Word 2016 for mac - Won't Save or Save As


  • Since I upgraded to Word 2016 for mac from the online download store, I've had spotty saving capability, and now it has stopped saving 90% of the time. I even tried to copy and paste it into a new document and it still won't save. Save and save as are both not working, even after I have updated everything, and run all the updates available. This is becoming a problem, help!

    • Edited by kenzikay Monday, July 18, 2016 4:02 PM
    Monday, July 18, 2016 4:01 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    What is the OS X Version and what is the Word 2016 version? Please make sure both are the latest version and then check if this issue continues.

    Did you get any error message when it failed to save or save as?

    Does the issue occur when creating and saving a new file or only when editing and trying to save an existing file?

    Does this issue happen to other Office programs, such as Excel or PowerPoint?

    In addition, some users were able to fix a similar issue via uninstalling and then reinstalling Office, you may also have try.

    Please let me know the result.


    Steve Fan
    TechNet Community Support

    Please mark the reply as an answer if you find it is helpful.

    If you have feedback for TechNet Support, contact
    Tuesday, July 19, 2016 6:50 AM
  • OS X and Word are all latest versions with most current updates.

    No error messages, just doesn't save or save as.

    Sometimes it will give me a save pop-up when I close the document, but not always.

    It is both saving a new file and editing existing files. I tried to covert the documents before trying to save to see if that helped, it did not.

    I don't use excel or powerpoint, but I tried them for this purpose and things saved fine.

    I literally just installed this program a month ago, I have already uninstalled and reinstalled.

    Still not working...

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016 3:29 PM
  • Hi ... any luck with this particular oblem. I'm having the same issue!! Especially with Save As.
    Thursday, November 24, 2016 4:24 AM
  • Having the same problem.  Was this ever resolved?
    Friday, January 13, 2017 11:21 PM
  • I'm having the same problem.  Just updated Office this morning.
    Wednesday, February 8, 2017 4:17 PM
  • I am encountering the same problem and nobody seems to have found the solution.
    Monday, March 6, 2017 6:09 PM
  • Same problem. Happens intermittently, but resolves itself when I restart Word and the computer.

    At the moment, I have a document with lots of track changes and comments that isn't saving and I didn't realize it until hours later. While I can restart the computer to get Word to cooperate again, I need a way to save this file before I do that. I can copy and paste it into TextEdit and save that way, but then I'll lose all of the track change and comments information. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Monday, April 10, 2017 2:12 PM
  • Yep this is also happening w/ mine and I have no idea how to fix it... still no response about it?
    Tuesday, April 25, 2017 5:35 PM
  • I am having the same issue.  Please notify me when a solution is found.
    Sunday, May 14, 2017 5:43 AM
  • I am experiencing the same problem, but only when using the "block" style documents - impossible to save them, I do everything and there's no error message, it looks like they got saved but if I try to close the document, it says it hasn't been saved. Please let me know when this problem is resolved! It looks like it's been bugging people for quite a while, it's upsetting to see it still hasn't been resolved since!
    Thursday, June 15, 2017 1:28 PM
  • I'm having the same problem. Recently updated Office on my Mac and now the files wont "Save As."  For instance, I made changes to an existing word document and wanted to save it as a new draft.  I Save As and make the file name change, but this isn't reflected in the document name or the Finder.  Haven't tried restarting yet, but I see I'm not the only one with this issue. 
    • Edited by mdonick Wednesday, June 21, 2017 3:01 PM
    Wednesday, June 21, 2017 3:01 PM
  • Wow. So many people with the same problem as me and no solution! I am just now starting to realize just how terrible Microsoft Word is. I think switching to different software may be the best solution as the customer service doesn't seem to be working either.
    Wednesday, June 21, 2017 9:07 PM
  • I had the same issu. I thought it might be because I was trying to save my file on my google drive account. I was connected on two different computer (1 Mac and 1 PC) on my google drive account at the same time. When I disconnected from the other computer (PC), I was able to save on my Mac.
    Thursday, June 29, 2017 4:45 PM
  • I had the same issue. Needed to save changes but the save prompt wasn't showing up.

