I get a "stopped working" error when I start Office 2016 or 2013 applications on my PC

I get a "stopped working" error when I start Office 2016 or 2013 applications on my PC

You might get this error when you try to start the Office 2016 or Office 2013 versions of Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, or Visio on your PC:

  • Microsoft Excel has stopped working.

  • Microsoft Word has stopped working.

  • Microsoft Outlook has stopped working.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint has stopped working.

  • Microsoft Publisher has stopped working.

  • Microsoft Visio has stopped working.

In most cases, you can fix this error by keeping Office and Windows up to date via online updates, updating or disabling an add-in that's enabled in your Office application, or updating an incompatible device driver on your PC.

Note: The information in this article doesn't apply if you're having problems opening a specific file in one of these Office apps.

Update Office

It’s important to make sure that Office is fully up-to-date. A recent update could correct the startup issue you are experiencing with your Office 2013 or Office 2016 application.

Follow the information in this Office update article to install the latest Office updates. After installing, if you're still receiving a "stopped working" error, continue to the next section.

Start an application in Safe Mode

Starting the application in Safe Mode is a great way to find out if the problem is caused by an add-in. There are two ways you can get to Safe Mode.

One way is to hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard while opening the Office application. To ensure the application is in Safe Mode, check the title bar:

File name followed by (Safe Mode)

The other way to get to Safe Mode is by using the /safe command line. This depends on which version of Windows you're using.

To use the /safe command line, do the following:

  1. Right-click the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and choose Run.

    Run command after right-click Start in Windows 8 and Windows 10
  2. Type one of these commands:

    • Type excel /safe and press Enter to start Excel.

    • Type outlook /safe and press Enter to start Outlook.

    • Type winword /safe and press Enter to start Word.

    • Type powerpnt /safe and press Enter to start PowerPoint.

    • Type mspub /safe and press Enter to start Publisher.

    • Type visio /safe and press Enter to start Visio.

    Note: If you get a "can't find" error after typing the command, check if you included a space between the app name and /safe.

To use the /safe command line, do the following:

  1. Right-click the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and choose Run.

    Run command after right-click Start in Windows 8 and Windows 10
  2. Type one of these commands:

    • Type excel /safe and press Enter to start Excel.

    • Type outlook /safe and press Enter to start Outlook.

    • Type winword /safe and press Enter to start Word.

    • Type powerpnt /safe and press Enter to start PowerPoint.

    • Type mspub /safe and press Enter to start Publisher.

    • Type visio /safe and press Enter to start Visio.

To use the /safe command line, do the following:

  1. Choose Start > Run.

  2. Type one of these commands:

    • Type excel /safe and press Enter to start Excel.

    • Type outlook /safe and press Enter to start Outlook.

    • Type winword /safe and press Enter to start Word.

    • Type powerpnt /safe and press Enter to start PowerPoint.

    • Type mspub /safe and press Enter to start Publisher.

    • Type visio /safe and press Enter to start Visio.

If the Office application doesn’t start in Safe Mode, the problem isn’t with add-ins. Check for incompatible or older device drivers and update them.

Disable add-ins one at a time while still in Safe Mode

If the Office application starts in Safe Mode, disable the application add-ins and COM add-ins one at a time.

  1. With the Office application still in Safe Mode, click File > Options > Add-Ins.

  2. Next to the Manage list, click Go.

  3. Uncheck one of the add-ins in the list and click OK.

    Note: If you have the following add-ins in your list, we recommend you uncheck these first: Abbyy FineReader and Dragon Naturally Speaking.

  4. Restart the application (not in Safe Mode this time).

If the Office application starts, there’s a problem with the add-in you unchecked. We recommend you visit the company website for the add-in to check for an updated version you can install. If there isn’t a newer version or if you don’t need to use the add-in you can leave it unchecked or remove it from your PC.

Note: Check this short list for add-ins that are known to cause problems.

If the Office application doesn’t start, repeat the steps to uncheck the other add-ins one by one. If all add-ins are unchecked and you still can’t open your Office application, follow these steps to uncheck the COM add-ins one by one:

  1. Click File > Options > Add-Ins.

  2. In the Manage list, click COM Add-Ins, and then click Go.

  3. Uncheck one of the add-ins in the list and click OK.

  4. Restart the application (not in Safe Mode this time).

If the Office application starts, the COM add-in you unchecked is causing the problem. We recommend you visit the company website for the add-in to find out if there’s an updated version you can install. If there isn’t a newer version or if you don’t need to use the COM add-in you can leave it unchecked.

If the Office application doesn’t start, the problem isn’t related to application or COM add-ins. Check for incompatible or older device drivers and update them.

Add-ins that may cause problems with Office 2013

Earlier versions of these add-ins are known to cause problems with Office 2016 or Office 2013 applications:

Incompatible device drivers

Older Windows device drivers may be incompatible with your Office application. You should run a Windows or Microsoft update on your PC to ensure you have the latest drivers. To do this, follow these steps:

For Windows 10:

  1. Select the Start Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 button.

  2. Select Settings > Update & security > Windows Update.

  3. Select Check online for updates from Microsoft Update.

  4. If updates are available they should automatically be installed on your PC.

For Windows 8.1 and Windows 8:

  1. On the Start screen, click Settings on the Charms Bar.

  2. Click Change PC Settings.

  3. In the PC Settings app, click Windows Update.

  4. Click Check for updates now.

For Windows 7:

  1. Click Start.

  2. Type Windows Update in the Search programs and files box.

  3. In the search results, click Check for updates.

  4. If updates are available, click Install.

If the problem continues to occur after updating Windows drivers, you could try downloading and installing the latest driver for your video card via the manufacturer’s website as this issue could be caused by display related issues.

Finally, there are some older drivers that are known to cause this error in Office apps, that can only be installed directly via the manufacturer’s website. You should check to make sure that your input device drivers, such as mouse and keyboard, are up-to-date. If you have a laptop, you may also want to check if you use a DisplayLink User Mode Driver as older versions would need to be updated from the manufacturer’s site.

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