Microsoft Word 2019 for Mac works fine for me except with one document, in which I can never type more than a few keystrokes before Word crashes. I'm going bonkers trying to fix it, and I wonder whether anybody has any thoughts.


  • Word 2019 for Mac Home Edition (so no Office 365 subscription).
  • OS 10.14.6.
  • The document is 362 pages long and 3.2 MB.
  • I get a "Word hyphenation feature is not available" error whenever I open the document, but it's in Latin, so I'm not surprised.
  • So far, I've tried the following:
    1. restarting Word
    2. restarting computer
    3. saving as a .doc file and then resaving as a .docx file (there are features in .docx that I need for the document, so just using the .doc file is a no-go)
    4. clearing Word cache
    5. copying everything in the document and pasting into a new document (size reduces to 471 KB, so there's SOMETHING screwed up with the original, but the new document crashes in the same way as the old one, so it's something IN ADDITION to whatever's causing the crash).

Can anybody think of anything else I can try? Not being able to edit this document is becoming increasingly problematic.


I have had some luck by doing any of the following 3 tricks:

A DOCX is basically a zip-file containing a bunch of XML files with the actual text and (if any) the various pictures and other objects embedded in the document.
You can extract the content with any unzip utility. So make a fresh, empty DOCX file using Word. Extract this. This gives you a clean sets of basic files for a DOCX.
Now extract the bad file as well and move the actual XML's with the text over to the folder contain the empty DOCX. Leave everything else.
Zip the (formerly empty) DOCX file and give it the DOCX extension.
This should at least allow you to recover the text-content itself.
You will loose formatting, table of content, etc. so this may not be an option for you.

Another thing to attempt is to unzip the bad file and check each XML to see if it is properly constructed (e.g. not corrupt, no binary data in there, all opening tags have a close tag, etc.).
If an XML is badly formed you can usually fix it with a text-editor so it is at least a correct XML file, even if you loose some of the content if you need to cut out some corruption.
Then zip it up again and what Word makes of it.

3rd option: Load it in the Google Docs online editor. If that can load it you can save it as a new DOCX file from there and hopefully that copy will be OK.

  • I had the same issue, the DOCX file is corrupt. Although I didnt unzip the DOCX file, I just created a new file and copied the content from the old file to the new file.
    – fitzpaddy
    Oct 10 '20 at 14:57

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