    I bypassed this by clicking on the Word icon within the document and dragging and dropping it onto the desktop, this made the save prompt appear and I was able to save it to my desktop.

    After saving, I restarted word so it wouldn't happen again.

    Monday, July 24, 2017 6:33 PM
  • Got it ;-)
    Left of the Word icon in the doc, there is a pull down (arrow) menu, in which 'save as' can be selected, also to customize the quick access toolbar.
    Hope this helps
    Monday, July 31, 2017 7:56 PM
  • This doesn't work - it only adds the save as icon to the dock - which is available through the file menu anyway. Strangely, when you drag the document to the desktop it appears under a different name!!! I got around this once by changing file name using Finder - but there is something really odd going on. This must be a bug surely?
    • Proposed as answer by ADF21 Friday, April 13, 2018 3:17 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by ADF21 Friday, April 13, 2018 3:17 PM
    Wednesday, August 2, 2017 1:05 PM
  • Having the same problem with Word Version 15.36, and OS X Sierra 10.12.5.  

    Clicking "Save" or "Save As" brings up the spinning color wheel while word freezes for about 30 seconds, then the app unfreezes, but nothing's saved and there's no Save As dialog box. 

    I was able to copy and paste my document into TextEdit, close Word (agreeing that I didn't want to save my work), then reopen Word, paste back into my document and save. 

    Clearly a bug that's affecting a decent number of users, and has been for over 6-months.  

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017 9:59 PM
  • Just had the same issue—unable to save a document. I had made one successful save when I first created the document and there were only a few lines in it. When I was having trouble saving after that and when I was finished with the 2-page document, I checked Quick Look and only those original few lines were there. 

    I copied and pasted my entire document to an email to myself (I wasn't using Track Changes). Then quit Word. When I reopened Word, I selected File/Recents and opened the document. It was there in its entirety, apparently having been saved without my knowing. Lucky? Worth a try. 

    Now I've started a second document, did a Save As, then added to it, and then successfully used Save. 

    Monday, August 28, 2017 3:46 PM
  • Hello all, we are seeing this issue on an iMac and mac mini, both Sierra 10.12.5 latest updates for office 2016. I can reproduce the problem saving to our network share consistently when saving. Any idea what is going on or if there is a fix, or a bug report?
    Wednesday, September 6, 2017 6:46 PM
  • correction: we can save as, and that works, but click save throw the error
    Wednesday, September 6, 2017 6:46 PM
  • Hi,

    I am having this exact same problem. When i click save or save as, either on the toolbar or the drop down menu nothing happens. When i close the document I get the box coming up asking if I want to save before exiting. I have university assignments to do and I'm scared to do them on my computer because of the problems with saving! Did anyone find out a solution? I have checked and there are no updates available for either my iOS or microsoft.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2017 5:56 PM
  • I've seen a work around for the problem.  When SIGN IN comes up, I just click SKIP sign in.  Then Save as and Save worked.  Using Macbook Air.

    However I'm looking at another issue now where saving seems to overwrite other files...

    Monday, September 18, 2017 3:23 AM
  • I have the same problem, but found when I copied and pasted my document to a new screen, I was able to Save it. This sounds bizarre, but it worked. Absolutely impossible to Save in Document 1, but possible in Document 2. 

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017 11:19 AM
  • Hi. exactly same issue. help !  

