Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fixing Word 2016 Crashes when Opening Older Documents with Macros on Windows 7

We have a lot of documents and they go back several decades. Many of them  are still relevant today, even if they're only background to current projects. The problem is that Word doesn't like its own file formats.

It won't open documents created with versions of Word earlier than 1997 and it crashes with anything saved as .DOC which contains macros. 

There's some solutions to these problems though;

Opening Older Documents

It's possible to change Word 2016's settings to allow you to open old documents;

  1. Click File, 
  2. Then Options
  3. Then Trust Center
  4. Click on the button marked Trust Center Settings
  5. Click on File Block settings.
  6. UNTick the document types that you want to be able to open and click Ok
Of course, just because you CAN, doesn't mean that you should. Word is less stable with these settings turned on, and it's able to open documents which could be potentially dangerous. 

If you're looking at your company's archives though, it should be fine but you might want to consider installing LibreOffice or using Google Docs (both of which are free) for older documents instead.

Crashes on Macro Enabled Documents

In our case, we were experiencing regular crashes on documents created with specific templates. The templates contained Macros (but those macros only run on document creation, not when they're opened). 

Nevertheless, we were able to demonstrate that simply opening a file resulted in an immediate crash. These documents were okay on Word 2003, 2010 and 2013 but as soon as we upgraded to 2016, the crashes started happening everywhere. 

We turned to Microsoft for help but didn't get much direction there....

Then yesterday, I did an upgrade of a couple of our PCs from Windows 7 to Windows 10. 
... and the crashes stopped. 

Clearly there's something different about Windows 10 that makes Word 2016 much happier. 


Anonymous said...

"Tick the document types that you want to be able to open and click Ok"

This is incorrect, read the top of the window....

"By selecting Open, word blocks this file type"

You need to UNTICK the types that you want to open.

Gavin Bollard said...

Thanks Anonymous, I'd done it right but documented it wrong. Fixed now. It's a rather misleading screen unless you read the fine print.