Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Cannot Open Multiple Word Documents.

Cannot Open Multiple Word Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 8, 2019)

1

Sharon indicated that she can only open one Word document at a time. Every time she opens a new document, the previous document automatically closes. She wonders how she can fix this condition.

Good question. Word definitely should not be working this way. If it happens with only a specific document (a specific document is open and it closes when you open another or when you go to open a specific document your previous document is always closed), then it could be because the document is corrupted in some manner. You'll want to do a bit of detective work to see if it is a specific document, and if it is, copy the text (minus the final paragraph mark) to a different document. The problem may then go away.

It is also possible that you really are able to open multiple documents, but that Word minimizes or hides all the documents except the one on which you are working. Check in Windows to see if there are multiple document windows open; you can then select the one you want to work with.

If the problem still exists, then it could be due to some sort of macro running on your system, or it could be due to a problem with Word itself. Try to run Word and disable any add-ins that may be loaded by using the following from the command line:

winword.exe /a

You can also try to disable any macros that are automatically run when Word is started by using this command:

winword.exe /m

Finally, you'll want to check the Startup folder for Word. You can locate the Startup folder by following these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the options and click File Locations. Word displays the File Locations dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The File Locations dialog box.

  5. In the list of File Types, choose Startup.
  6. Click on Modify.

The resulting dialog box indicates the location of the Startup folder being used by Word. Once you have the location of the Startup folder, close Word and use Windows to examine the contents of that folder. Move any programs or templates out of the folder and then restart Word. If the problem goes away, then you've found your culprit. If it doesn't go away, then you may want to reinstall Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7126) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Cannot Open Multiple Word Documents.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Finding Cells Filled with a Particular Color

Do you need to find cells that are formatted with a particular color? How you accomplish this task depends on your ...

Discover More

Leading Zeros in Page Numbers

Page numbers in Excel printouts are typically simple counters, without much chance for embellishment. If you want to add ...

Discover More

Getting a List of Folder Contents

There are a variety of methods you can use to get a list of files into a Word document. This tip examines a couple of ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Inserting a File Name without an Extension

Sometimes you might like to insert a file name into your document without including the file extension. The FILENAME ...

Discover More

Opening a Text File and Template from the Command Line

Word includes a command-line syntax that you can use to open files and do other operations. If you want to load a text ...

Discover More

Combining Documents

Need to combine quite a few text documents? A macro may be the easiest way to stuff them all into a single Word document.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two less than 5?

2019-06-08 05:22:58

Haresh Shah

Sir ,
You can open multiple documents in MS Word by using Detong's OfficeTab software. Similarly WPS office can also open multiple documents like browser tabs.

-
haresh Shah


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.