How to Reset Microsoft Word to Default Factory Settings: A Step-by-Step Guide

Resetting Microsoft Word to its default factory settings is akin to giving the program a fresh start. To accomplish this task, you need to delete the Word’s registry values and let it rebuild them anew when you restart the program. It’s a simple process that can help resolve issues and restore Word to its original, out-of-the-box state.

After completing the reset, Microsoft Word will have its default settings restored. This means any customization, including changes to the ribbon, Quick Access Toolbar, and Word options, will be lost. Documents and templates, however, will remain unaffected.


Microsoft Word, a staple in the realm of word processing, is a powerhouse for creating documents, resumes, reports, and more. But sometimes, it can go a little haywire. Maybe it’s not opening files correctly, or the formatting keeps going off the rails. Or perhaps you’re just longing for the days when your Word interface was uncluttered and simple. Whatever the reason, resetting Word to its default settings can often be the magic fix you need.

This topic is particularly relevant for those who frequently use Word for work or school and need it to function seamlessly. Over time, the program may accumulate a myriad of customized settings that can cause unexpected behavior or slow down performance. For troubleshooting or just to improve the overall experience, knowing how to reset it can save the day. Plus, it’s a handy skill for IT professionals who manage multiple computers and need to standardize the Word setup across various machines.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Reset Microsoft Word to Default Factory Settings

Before diving into the steps, understand that this process will wipe out all the customizations you’ve made in Word. This includes personalized settings for the ribbon, Quick Access Toolbar, and Word options. However, it won’t affect your documents or templates.

Step 1: Close Microsoft Word

Ensure that Microsoft Word is completely shut down before proceeding.
Closing Word ensures that the changes we make will be applied correctly when it restarts. If Word is running while you try to reset it, the process might not work as expected.

Step 2: Access the Windows Registry Editor

Open the Run dialog box by pressing the Windows key + R, type “regedit”, and press Enter.
The Windows Registry Editor is where all the settings for your programs are stored, including Microsoft Word. It’s important to be careful while using the Registry Editor as making incorrect changes can affect the functioning of your system.

Step 3: Navigate to the Word Registry Key

Go to the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOfficeX.0Word, where “X.0” corresponds to your version of Office (e.g., “16.0” for Office 2016).
This registry key contains all the settings for Microsoft Word. By navigating here, we are pinpointing exactly where the changes need to be made.

Step 4: Delete the Word Data Registry Subkey

Right-click on the “Data” subkey and select “Delete”. Confirm the action if prompted.
Deleting the “Data” subkey is what resets Word to its default settings. When you restart Word, it will recreate this subkey with all the default settings.

Step 5: Close the Registry Editor and Restart Word

After deleting the “Data” subkey, close the Registry Editor and open Microsoft Word.
Upon restarting, Word will rebuild the deleted settings to their default values, effectively resetting the program.


Resolves IssuesResetting Word can fix various problems such as frequent crashing, corrupt template files, and issues with add-ins.
Improves PerformanceRestoring default settings can enhance the performance of Word if it has become sluggish due to heavy customization.
StandardizationFor IT professionals, resetting Word to its factory settings allows for a standardized setup across multiple computers.


Loss of CustomizationResetting Word will remove any personalized settings, which can be inconvenient if you’ve heavily customized the program.
Time-ConsumingHaving to reconfigure settings after a reset can be time-consuming, especially if you had a lot of customizations.
Risk of ErrorUsing the Registry Editor carries a risk of making a mistake that could affect other programs or system stability.

Additional Information

When you reset Microsoft Word to its default factory settings, it’s like giving the software a clean slate. This process can be particularly helpful when troubleshooting issues or if you feel like Word has become too cluttered with unnecessary customizations. However, remember to back up your registry before making changes, just in case something goes awry. Also, note that any custom dictionary settings or AutoCorrect changes you’ve made will also be reset.

Moreover, if you’re an IT professional managing multiple devices, creating a script to automate this process could save you a significant amount of time. And for those concerned about losing their customized settings, consider exporting your Word settings before resetting so you can easily reapply them later.

Lastly, remember that this reset does not affect any of your saved documents or installed add-ins. It only resets the Word program settings.


  1. Close Microsoft Word.
  2. Open the Windows Registry Editor.
  3. Navigate to the Word registry key.
  4. Delete the “Data” subkey.
  5. Close the Registry Editor and restart Word.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will resetting Word delete my documents?

No, resetting Word only affects the program’s settings. Your documents and templates will remain intact.

Can I back up my Word settings before resetting?

Yes, you can export your Word settings from the Registry Editor prior to resetting. This allows you to re-import them later if desired.

What if I make a mistake in the Registry Editor?

Making a backup of your registry before making changes is always recommended. If an error occurs, you can restore the registry from the backup.

Will this process affect other Office programs?

No, the reset process is specific to Word and will not impact other Office programs like Excel or PowerPoint.

Can I reset Word without using the Registry Editor?

No, to fully reset Word to default settings, the Registry Editor must be used to delete the specific subkey.


Resetting Microsoft Word to default factory settings can be a valuable troubleshooting tool or a way to start with a clean slate. It’s a relatively straightforward process that involves deleting a specific subkey in the Windows Registry Editor. While the thought of tinkering with the registry may seem daunting to some, following the steps outlined in this article will ensure a safe and successful reset.

For those who frequently customize their Word settings, consider backing up your registry before proceeding with the reset. This way, you can restore your personalized configurations after the process. Remember, resetting Word doesn’t affect your documents, just the program’s behavior and settings. With this fresh start, you can enjoy a smoother, perhaps even speedier, Word experience. Happy typing!