    Friday, September 22, 2017 10:00 AM
  • I have tried opening my Word documents on the PC from an external drive formatted with the ex-fat file formatting and those documents can "Save As" on the PC.  The SAME drive will open Word Documents on the MAC and save the changes but it will not do the "Save As" and it states at the bottom the "recommend compatibility issues" check.  It also shows the message that docx is the xml-based format that is used and it "cannot store VBA macro code."  It has been going on all week.  I thought it was just my set up because I am trying to migrate documents on a Seagate drive that was not ex-fat formatted and the issue there on the MAC is that it opens only a Read Only copy of anything saved on an external drive that is not formatted for ex-fat.  I   Has anyone had the problem after working in I-Cloud?  Could the I-Cloud settings have made some universal change?  I had dragged things into i-cloud to try to get them to transfer from one drive to the other and was afraid I changed some settings in the process without knowing?

    Friday, September 22, 2017 4:08 PM
  • Sorry, correction, the drive that did is not formatted to transfer is a FREEgate drive not Seagate.  The Seagate formatted in NTFS.
    • Proposed as answer by EFMann Friday, September 22, 2017 5:38 PM
    Friday, September 22, 2017 4:12 PM
  • It only worked for me when I changed the save format to Word 97-2004 .doc
    Saturday, September 30, 2017 2:31 PM
  • Hi! I think I have the solution.

    The "Save as" drop down window has a box in the left bottom location, (below the Favorites list) saying: "On My Mac" and you have to click on that bloody button to make the Save function work. After clicking it will change to "Online Locations," but you just ignore that, the "Save" button will come alive and work like a charm.

    Send me a note after you tried it and found it working, or not, because I wish to know if it is really the universal solution:

    Good luck with it!

    Tuesday, October 3, 2017 10:31 AM
  • I am having the same program. Brand new MAC, brand new Microsoft suite.  

    Not able to get a 'save as' drop down window at all, so not able to try Ambator's suggestion. 

    Tuesday, October 3, 2017 3:05 PM
  • Tried it it did not help.  I was able to save 2 other documents today but the last 3 no way!

    Friday, October 6, 2017 7:58 PM
  • To solve this simply change the file format to the previous 97 version of microsoft word, save it, you'll see compatibility mode at the top, then save as again, but change the file format back to the newer version and you are golden.
    Saturday, October 7, 2017 6:35 PM
  • How do I change the file format to the previous 97 version if I can't get a "Save as" box? Thank you.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2017 2:44 PM
  • Works for me.  Every time.  Thanks so much.
    • Edited by Laser12345 Monday, October 16, 2017 3:14 AM
    Monday, October 16, 2017 3:14 AM
  • Ditto this issue. Just upgraded - am on a Mac. Please fix - what a terrible bug!
    Friday, October 27, 2017 7:43 PM
  • I had the exact same issue. I found a way to work around it for now until they fix this bug. 

    Click on the drop down menu and select "Save As." Then look for the File Format box in the lower right hand corner of the Save As box you should be in. Change the file format to Word 97-2004 (.doc) Click save. It will save your document in Compatibility Mode. Close Word. Reopen Word and in the drop down menu select "Open Recent." Select the document you just saved. Once it's opened, go to the drop down menu again and select "Save As" and select file format drop down again and select the top option Word Document (.docx) This is the file format you originally tried to save it as. You will get a box that pops up letting you know that you are converting to an online XML file available on the newest versions of Word and that some of the original formatting on your document may be affected. Click OK after reading the message. Your document will be saved as a .docx now and you will be good to go. Per the warning message, double check the formatting and appearance of your document just in case something did change with it before you submit your document anywhere. Mine looked fine.

    I hope this helps everyone!

    Monday, October 30, 2017 5:32 AM
  • Save As Word 97  doesn't help.  I have to restart Word to get the Save As menu to show up.  I can save the file by overwriting one particular file before I restart word, but i messes up my format. The only way to fix the format I found was to copy the text to another file already formatted the way I want it.  Then I get the same response when doing Save As Word 97, i.e. no response at all.  Leaves the file name unchanged and saves nothing.
    Saturday, November 11, 2017 2:37 AM
  • Worked for me - thanks!

