Open Office apps in safe mode on a Windows PC

Starting a Microsoft Office for Windows application in Office Safe Mode can allow you to safely use it when it has encountered certain problems. This is useful when you need to open a file that you can't under normal mode because the application is crashing or if you need help in identifying an add-in or extension that may be causing a problem on startup.

Important: April 30, 2016: A recent update was released to fix the "We're sorry..." error when you launch Office 2016 applications in safe mode on Windows 7. For more information, see the heading Office 2016 on Windows fails to launch in safe mode [FIXED] in one of these recent issues articles for Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook.

How to start Office for Windows applications in Office Safe Mode

Use one of these methods to start an Office application in Office Safe Mode on a Windows PC:

This method works for most Office versions on a Windows PC:

  1. Find the shortcut icon for your Office application.

  2. Press and hold the CTRL key and double-click the application shortcut.

  3. Click Yes when a window appears asking if you want to start the application in Safe Mode.

Note: To stop Office Safe Mode, exit and restart your Office application. It will start in normal mode unless there's a problem opening the application.

This method works for most Office versions on a Windows PC:

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

    Alternatively, you can press the Windows logo key and the R key on your keyboard.

  2. In the Run box, type one of these commands:

    • For Excel: Type excel /safe, and click OK.

    • For Outlook: Type outlook /safe, and click OK.

    • For Word: Type winword /safe, and click OK.

    • For PowerPoint: Type powerpnt /safe, and click OK.

    • For Publisher: Type mspub /safe, and click OK.

    • For Visio: Type visio /safe, and click OK.

Note: To stop Office Safe Mode, exit and restart your Office application. It will start in normal mode unless there's a problem opening the application.

If you can't start a Microsoft Office application in Office Safe Mode or you have recurring problems opening applications in normal mode, you can try to repair Office. For more information, go to Repair an Office application

Note: Office Safe Mode is different than Windows safe mode. If you're looking for information about Windows safe mode, go to start your PC in safe mode.

More Information

Automated safe mode is triggered if a Microsoft Office application could not start due to specific problems, such as an add-in or extension that won't start or a corrupted resource, file, registry, or template. A message is displayed to identify the problem and ask whether you want to disable the part of the application that has a problem. If problems opening the Office application continue to occur, automated safe mode may prompt you to disable more functionality that may be preventing the Office application from starting normally.

To view the list of disabled items, display the Disabled Items dialog box by doing the following in the Microsoft Office application that you're 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.

The following restrictions apply when you start an Office application in safe mode:

Note: 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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