Troubleshoot problems in Word using the ‘a’ switch

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September 11, 2011

With each new version, Microsoft keeps adding new features to its ever popular Microsoft Office suite and its component software like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel etc. But minor errors and issues pop up from time to time. Word has a useful feature that lets you troubleshoot and find where a problem persists. Using the ‘a’ switch, you can troubleshoot the issues in Microsoft Word. Here is how you use the ‘a’ switch with Microsoft Office. The ‘a’ switch disables the add-ins in Microsoft Word and also disables the global templates.

You first need to find the location where you Office Suite is installed. It may depend on the version of Office suite that you are using. Generally the location of the installation directory of Office suite will may look like this.

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12”

Now copy this location and open the Run dialogue box using Windows+R shortcut or from the Start menu. Now add a ‘ /a’ without the quotes to the end of it so that it looks like

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12” /a

Remember that /a should be outside the quotes. Now hit Enter. This will start up Microsoft Word without loading the add-ins and the global templates. This method of launching Word is only feasible for troubleshooting. It is not recommended to use the ‘/a’ switch for normal use because it will prevent you from retaining your settings in Microsoft Word. But using the ‘a’ switch can be really helpful to solve issues in Microsoft Word.

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