Word suddenly started crashing every time either

  • a document with «track changes» is opened
  • «track changes» is activated in a document and the document is changed

This behaviour started without an update of the OS or Office.

Edit This also happens activating the tracking on a new empty document. The behaviour is reproducible with each and every document with «track changes» activated.

  • 2
    if docs become complex it is a known problem with MS word.
    – Ruskes
    Aug 25, 2014 at 17:08
  • 1
    @Buscar웃 is correct. I've seen tons of quirks with MS Word for Mac when you edit complex documents. I usually just boot a Win7 virtual machine to use Office, honestly.
    – aglasser
    Aug 25, 2014 at 18:36
  • I know that Word is not the best with large documents but I am using it since years and it started only know with this problem which occur with every document.
    – Matteo
    Aug 26, 2014 at 5:03
  • Have you tried to reset (delete) the 'Normal.dot'/'Normal.dotm ? Aug 29, 2014 at 13:27
  • typo «trac changes» (I can't [yet] edit 1 character) Aug 29, 2014 at 13:28

6 Answers 6


The problem is not with the track changes and comments but how Word tries to display them: in a Balloon...

Luckily there is a simple solution:

Word -> Preferences -> Track Changes -> "Use balloons to display changes" 

remove the tickmark from here.

You can still see the changes inside text by checking the colors and use

Review tab -> Comments -> Previous, Next

to step through comments (the list will be opened at a left side sidebar). Convinient way although not so fancy, but at least: it works!

  • Even with simplified view of track changes turned on, I still have this issue on macos movaje with word 2016. What does this say about MSFT when it comes to quality testing? I guess they know how to crowd source free testing.
    – photon6
    Mar 26, 2019 at 18:21

I had the same problem and in my case I was able to get past it by disabling Balloons - "Use balloons to display changes" in the Track Changes preferences.

If you don't show the gallery on startup and you can't open Word without it first wanting to reload the crashing file, then you may need to first remove the folder:

~/Library/Saved Application State/com.microsoft.Word.savedState


try deleting the preference files....

I use track changes all the time on MS Word on my Mac and it normally works fine. Also you say this is reproducible behaviour on different files so it is clearly something to do with your specific installation. I suspect it might be due to a corrupt preferences file. Anyway it would be worth testing this by removing the word preference files - try both the

~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft... files

~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft files.

If you have more than one user account set up on your machine you could start off by seeing if the problem occurs on all user accounts.

  • An additional test would be to use (or create) another user account on that Mac to see if the problem manifests itself. If the problem doesn't occur, then your preference files need deleting & re-creation.
    – IconDaemon
    Sep 1, 2014 at 13:04

Deleting the preferences and everything in Library/Application Support/Microsoft both in my account and globally did not bring any change.

I then re-installed Office, re-updated it and everything went back to normal.


I downloaded the Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac 14.4.8 update. After installing the update, the problem is resolved.

Note: Backup your Outlook data using the export function.


I was struggling to find the settings Balázs Bábos was referring to in his answer. So, I'd like to share that screenshot with instuctions:

enter image description here

While writing the answer I just realized that the question is for the apple version of Word. However, the same problem occurs on my PC and this fix helped.

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