. Select your Office program (if you installed an Office suite, select the suite), click Change and then choose Online Repair.

If you can't open an Office application and an online repair doesn't work, try to reinstall Office. Go to your My Account page at and click Install and then Install.

Microsoft Office safe modes can let you safely use a Microsoft Office program that has encountered certain problems. There are two types of safe modes:

  • Automated Safe mode     When you start a program and a problem is detected, the program goes into this mode and either fixes the problem or isolates it, allowing the program to start successfully.

  • User-Initiated Safe mode     You can start a program in this mode to try to resolve certain issues.

Important: If you are having problems with a Microsoft Office program, you may be able to repair it on your own. For more information, see Repair or remove your Office programs.

What do you want to do?

Understand and work with Automated Safe mode

Use a Microsoft Office program in User-Initiated Safe mode

Understand the difference between Office safe modes and Windows safe mode

Understand and work with Automated Safe mode

When you start a program:

  1. Office checks for problems such as an add-in or extension that won't start or a corrupted resource, file, registry, or template. If a problem is found, the program may not be able to start.

  2. If the program is not able to start, the next time you try to start the program, Automated Safe mode is triggered. A message is displayed to identify the problem and ask whether you want to disable the part of the program that has a problem.

  3. If the program is still not able to start, you may be prompted to disable more functionality that may be preventing the program from starting normally.

To view the list of disabled items, display the Disabled Items dialog box by doing the following in the Microsoft Office program that you are using:

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Options.

  3. Click Add-Ins.

  4. On the Manage menu, click Disabled Items, and then click Go.

Note: You cannot view or change disabled items in Microsoft SharePoint Workspace.

After you view the items listed in the Disabled Items dialog box, you can select an item and then click Enable to turn it on again. Enabling some items might require that you reload or reinstall an add-in program or reopen a file. After you enable an item, the program might run into a problem the next time it starts. In this case, you are prompted to disable the item again.

Note: To stop Safe mode, exit the program then start it again normally.

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Use a Microsoft Office program in User-Initiated Safe mode

If you have problems with a Microsoft Office program, you might be able to use User-Initiated Safe mode to make it possible to run the program. Some situations in which this can be helpful include the following:

  • You need to view a file and the Microsoft Office program that you are using is crashing before you can do so.

  • You are trying to resolve a problem with your Microsoft Office program. You may need help from a technical support representative to do this.

Use User-Initiated Safe mode

To start a Microsoft Office program in User-Initiated Safe mode:

On the Microsoft Windows Start menu

  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, and then point to Microsoft Office.

  2. Press and hold the CTRL key, and then click the name of the Microsoft Office program that you want to run.

In the Command Prompt window

At the command prompt, use the /safe option when you start the program.

To stop User-Initiated Safe mode, exit the program then start it again normally.

What User-Initiated Safe mode does

The following restrictions apply when you start a program in User-Initiated Safe mode. (Some items listed below do not apply to all Microsoft Office programs.)

  • No templates can be saved.

  • In Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer, the last used Web site is not opened.

  • In Microsoft SharePoint Workspace, the following features are disabled: synchronization, awareness, notification, messaging, and task scheduler.

  • Toolbar or command bar customizations are not loaded, and customizations cannot be saved.

  • The AutoCorrect list is not loaded, and changes are not saved.

  • Recovered documents are not automatically opened.

  • All command-line options are ignored except /a and /n.

  • Files cannot be saved to the Alternate Startup Directory.

  • Preferences cannot be saved.

  • Additional features and programs are not automatically loaded.

  • Documents with restricted permission cannot be created or opened.

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Understand the difference between Office safe modes and Windows safe mode

The Office safe modes are different than Windows safe mode. For more information about Windows safe mode, do the following:

  1. Click Start and then click Help and Support.

  2. Type safe mode in the Search list, and then press ENTER.

  3. Open a topic on the Search Results list.

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