Welcome to the Office Mac Help Site About | Blog | Links | Glossary | Feedback | Downloads | Help

EXC_BAD_ACCESS Error

This is a complicated error with several options to fix. It could be a simple fix of deleting preference files to repairing your drive. This error is for multiple Office applications thus adding to the confusion over what is causing the error.

  • If you have windows in full screen mode, exit out of full screen mode in any Word document.
  • Check for database corruption in Entourage or Outlook Identity.

Eliminate your Identity first by creating a new Identity. Set the new identity as default and open.

If a new identity opens the problem is corruption in your identity. You need to rebuild.

Rebuild Entourage

Rebuild Outlook

If a new identity fails to open, then try one of the following fixes.

With all Office applications shut down:

1) Delete Preferences then restart your computer.

In your User's Library/Preferences

Note: In Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks and Yosemite, the User's Library folder is hidden by default. To unhide: Select the Finder in the Dock. Under Go in the Menu bar > hold down the Option key and you’ll see the Library.

  1. Delete the plist file for app that is crashing:
    1. com.microsoft.Excel.plist
    2. com.microsoft.Word.plist
    3. com.microsoft.Powerpoint.plist
    4. com.microsoft.Outlook.plist
  2. Microsoft/Office 2011 (the whole folder) (Note MSFT moved this folder to the User's Library/Application Support/Microsoft folders in 14.2.0.

2) If removing preferences fails....

If the following files exist, Remove or rename them:

~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Word Settings (10)

~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Word Settings (11)

Normal Template:

1) Track down all instances of pre-2008 Normal template on your computer, and drag them to your desktop. The file is called simply "Normal" and has no extension.

2) Find and drag the file Normal.dotm to your desktop. Unless you have moved it, it should be in

~ /Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/

Re-start computer after removing files.

3) Run Repair Permissions Don't run from CD. Updates contain a newer versions of the application's permissions.

  1. Open Disk Utility in your Applications/Utility folder.
  2. Click on the First Aid tab and select Repair Permissions
  3. Click on the icon for your boot volume.
  4. Click the repair permissions button.

4) Repair Drive using Disk Utility

To repair your startup disk, you must startup from your Mac OS X Install disc or another drive on which Mac OS X is installed.

Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks and Yosemite have a Recovery Drive that can be used to repair your drive. http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4718

Choose Disk Utility from the Utilities menu at the top of the screen.

Open Disk Utility

  • Click on the First Aid tab.
  • Select your drive from the sidebar
  • Select Repair Disk
  • Restart computer normally

5) Download and run Apple Combo

It wouldn't hurt to download and run the latest Apple combo over your current install. A combo goes back and refreshes all files. More info