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13 Ways To Fix Crashes In Office 2016 For Mac

Important Update: Microsoft Office 2019 for Mac has now been released. We strongly recommend upgrading to Office 2019 as it fixes many of the problems users commonly experience in Office 2016.

If you’re having problems with Office 2016 for Mac especially Outlook 2016 crashes, Word 2016 crashing or Office 2016 crashing in Sierra, High Sierra or Mojave here’s a comprehensive list of solutions to repair Office 2016 on Mac.

If you need a quick fix or are in a hurry, remember that if you’ve got an Office 365 for Mac subscription, you can use the online version of Office 2016 until you’ve managed to fix the desktop version of Office 2016 on your Mac.

Alternatively, you can also install Windows on your Mac using Parallels to use the Windows version of Microsoft Office which is more stable than the Mac version.

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If you’re desperate to open your Outlook mails but can’t because Outlook keeps crashing, you may also find our guide on ways to open Outlook emails on Mac without using Outlook useful too.

With this in mind, here’s a list of 13 ways to fix Office 2016 for Mac when it keeps crashing.

1. Run Microsoft AutoUpdate

One thing you can guarantee with Microsoft software on Apple products is that there will always be glitches and problems, particularly when it comes to a huge office suite like Office. Most of the problems Mac Office users have regard various types of Outlook and Word crashes on Mac especially Outlook 2016 crashing on startup or hanging.

outlook 2016 el capitan crashes

Microsoft has already issued fixes for some of these via Microsoft AutoUpdate for Mac so we recommend you run that first by opening any Microsoft Office program, going to the Help Menu at the top of the screen and selecting “Check for Updates”.

Likewise, Apple has also issued updates for El Capitan users which you can get by opening the Mac App Store and clicking on the Updates button at the top of the screen. If you’re having problems with Office 2011 crashing in El Capitan, we also show you how to fix Office El Capitan problems in the 2011 version. We’ve attempted to address all of the most common Office 2016 for Mac crashes here but if we’ve missed anything, let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help. This article starts with Outlook fixes and then moves on to Word so scroll down if it’s just Word 2016 you’re having problems with.

The other important thing to note is that Office 2016 for Mac only works with OS X 10.10 Yosemite or higher – it does not work with OS X 10.9 Mavericks or lower so make sure you are definitely running OS X 10.10 Yosemite, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, macOS Sierra 10.12 or macOS 10.13 High Sierra before proceeding. Before trying any of these fixes, we also recommend uninstalling any anti-virus software you may be using on your Mac. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac and Kaspersky Total Security for Mac in particular can sometimes conflict with apps and for those on enterprise networks, we also recommend uninstalling Kaspersky Network Agent and Kaspersky Endpoint Security if you’re running them and then try opening Office 2016 on Mac again.

2. Rebuild Office 2016 For Mac Database

In Office 2011, a common way to fix this was to rebuild the Office 2011 database (also known as creating a new identity). However, Microsoft has removed this feature in Office 2016 for Mac claiming Office database rebuilds are now done automatically on Mac. Office 2016 for Mac will only prompt you to rebuild the database if it encounters a problem but this doesn’t always work anyway and you risk losing all of your mail if it doesn’t repair properly:

office 2016 mac rebuild database

The way round this is to create a new Profile in Office 2016 for Mac instead (previously called an “Identity” in Office 2011). Note that if you use Microsoft Exchange, creating a new profile will delete any data that has not yet been synchronized with Exchange including contacts so it’s advisable to backup any local data in Outlook on your Mac.

