Why Are the Fonts Grayed Out in My Word Doc?

By Marina Martin

It seems like everyone has run across a dimmed or grayed out font menu in Word, typically right before a big report or presentation is due. Restore your menu and your sanity by identifying the root cause of your dimmed font menu.

Protected Document

Document protection stops an end user from making changes to a Word document. It's typically turned on when sharing a document you want others to read, but not edit, but it can also be turned on by mistake. Confirm that document protection is off.

Word Isn't Activated

Microsoft Word is a paid software program, but is sometimes available for free for a timed trial. If a valid registration code isn't entered by the end of this trial, most features--including the font menu--will become unavailable.

Insufficient User Privileges

Sometimes an error in the Windows registry denies the current user access to certain features, including the font menu in Word. Fixing this error usually requires re-installing Word and editing the registry file.

Damaged Settings File

A damaged preferences file may prevent certain menu items from functioning In Office for Mac. Drag the existing preferences file out onto the desktop and re-launch Word to test it.

Word 5.1 Menus Enabled

Office for Mac has a Word 5.1 Menu option that will switch the current menu items into the previous Word 5.1 format. Accidentally toggling this option may result in a dimmed or missing font menu.