Speed up Microsoft Office slow typing with these steps

Is there anything more frustrating than typing lag or slow-loading documents when you’re on a deadline? Unfortunately, while Microsoft Office (now known as Microsoft 365) is one of the most widely used application suites for all kinds of projects in the modern office, it doesn't always show excellent performance.

When Microsoft Office slows down, showing you spinning wheels and requiring long wait times, it breaks your flow and concentration, ultimately affecting your productivity.

Thankfully, there are a few proven ways to speed up Microsoft Office on your Mac, and most of them are as simple as tidying up. If Marie Kondo has taught us anything, it’s that clutter can cause unnecessary stress in life. And this applies to hard drives as well!

Why is Microsoft Office slow?

While there are a few different symptoms indicating that Microsoft Office isn’t doing its best, such as a painfully slow opening of a program or Microsoft Word slow typing, the question stands: why is Microsoft Word so slow?

There are a variety of reasons Microsoft Office may run slowly, freeze, or cause the much-dreaded typing lag. Often, the issue stems from a build-up of corrupted or temporary files that are meant to be automatically deleted but, for whatever reason, have failed to do so. Of course, the application suite could also be out of date or attempt to load corrupted files. But, very likely, it’s just a large number of small problems that have snowballed and are now causing noticeable issues. Here’s how you can fix it.

Refresh go-to templates

The template file normal.dot is created by Microsoft Word and stored automatically on your computer. It saves all the default settings of the application. So each time you change your settings, the preference is added to normal.dot. This way, the next time Microsoft Word opens a new document, your preferred settings load automatically. However, if your normal.dot file becomes corrupted or too complex to load, it can make Microsoft Word slow.

Deleting the existing normal.dot file will force Microsoft Word to create a new one. Starting fresh will be easy for most users, as most of us don’t stray too far from the default settings. However, for those who change their default settings in complex ways, make sure you back up your normal dot files to a flash drive to avoid losing important settings permanently.

To find and delete normal.dot manually:

  1. Quit MS Word and open Finder.
  2. Type normal.dot into the search field.
  3. Wait for all results to load. It’s not uncommon to have more than one normal.dot file. They may also appear as normal.dotm.
  4. Select all normal.dot and normal.dotm files and delete them.
  5. Empty your Trash.

Finally, reload the application and see if the process has managed to speed up Microsoft Word.

Delete temporary files

All Microsoft Office programs will create temporary files to prevent you from losing your work. However, if the automatic removal of these files fails, they can build up and make Microsoft Office slow.

You can easily seek out and remove these files:

  1. Determine which temporary files you want to delete. Microsoft’s website lists different types of temporary files that Microsoft Office produces automatically. The files you are looking for will be searchable using the trine sign ~*.doc, ~*.dot, or ~*.tmp.
  2. Use Finder to search for files with ~*.doc or another marker.
  3. Select files to delete.
  4. Drag them to the Trash and empty it.

Once you are done, reload the application to see if that did speed up Microsoft Word.

Keep Microsoft Office updated

Having an outdated version of Microsoft Office will eventually cause it to run slowly. Luckily, updating the suite is very easy:

  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. In the top toolbar, select Help and click “Check for Updates.”
  3. Install the update if there is one.

Additionally, you can turn on Microsoft auto-updates using the same dialogue box so that whenever Microsoft Office detects a new version, it will offer you an opportunity to install it.

Another way to update Microsoft Office is to download the latest one from the Microsoft website directly. But before you do, check that it’s fully compatible with your version of macOS.

Reset the application to default settings

Over time, all Mac apps accumulate lots of unneeded preferences that constantly rewrite each other. A good way to rule out that there’s anything wrong with the app is to do a factory reset — bring the app back to the state when it was brand new.

You can do a factory reset in two ways:

  1. Go to Finder.
  2. Press Shift-Command-G to open the Go to Folder menu.
  3. Enter ~/Library and click Go.
  4. Look for Microsoft Office files in the results.
  5. Delete all of them but the app itself.

Alternatively, you can do the same thing quicker and more thoroughly with the CleanMyMac X uninstaller utility:

  1. Download CleanMyMac X with a free trial.

  2. Go to the Uninstaller tab.
  3. Select Microsoft Office and choose Reset.
  4. Click on the Reset button.

Delete and reinstall Microsoft Office

The old IT adage “have you tried turning it off and back on?” applies here, but in this case, it’s about deleting the application and reinstalling it. To completely delete Microsoft Office, you will need to remove files from two different places on your computer: delete the app first and then find your Library folder in Finder to see the associated files that need to be removed.

  1. Head to the Applications folder and move Microsoft Office or Microsoft 365 to the Trash.
  2. Press Shift-Command-G and navigate ~/Library/Containers
  3. From Containers, move the following associated files to the Trash:
    • com.microsoft.errorreporting
    • com.microsoft.Excel
    • com.microsoft.netlib.shipassertprocess
    • com.microsoft.Office365ServiceV2
    • com.microsoft.Outlook
    • com.microsoft.Powerpoint
    • com.microsoft.RMS-XPCService
    • com.microsoft.Word
    • com.microsoft.onenote.mac
  4. Open the Group Containers folder as well and remove the following files:
    • UBF8T346G9.ms
    • UBF8T346G9.Office
    • UBF8T346G9.OfficeOsfWebHost
  5. Finally, remove Microsoft Office from the Dock and restart your Mac.

    Once removed, head back to the Microsoft website, sign in to your account, and install the latest version.

    Optimize documents for storage

    Keeping Microsoft Office functioning properly means saving documents in their most optimized state. Resizing large images or graphics and not overloading your files with macros will help you maintain speedy performance in the long run.

    Speed up Microsoft Office automatically in minutes

    While all the above maintenance will help you speed up Microsoft Office, it can be time-consuming and finicky. Troubleshooting your app version, deleting and refreshing templates, and searching for temporary files is manual work and could eat up a few hours.

    To make things easy, you can use optimization software like CleanMyMac X, which will automatically detect and remove temporary and unused files to get your Microsoft Office running smoothly. Here’s how to do it:

    1. Download CleanMyMac X.
    2. Drag it into your Applications folder.
    3. Open it and run a general Smart Scan to start.
    4. Then run Optimization and Maintenance scans (which you can choose from the left-side panel) to target specific areas, such as freeing up RAM and reviewing your login items.
    5. Repeat the process every month or so.

    While following the above method of optimizing your Mac with CleanMyMac X is enough to remove any unnecessary clutter, the app’s sidebar menu offers even more options for increasing your Mac's speed and a handy uninstaller for quick and thorough uninstallations of apps you don’t need anymore.

    Ultimately, there are several ways to get Microsoft Office to run smoothly again. And although it’s entirely possible to manually do most of the cleanup manually, using an app like CleanMyMac X is a much faster and easier way to get rid of junk and ensure that your Mac performs at top speed.

      Laptop with CleanMyMac
      CleanMyMac X

      Your Mac. As good as new.