Here’s how to create a new identity in Office 2016 using El Capitan, Sierra and High Sierra:

  1. Open your Applications folder and find Microsoft Outlook
  2. Hold down the CTRL key and then click on Microsoft Outlook to see the contextual menu and select “Show Package Contents”office 2016 crashing el capitan - create outlook profile
  3. In the Contents > SharedSupport folder, double-click on Outlook Profile Manager (which was previously called Database Utility in Office 2011).

outlook 2016 crashes el capitan - outlook profile manager

  1. In the Outlook Profile Manager window, click on the (+) button to give the new profile a name.
  2. Finally, click the Options button and click Set as Default

You can also try this for Office 2011 although it seems less likely to work regarding problems with El Capitan. In Outlook 2011, you simply hold down the Option key when launching Outlook to open the Database Utility to create a new Identity (now called “Profiles” in Office 2016).

3. Outlook 2016 Crashes Sending Mail

If you’re finding that Outlook 2016 is crashing or freezing every time you try to send mail or Outlook 2016 for Mac won’t send email, then the easiest solution is simply to create a second identical Outlook account and then delete the first one. Here’s how to add a new account or profile in Outlook 2016.

  • On the setup page, click Add Account. Or you can click the Tools tab at the top of Outlook and click on Accounts:outlook 2016 freezing mac - add new account

The Outlook 2016 account wizard will then start:

outlook 2016 crashes mac - create outlook account

  • Select Add Account and then the account type you want – either Exchange or Office 365 to add your email account. Click Other Email to add your personal email account such as Outlook web account, Gmail, Yahoo mail etc.
  • Enter your account information and click Add Account. Click the “configure automatically” check box at the bottom which will automatically enter the right technical details for your account. If this doesn’t work however, you can enter the details manually for an Outlook account using the details below. For Gmail and other providers, you’ll have to Google for the right details:
  • Fields IMAP
    Incoming server
    Port for the incoming server 993
    Outgoing server
    Port for the outgoing server 587

You then simply import all of your mail from your old account into the new one. To do this you go back to the new account wizard but instead of clicking Add Account, you click Import instead. You then simply select the Outlook account on your Mac to import and all your data will be transferred automatically. You can delete the old account in account manager but we strongly advise making a backup of it before doing so.

4. Outlook 2016 Crashes On Startup

If you find that Outlook keeps crashing when you try to open it or keeps giving you an “Office 365 Active Subscription” error message, the solution is to delete the Outlook 2011 preferences file from your current installation of Outlook on your Mac. Don’t worry, this won’t affect Outlook 2011 when you want to go back to it – it will continue to work as normal.

1. Search for Terminal on your Mac by going to the spyglass in the top right corner and searching for “Terminal”:office 2016 mac problems - open terminal mac

2. In terminal type: defaults delete and press Enter:office 2016 mac outlook crash 3. Then type: killall cfprefsd to kill the cached preferences and press Enter: office for mac 2016 outlook crash - outlook prefs4. Relaunch Outlook and you should find it works again. If you were attempting to import an Outlook 2011 PST file before the crash and Outlook prompts you to import again, you can skip it because the PST will already have been imported previously. If your mail isn’t there, go to File – Import and then browse to your Outlook 2011 PST file. This fix will also start syncing Outlook 2016 with Office 365 and you should start to see your calendar and other data synchronizing.

5. Outlook 2016 With Exchange Errors

If you’re having problems adding an Exchange account to Outlook 2016 then it’s probably because your version of Exchange is not supported. The error message will usually be something like:

The data contains an exchange 2010 SP1 or older account




error -3253 … Connection to the server failed or was dropped

Office 2016 For Mac only supports Exchange 2010 SP2 or higher – meaning you’ll have to upgrade Exchange if you’re still using Exchange 2010 SPP1 or Exchange 2007.

