Typing in Microsoft Word Is Very Slow Even Though the Computer's Resources Are Free

By Cee Jay

Typing a document in Microsoft Word is typically a trouble-free action, even on an aging system. If Word is lagging or slow to respond to your keystokes-- even after you have freed up resources from system memory--the problem lies somewhere else behind the scenes.

Step 1

Check the system requirements for the version of Word that you have. If your computer does not meet all the requirements--especially RAM--it will greatly affect the performance, even if resources are freed from the memory. A slowdown is most noticeable when working with documents over 50 pages long or those that contain graphics or embedded objects.

Step 2

Uninstall key loggers that run in the background. They are designed to record every character typed on your keyboard, monitoring keystrokes and storing the data in a file for future retrieval. Some are sophisticated enough to record the screen into a video file or to email the information to a third party. Key loggers are malicious in nature, usually installed with the goal of stealing passwords or other private information. Run a virus scan that is capable of detecting key loggers. Many key loggers hide themselves from virus scanners but might be detected by pressing "Ctrl+Alt+Del" and checking your computer's running processes.

Step 3

Install the hotfix from Microsoft that fixes a problem in Word 2002 where text that is typed into a table can lag. Text display is also slow when deleting text and only applies to tables formatted with the small-dots style border. This also occurs in Word 2003 and is fixable with a separate hotfix.

Step 4

Run the Disk Defragmenter located in the System Tools. Although this isn't necessary with a brand-new computer, eventually the files on the hard drive will become scattered. The more fragmented they become, the harder the computer has to work to find them. This affects the performance of every installed program, including Microsoft Word. Let the defragmenter run overnight or use the Task Scheduler to run it automatically .

Step 5

Increase the size of the virtual memory located in "System Properties">"Performance". This type of memory is actually space on the hard drive that is used as memory when needed. When your system needs more memory than what is available, Windows can slow to a crawl while utilizing the virtual memory on the hard drive, which is much slower than RAM. Set the minimum virtual memory to twice the size of the installed amount, or let Windows manage it.

Step 6

Turn off the AutoComplete feature built into Internet Explorer. AutoComplete attempts to guess the characters being typed by matching them with recent entries typed into Office. This happens while typing a name for the document with the "Save As" option and can cause a slow response. Disable AutoComplete under "Tools">"Internet Options">"Advanced."