How to Fix Mac Office 2011 Crashing in Yosemite [UPDATED X3]

In Apple, Application, Fix It, General, How To, HTD Tech Tip, Microsoft, Software by Michael Sheehan147 Comments

Recently, my  version of Office for Mac (Office 2011), started crashing on my MacBook Pro. Every time I launched Word, Excel or PowerPoint, the app would crash after a few seconds with an error asking if I wanted to recover my work, reopen the Office app and send the error to Microsoft. It didn’t matter if I opened a document directly or one of the Office applications, within a few seconds, the Office App would crash.

Fix Mac Office 2011 Crashing in Yosemite - Mac Office

I went searching for a solution on various forums but only seemed to find other people encountering the same issue. Supposedly these crashes have been occuring sporadically even back to some Yosemite betas.

Possible Ways to Fix Mac Office 2011 Crashing in Yosemite

Unfortunately, what may work for some doesn’t always work for others. However, instead of sitting and waiting to see if a common solution would come available (and you know that Microsoft WILL eventually release a patch to correct the issue), I wanted to try to find some other solutions on my own and quickly. Here are a few that you can try. I have only tested one way that actually worked for me (which I noted below).

Update 02/09/15: Please be sure to read through (and leave) comments below. It seems that the issue does re-occur periodically. I have had the most success using Yosemite Cache Cleaner doing a “Light Cache Cleaning” as noted below. I have also recently posted a How-To video showing some of the potential fixes below (as well as some fixes that didn’t work this time).

Update 05/19/15: Recently my Mac Office started crashing again. And the fixes that I outlined in this article didn’t work. There was a security update released by Microsoft today. While you can try running the Office Update app, it’s almost easier to head over to the Microsoft Office for Mac download site and download the Office 2011 14.5.1 update. Unfortunately, after install, this didn’t correct my issues, but it may help others. I will report back on other ways to resolve.

Update 05/20/15: After running all of my tricks listed in this article, I found one that isn’t listed that seems to have corrected the issue. HOW TO FIX: 1) go over to your User’s Library/Preferences folder. It is normally hidden but you can unhide by going to the Finder in the Dock, then head over to the “Go” menu and hold down the “Option” key. You will see the library. Once you are in the library, you need to delete the plist file for the Mac Office app that is crashing (I deleted Word, Excel & Powerpoint). Names are: com.microsoft.Excel.plist, com.microsoft.Word.plist, com.microsoft.Powerpoint.plist and/or com.microsoft.Outlook.plist. Then restart your computer. This seems to have worked for me. Please leave a comment if this worked!

Below is a video showing some of the steps you can do to try to fix this issue. Do note, this video is a bit long (about 8 minutes) because I wanted to show how some of the fixes actually DIDN’T work. Remember, it all depends on your Mac, the environment you have set up, and some other things that remain mysterious. The video is available directly on YouTube as well.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZoexBCE6wU]

Uninstall & Reinstall Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac

Some people have said to completely uninstall Office 2011 and then re-install it. You can definitely try that, but it may just have the same problem once you download the latest Service Pack 3 (14.4.6) from Microsoft. I didn’t want to do that. I was convinced there was another solution to prevent Mac Office 2011 crashing in Yosemite.

Do a Light Cache Cleaning

Cutting to the chase here, using the latest version of Yosemite Cache Cleaner (a definitely great utility that is worth the money – it’s only $9.99), eliminated the issue. I ran a Light Cache Local Cleaning and rebooted my Mac and Office apps ran without issue. Note, you can use Yosemite Cache Cleaner in trial mode and I believe that you can run the Light Local Cleaning in that mode. I couldn’t test this because I paid for the software.

Fix Mac Office 2011 Crashing in Yosemite - Light Cleaning

Interestingly, when I launched Word, it had to rebuild the Font Library.

So I decided to see if I could replicate the issue and the fix on a different computer. I installed the latest version of Yosemite (10.10.1) and then upgraded my Mac Office 2011 with the latest patch (14.4.6) which came out on 11/10/14 that seems to have caused the issue. Unfortunately, on two different machines, I could not replicate the error. That does not mean that it will not appear later on those machines.

Fix Mac Office 2011 Crashing in Yosemite - Mac SP3

Check Your Fonts

Another thing that I noticed (apart from the Font rebuild after doing the Cache cleaning) was that people were using Font Book to validate fonts. This may be part of the issue. You can check to see if you have any duplicate fonts and then delete the duplicates. Then reboot your Mac.

Fix Mac Office 2011 Crashing in Yosemite - Duplicate Fonts

Delete the Font Cache

Again, I’m not convinced that the Fonts (specifically Microsoft ones) are the culprits of this issue and I had wanted to try to test this out. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I couldn’t duplicate the issue on other machines of mine. IF ANY THE FIXES HERE WORK, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT!


Fix Mac Office 2011 Crashing in Yosemite - Clear Microsoft Font Cache

However, if you want to test this Font cache cleaning out, here is a free (and quite useful) utility that helps you do a variety of operations. OnyX (a free utility app) has been updated for Yosemite and has a section to clear out various caches including specific font caches. For those who have encountered the issue, please test using OnyX and see if you can delete the Microsoft Font Cache.
You can also delete the System, User and Apple fonts to test if those are causing issues.

Fix Mac Office 2011 Crashing in Yosemite - Clear Mac Font Cache

Lastly, you can use OnyX to purge a lot of other system cache, so you can try to see if some of those will help the Mac Office 2011 Crashing in Yosemite issue. Remember: be sure PRIOR to doing any of these items, that you have a full backup of your Mac.

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Did any of these fixes work for you? Did you encounter the Mac Office 2011 crashing in Yosemite? Please leave a comment letting me and others know what DID or DID NOT work.

HTD says: Hope this fix Mac Office 2011 Crashing in Yosemite worked for you! Let me know!