6. Update Microsoft Error Reporting

If you’ve just upgraded to Office 2016 on your Mac, you also need to make sure that Microsoft Error Reporting is updated to at least version 2.2.9. If not, the older version of Microsoft Error Reporter will keep conflicting with Outlook 2016 and make it crash. To update, simply go to the Apple logo in the top left corner of your Mac and select “Software Update…” and install the available updates.

outlook 2016 crashes mac - microsoft error reporting

7. Outlook Hangs Or Crashes Importing PST Files

This is unfortunately a recurring problem with Outlook on Mac. Large PST files, especially those more than a few GB, tend to send Outlook into a tailspin. The best advice is to go away and have a cup of tea and leave Outlook to get on with it as it can take a long time. However, if you eventually end up with this message:

Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to close

Sometimes the solution for this is to download the latest update to Outlook or Office for Mac. However, since no updates are available yet for Office 2016 for Mac, there’s not much you can do until Microsoft issue one. If you haven’t already, you can try compacting the PST file by going to Account Settings – Data Files and Compact Files. There are also some third party apps that split PST files but they only work on PC.

8. Outlook 2016 Won’t Import Rules From Windows

Office 2016 on Mac seems to have a problem importing rules from Outlook for Windows. Unfortunately, there’s no solution for this other than to enter them manually but you can speed things up by using categories to enter new rules in Outlook 2016.

office 2016 problem outlook not importing rules - categories

9. Outlook Won’t Sync With, iCloud etc

Unfortunately Outlook 2016 won’t sync Contacts and Calendars with, iCloud or Gmail. This is because Outlook for Mac still does not support CalDAV or CardDAV (although Outlook for Mac does support iCloud Mail). This is a known Office 2016 for Mac syncing bug that Microsoft are aware of but it remains to be seen whether it will be fixed in the final release.

These are the most common Outlook 2016 crashes on Mac but here are a few other Office 2016 for Mac problems you may be struggling with.

10. OneDrive For Business Document Cache Error

If you’re using Office 2016 with OneDrive For Business and are receiving the error:

A problem occurred while accessing the office document cache. Do you want to repair this problem?

Whether you choose to try and repair the problem or not, you’ll probably find that OneDrive For Business will then hog your Mac’s CPU and crash. To fix this, you must simply delete your OfficeFileCache.

1. Close OneDrive For Business

2. Go to: ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Microsoft/AppData/Microsoft/Office/15.0/OfficeFileCache

If you have trouble finding it, the easiest way is to go to Finder and select Go in the Menu Bar, hold down the ALT key and you will see the Library folder appear:How to find Library folder Mac

3. When you’ve found the OfficeFileCache file, delete it, restart OneDrive For Business and it should work.

11. How To Fix Word 2016 Crashes

If you’ve been having problems with Word 2016 crashing on your Mac, then there’s actually a simple solution to fix most of them. There are a variety of problems and issues in Office 2016 For Mac that mean Word 2016 keeps crashing, some with error messages and others that just display the spinning beach ball of death and require you to Force Quit. Some people find that simply selecting or editing text in Word 2016 makes it freeze and crash while for others it won’t launch or startup. The frustrating thing for Mac users is that many of these bugs didn’t affect the Preview version of Office 2016 For Mac and only started to emerge once the final version was released. The solution usually involves updating Word via Microsoft Update but it depends on the type of problems you are experiencing.

If Word freezes or crashes when opening a file and you’re getting the message: “Unexpected critical error: Can’t open program”:

word 2016 mac crashes - critical error

Or if you’re seeing a “Can’t load Visual Basic For Applications” error:

word 2016 for mac crashes visual basic

Or if you’re experiencing an error a few minutes after starting it such as this “Microsoft Word has encountered a problem and needs to close” error then there a few ways to fix all of these problems.

word 2016 for mac crash

The first and most common solution is to run Microsoft AutoUpdate from within Office 2016 for Mac. Simply go to the “Help” menu and then select “Check For Updates” and many of the issues have already been solved by Microsoft.

word 2016 crashes mac - microsoft autoupdate

This cause of the bugs usually range from simple conflicts with other applications to an inability of Word to open diacritic accent characters and degree symbols in the names of files (basically unusual, non-standard or Chinese characters or letters) which Word 2016 can’t handle in certain cases. Some crashes are also due to corrupted template or preferences files which if not solved via software update, can be fixed by creating a new user profile. Finally, some bugs are simply due to trying to directly open Word files from online storage solutions such as Dropbox.

