How to Reset Word to Default Settings on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Resetting Word to default settings on a Mac can seem daunting, but it’s a straightforward process. Whether your Word application is acting up, or you just prefer the original settings, getting back to the default setup is a breeze. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps, and you’ll have Word looking and functioning like it did when you first installed it.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Reset Word to Default Settings Mac

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand what these actions will do. Resetting Word to its default settings will revert all the preferences and customizations you’ve made back to their original state. This includes changes to the ribbon, toolbars, and any other customizations you’ve made throughout the application. However, this won’t affect any of your documents.

Step 1: Close Microsoft Word

Make sure Microsoft Word is completely closed before proceeding with the reset.

Closing Word ensures that the changes we’re about to make won’t be interrupted. If Word is running, it could potentially save your current settings, thwarting the reset process. So, it’s crucial to quit the application entirely.

Step 2: Open Finder

Navigate to your Finder to access the necessary folders for resetting Word.

Finder is the gateway to all the files and applications on your Mac. By using Finder, you’ll be able to locate the files that need to be removed or altered to reset Word to its default settings.

Step 3: Go to the Library Folder

In Finder, press the ‘Go’ menu and then hold down the ‘Option’ key to reveal the ‘Library’ folder.

The Library folder is usually hidden as it contains many of the settings and files that help your Mac and your applications run smoothly. By holding down the ‘Option’ key, you’ll be able to access this folder without changing your settings to show hidden files.

Step 4: Find the Preferences Folder

Inside the Library folder, look for a folder named ‘Preferences.’

The Preferences folder is where your Mac stores all the custom settings for your applications. This is where Word’s preferences file is located, which is what you’ll need to remove to reset Word to its default settings.

Step 5: Delete Word’s Preferences File

Locate the file named ‘’ and move it to the trash.

This file contains all the settings and preferences for Word. By moving it to the trash, you’re essentially deleting all the customizations you’ve made, thereby allowing Word to create a new preferences file with default settings next time it’s opened.

After completing these steps, when you open Word again, it will generate a new preferences file with all the default settings. The application should behave as it did when you first installed it, with no custom settings or preferences.

Tips on How to Reset Word to Default Settings Mac

  • Before you reset Word to default settings, it’s a good idea to take note of any customizations you’ve made that you want to reapply after the reset.
  • If you’re not sure about deleting the preferences file, you can simply move it to your desktop instead. If something goes wrong, you can always move it back.
  • Remember that resetting Word to default settings will not delete any of your documents. It only affects the application’s settings.
  • If you have custom templates you want to keep, make sure to back them up before resetting Word.
  • After resetting Word, it might take a bit longer to open the first time as it builds a new preferences file.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will resetting Word to default settings delete my documents?

No, resetting Word to default settings will not affect your documents. It only changes the application’s settings and preferences.

Can I undo the reset if I change my mind?

If you moved the preferences file to your desktop instead of deleting it, you can move it back to the Preferences folder to restore your settings. However, if you’ve deleted the file, you can’t undo the reset.

What if Word doesn’t work correctly after the reset?

If Word doesn’t function properly after the reset, there may be a bigger issue at play. You might need to reinstall the application to fix any underlying problems.

Will I lose my custom dictionary?

Your custom dictionary shouldn’t be affected by resetting Word’s settings. However, it’s always a good practice to back up such personal customizations.

Can I reset settings for other Microsoft Office applications the same way?

Yes, other Office applications have their own preferences files within the Library. You can reset them using similar steps but be sure to locate the correct preferences files for each application.


  1. Close Microsoft Word.
  2. Open Finder.
  3. Go to the Library Folder.
  4. Find the Preferences Folder.
  5. Delete Word’s Preferences File.


Resetting Word to default settings on your Mac is quite the undertaking, isn’t it? But, with the simple steps outlined above, you can breathe new life into your Word application in no time. Whether you’re troubleshooting issues or just longing for a fresh start, getting back to basics can make your writing experience feel brand new. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to reassess which customizations are truly essential for your workflow. Remember, while resetting your settings can feel like a step back, it’s often a leap forward in productivity and efficiency. So, go on, give your Word a clean slate, and watch as your creativity takes flight with a reset Word on your Mac.

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