How to Make Microsoft Word the Default Word Processor

By Amy Dombrower

In Windows you can specify default programs to open specific types of files. If you have more than one word processor on your computer, you can specify which is the default application. If you want to make MS Word your default, you will have to specify this for various types of files because Word can open many of them.

Step 1

Click the "Start" button on your Windows computer.

Step 2

Click "Default Programs".

Step 3

Click "Associate a file type or protocol with a program".

Step 4

Scroll through the list of file extensions. You'll see that all the Microsoft Word-related file types, such as .doc, .docx. and .dot already have Microsoft Word as default. This makes sense, as Word is the creator of these file formats.

Step 5

Scroll down to other text-based formats, such as ".txt". This is the Plain Text format, which also can be opened in Microsoft Word. The default setting is to open text files in Notepad. To change it to Microsoft Word, select it and then click "Change Program". Select "Microsoft Office Word" under "Recommended Programs". Click "OK." Wait while Windows makes the change. Text files will now automatically open in Word.

Step 6

Repeat Steps 4 and 5 for any other text-based files, such as .rtf (Rich Text Format).

Step 7

Click "Close". Exit out of the "Default Programs" window.