2. If this doesn’t work for you and you find that Word still crashes when you try to open a document, try opening Word first and then opening the file in it rather than double clicking on a file to open it. This simple workaround seems to have worked for some users at least.

3. If you’re experiencing crashes when selecting “Save” or “Save As…” and are using a developer preview of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, then simply update the developer preview to the latest version and the bug should be fixed.

If none of this works and you desperately need to edit a Word document to meet a deadline, we strongly recommend using Apple’s equivalent of Word which is Pages and can open Word .docx documents. Alternatively check out our article on the Best Alternatives to Word On Mac.

12. Will Office 2016 Copy Over Office 2011?

No. You can safely install Office 2016 and it will not copy over or mess-up your Office 2011 files. Office 2011 uses a different location for files: ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities while Office 2016 Preview uses ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/

13. If You Still Haven’t Found A Solution

Microsoft claims to be aware of the problems with Office 2016 for Mac and has promised to issue fixes soon. However, if you can’t wait until then, we recommend contacting Microsoft Office Support or you can report problems from within Office 2016. If you’re experiencing regular crashes in Office 2016, it helps if you paste in the the crash stack or error report so that Microsoft can pinpoint the exact problem. If you don’t get an error report because Outlook or Office just freezes or hangs, go to your Applications folder and open Activity Monitor and then take a snapshot of a Sample Process by selecting the small Settings cog at the top of the Activity Monitor window:office 2016 crashing el capitan - sample process

You can also give feedback to Microsoft from within Office 2016 by selecting the small smiley face in the top right corner and explaining your problem or pasting in any crash reports or logs that you have.

office 2016 for mac review - outlook crashes


If none of these fixes repair Office 2016 on your Mac and remember that if you have a subscription to Office 365, you can check your mail using the web version of Outlook and Office 365.

One last word of advice. If you need a reliable long term backup solution to problems with Office on your Mac, the only other solution is to install Windows on Mac and install Microsoft Office 2016 on that. It’s a bit of hassle to install and setup but nowadays you can run Windows 10 on Mac for free.

If however Office 2016 for Mac crashes all the time and you’ve simply had enough of Microsoft products, here we show you how to completely uninstall Office 2016 for Mac.

We hope these tips have helped you stop Outlook 2016 and Word 2016 from crashing on your Mac. If you’re struggling with other bugs or problems with Office 2016 For Mac or, let us know in the comments below and we’ll try to help.

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44 Responses

  1. Thomas

    I had all office 2016 apps crashing on my mac after the upgrade from office 2011. A nightmare. No way to get to the update feature, because the programs didn’t even start. I ended up downloading external updaters for each program (Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook) here:, after which each of the programs worked. I then used the internal “Check for update” to upgrade to the last version.

  2. Patrick

    I have had Office for Mac 2016 on my MBP basically since it came out and I havent had many issues after they worked out some of the original bugs. These past 2 or 3 weeks though, Outlook has been hogging a lot of my resources and I am not sure why it is doing it all of a sudden? Have you all heard about any issues with recent updates or anything? I only have 570 emails in my inbox so nothing to bad

    • MacHow2

      There was an update a few weeks ago to Office 2016 for Mac. The update history is here. If it doesn’t help, try some of the Outlook fixes we’ve suggested in the article, especially setting up a new Outlook account profile.

  3. Sue

    I am having a problem with newer versions: the installed Word for Mac 2016 v. 15.4 shuts down abruptly as I edit a document. My iMac is new and running High Sierra 10.13.1. My other problem is drifting — that is, the document shifts around, especially from side to side either by itself or when I’m trying to navigate up and down in a document. This happens with my old plug in mouse from 2008 and my new rechargeable Mighty Mouse 2. I’m a writer, and what I need is reliability and the ability to write, share, edit and save — not a multitude of features I’ll never use. My 2008 iMac running word 2004 worked so much better. You seem to really know Macs and MS. Any suggestions?


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