    Sunday, November 12, 2017 4:17 PM
  • Here's what happened to me.  Mac OS 10.11.6, MS Office 2016.  Working in Excel and Save, Save As and Save As Template choices were grayed out (unavailable).  To make changes and use these options I chose to close the spreadsheet then had to sign into my MS account to activate MS Office.  After that all three save options were available.

    This sounds like one of Apple's tricks to control how you use their products.

    Thursday, November 16, 2017 4:04 PM
  • My fix to this was to Save As 'Word 97/2004', then in the new document (File) 'Convert Document.' The dialog box said it would use the latest format and that some formatting might be lost. Seems to have addressed Word seizing up (and requiring a Force Quit)

    • Edited by ithomson60 Tuesday, November 21, 2017 10:41 PM
    Tuesday, November 21, 2017 10:40 PM
  • Hey, 

    Ive found something that has worked for me **Knock on Wood**

    But ive also just bought a MacBookAir and too save the files, I just use a USB or a SD card, Simple as that. 
    And with the Laptop Only Being 128gigs i want all the space i can, so i dont mind using a USB/SD card

    Annoying for some, But hope it helps!!

    Saturday, December 2, 2017 10:14 PM
  • AWESOME!!!  It worked!!  Thank you SO much!!!

    Monday, December 4, 2017 3:44 PM
  • Same problem, endlessly.

    Saturday, December 9, 2017 2:07 AM
    Saturday, December 9, 2017 2:09 AM
  • I am having the same problem on Excel. I upgraded and the "Save" and "Save As" options are grey-out and not useable. I have not activated my free 1-month subscription, so that may have something to do with it; however, I am not interested in a subscription to a service I did not request. And if that is the issue, they should tell us. None of the above work-arounds suggested work for me...truthfully, most of them suggested fixes are off topic, and seem like bs ways of making it look like there are solutions for this issue, but there are not yet.
    Monday, December 18, 2017 6:58 PM
  • OMG THANK YOU!!!!!!!

    I am dumb as dirt but I have the newest, biggest, best Apple hardware available because I use the computer for work, not as a toy. 

    I dumped all of my microsoft stuff to switch to 100% Apple but could not adapt my crusty old brain to the Apple word processing etc. so I bit my lip, cursed very loudly and purchased Microsoft 365 for Apple.  Then bumped into this #$*@$%^@#!!!!! 

    Again my sincere thanks!  

    Wednesday, December 20, 2017 8:50 PM
  • Me too. Really can't afford to loss in time and effort.
    Friday, December 22, 2017 9:00 PM
  • After years of heavy use with no problem, I now cannot save in Word. The "save" dialog box simply has no Save button.  Same problem with "SAve as".  No problem with excel or powerpoint. The USB drive option doesn't help because the problem is with the dialog box. The only thing I have found works is to copy the doc into TextEdit, then from there save as a Word 2007 docx. Any subsequent saves also have to be done in TextEdit.  This is a problem since I often have photos/etc inserted.  Have no idea how to reinstall Office since it's been so long since I first installed it.  Can I do this via download online?
    Monday, January 22, 2018 4:23 PM
  • Ok I tried this work around and it did appear to save the file, but afterward the save as menu popped back up. I could see the file in the folder where I directed it to save, though, so I just clicked Cancel. When I went to the folder where it appeared to save the file disappeared! Apparently it did not save after all. : (

    • Edited by mactc01 Tuesday, January 30, 2018 8:12 PM
    Tuesday, January 30, 2018 8:11 PM
  • This is INSANE!

    I had Word 2008 for Mac on my Mac running just fine for years until my antivirus started complaining that it was not safe, so I upgraded to Office 2016 for Mac about two months ago.

    That worked well enough until about a week ago when I discovered some very strange behavior when trying to save files... pretty much what everyone is saying here. The behavior I see is:

    1. I open an existing .docx file (let's say it is TEST.docx) and then decide I want to save it as a new document, so I pull down "File | Save As..."

    2. That opens a dialogue window to navigate where I want to save it, so I type in a new file name "TEST 2.docx" and click on the "Save" button, and the dialogue window disappears.

