Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 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: Opening a Word Document when Starting the Computer.

Opening a Word Document when Starting the Computer

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 8, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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Lou has a Word document that she would like to open automatically when she starts up her computer and was wondering if that was even possible to do.

Actually, it is relatively easy to do. When you start your computer, one of the things that Windows does is to open all the files contained in your system's Startup folder. If it is a program contained in the folder, then the program is run. If it is a document (such as a Word document), then the document is opened, which also means that Word is started.

In order to have Windows start Word and open a particular document upon booting, follow these general steps:

  1. Outside of Word (within Windows), locate the document that you want opened. (Use whatever method of locating the document you want; there are several within Windows.)
  2. Select the document file by clicking on it once, and then press Ctrl+C. This copies the document to the Clipboard.
  3. Open the Startup folder used by Windows. You do this in Vista, and Windows 7 by clicking the Start menu, clicking All Programs, right-clicking Startup, and then choosing Open.
  4. Right-click within the Startup folder. Windows displays a Context menu from which you should choose Paste Shortcut. Windows creates a shortcut, in the Startup folder, to your document.

It requires a bit more work to find the Startup folder in Windows 8 and Windows 10. It is important to note there are actually two Startup Folder locations in newer versions of Windows, one that applies to All Users accounts, and one that is unique to the Current User account. These two folders work together when determining which applications will launch when a user logs in. You can navigate to both of the Startup folders via File Explorer or navigate directly to the startup folders via the Run dialog box. Follow these steps to easily access the startup folders in Windows 8 and Windows 10:

  1. Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows key+R on the keyboard.
  2. Type shell:common startup (All Users account) or type shell:startup ( Current User account). A new File Explorer Window will open displaying the desired Startup folder.
  3. You are now ready to follow the above steps to open a particular document upon booting.

That's it. From now on, whenever you start your computer, the document will be opened automatically.

There is one caution to doing this, however: If Word has problems opening due to a corrupt Normal.dot file, corrupt printer driver, or corrupt document, it is possible that by making the document a part of your system startup, you could make your system unstable. It may be a better idea to paste the shortcut on your desktop, instead of in your Startup folder. Then, after starting Windows, it only takes a double-click to open the document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8301) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Opening a Word Document when Starting the Computer.

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. ...

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What is one less than 8?

2023-03-15 12:10:06

Jane Lawson

I tried this for an Excel document, but the principle is the same. This only works on start-ups after a full shut downs. If something such as hibernate is used, the file that is opened is the result of a saved version at the time of previous full shut down. The most recently saved version is still available – just dismiss the start-up version (click the “x” in the upper right of the window) and open the file directly through File Explorer.


2021-01-21 11:40:30

Joel Bartlett

Seems like this doesn't work anymore in win.10. Any advice on this?


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