How to Reset MS Word to Its Default Settings: A Step-by-Step Guide

Resetting Microsoft Word to its default settings is like giving it a fresh start. You’ll remove any customizations or changes you’ve made, returning it to the original state it was in when you first installed it. It’s handy when Word starts acting up, or you just want a clean slate.

After completing this action, your Microsoft Word will be restored to its default settings. This means any personalized configurations such as toolbar arrangements, custom styles, and AutoCorrect entries will be lost, and you’ll have a fresh version of Word to work with.


Have you ever found yourself in a situation where Microsoft Word isn’t functioning as it should? Perhaps your toolbars are all over the place, or it’s simply not responding the way you’re used to. These issues often arise from changes in settings, added extensions, or customizations that have been made over time. Resetting MS Word to its default settings can often resolve these problems, restoring the application to its original, unmodified state.

This fix is particularly relevant for those who frequently use Word for work or school, relying on its smooth functioning for important tasks. Restoring default settings can save time and frustration, making it a worthwhile process to understand and execute.

How to Reset MS Word to Its Default Settings

The following steps will guide you through resetting Microsoft Word to its default settings, ensuring that you can start afresh with a clean, unaltered version of the application.

Step 1: Close Microsoft Word

The first step is to ensure that Microsoft Word is completely closed.

Before you proceed with any other steps, make sure that Microsoft Word is not running on your computer. If it is open, close it to prevent any potential issues while resetting to default settings.

Step 2: Access the Control Panel

Navigate to your computer’s Control Panel.

You will need to access the Control Panel to find the necessary options for resetting Word. You can typically find it by searching for ‘Control Panel’ in your start menu or search bar.

Step 3: Go to Programs and Features

In the Control Panel, click on “Programs” and then “Programs and Features.”

This section lists all the programs installed on your computer. You’ll need to locate Microsoft Office (or Word, if it’s a standalone installation) in this list.

Step 4: Change Microsoft Office Settings

Find Microsoft Office in the list, select it, and click ‘Change’ at the top of the window.

A new window will open, providing options to repair or change the installation of Microsoft Office, which includes Word.

Step 5: Repair Office Installation

Select the ‘Repair’ option and then ‘Continue’ to allow the program to restore Word to its default settings.

The repair process will check for and replace any corrupted files, and reset all settings back to their defaults. It may take a few minutes to complete.


Restores StabilityAfter resetting MS Word to its default settings, any instability caused by customized settings or add-ons is eliminated, providing a more reliable experience.
Clears ClutterOver time, Word can become cluttered with unused add-ons or settings changes. Resetting clears out this clutter, simplifying the user interface.
Troubleshoots EffectivelyWhen experiencing issues with Word, resetting to default is a straightforward way to troubleshoot and often resolves many common problems.


Loss of CustomizationResetting Word means losing any customized settings or add-ons you’ve installed, which may be inconvenient if they were enhancing your productivity.
Time-ConsumingThe process can be a bit time-consuming, particularly if you have a slow computer or if the Office installation is large.
Potential for Data LossIf not done correctly, there’s a small chance of losing data such as custom dictionaries or templates during the reset process.

Additional Information

When resetting MS Word to its default settings, it’s essential to understand that while this process can correct many issues, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. It won’t, for instance, recover lost documents or resolve problems arising from external factors like viruses or hardware issues.

One additional tip is to ensure that you backup any custom settings or templates you’ve created before resetting Word. This way, you can easily restore them if needed, without having to start from scratch. Also, remember that resetting Word will not affect any of your documents; it only returns the program’s settings to their original state.


  1. Close Microsoft Word.
  2. Access the Control Panel.
  3. Go to Programs and Features.
  4. Change Microsoft Office settings.
  5. Repair Office installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will resetting MS Word delete my documents?

No, resetting Word will not affect your documents. It only resets the program’s settings.

Can I reset Word without the Control Panel?

No, the Control Panel is necessary to access the options to repair or change the Microsoft Office installation.

What should I do if Word won’t close properly?

If Word won’t close, you can use the Task Manager to force it to close. Just be sure to save your work first.

Will this fix all issues with Word?

While resetting can resolve many issues, it may not fix problems related to external factors like viruses.

Can I restore my custom settings after resetting?

Yes, if you’ve backed them up beforehand, you can restore your custom settings after the reset.


Resetting Microsoft Word to its default settings is a powerful troubleshooting step that can resolve a variety of issues. It’s a bit like turning off and on your computer; sometimes, that’s all it takes to get things working again.

Whether you’re dealing with unexplained crashes, a cluttered interface, or just want to start fresh, this process can help restore order and stability to your Word experience. Just remember to backup your templates and custom settings, and you’ll be back to writing, editing, and formatting in no time. So, are you ready to give your MS Word a clean slate?

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