    3. HOWEVER, the file name in the Word window remains TEST and there is no "TEST 2.docx" file anywhere on my computer.

    4. Worse than that, if I try to "File | Save As..." again, the dialogue window does not even open!

    5. But even worse that that, if I try to create a NEW document, <Command><N>, and then try to even just File | Save it... the same thing happens.

    What the HELL is going on here!?!?!?

    Is there some issue with Finder not playing nice with Office?


    It is insane, but the only way I have been able to work since this happened is to FIRST open Finder and copy the file I want to start with (TEST.docx) and then paste it into the same folder (it will create TEST copy.docx). Then I rename TEST copy.docx to TEST 2.docx.

    But that is INSANE I have to do that.



    Monday, February 5, 2018 6:42 PM
  • Exact same problem here.  How am i supposed to use Excel when I can't use "Save As"? I actually need to be able to change file types between .cvs and .xlsx, so the workaround above won't work for me - I really need "Save As".  Unfortunately Numbers is actually missing some functionality I need so I can't switch to that.  Is there any spreadsheet program with the full functionality Excel used to have that is currently working on Macs?
    Thursday, February 8, 2018 10:34 PM
  • THIS IS IT!!! Thank you
    Monday, February 12, 2018 11:39 AM
  • I don't have an entire answer to this - I have now (Feb 18) the same issue with MS Word 16.10 and with MS Word 2008 (Both on iMac)- neither will save a previously created doc and the system goes into a loop. It seems to me that the issue might have something to do with Word making calls back and forth via the internet that is causing the problem. I have a laptop running Windows 10 and Word 2013 - I loaded the same document onto that and experienced the same problem until I turned the wifi OFF. Since then all seems OK. Tried the same thing on my Mac, still the same. Conclusion: The Mac versions are dependent on the internet to call back to MS and this is the issue - Word on Win10 (Ver 2013) "seems" to be a stand alone version that does not need the internet to function... 
    Saturday, February 17, 2018 12:12 PM
  • Here's another suggestion that seems (so far) to work - Turn off 'Save and create backup', turn off 'Track changes'. Unload the system as much as possible from the core work of Word
    Saturday, February 17, 2018 1:59 PM
  • There's a workaround to save and make sure you don't lose your work on mac: in the very top corner - Share this presentation button (a person with a plus sign). Then send an email to yourself. It creates a new version in your email. It's annoying and not a long term solution- but it will do for now.

    Monday, February 26, 2018 12:35 PM
  • I am having exactly the same problem now.

    Monday, March 5, 2018 10:35 PM
  • I have the same problem. Saves As does not do anything. It acts like it saved and then it has not. Also, I can no longer save or export to PDF. Help, this is a really bad glitch. 
    Wednesday, March 7, 2018 6:23 PM
  • Same issue. Lost an important document a few days ago. It just disappeared, after I "saved as" and closed. Now I get exactly the same issue everyone is referring to on this page. This is dumb. The minimum thing you need WORD to do is save a copy of your work. AND I pay for it!
    • Edited by Quolll Saturday, March 10, 2018 2:49 AM
    Saturday, March 10, 2018 2:45 AM
  • I have not managed to resolve this but I have found a work around that appears to be ok. If you go to another document in the folder where you want to save your file, duplicate it then rename it as your new document, you can delete the contents and start your new document and save it as normal. For me its just the save as function that doesn't work.

    With imported PDF docs I go to downloads right click on the document name and copy it then paste into the file I want.

    I have allowed a report to go to Microsoft about this problem about 20 times, a complete waste of time. Just tried the suggestion to save as an older version of word but it doesn't work for me.

    Monday, March 12, 2018 5:08 PM
  • This has happened to me a few times and always a result of a formatting issue. The trick is to identify the issue within the document.

    I resolved it by creating a new document and then systematically copying and pasting each paragraph into the new document and saving it at the end of each paragraph. When you paste something in which causes it to not save you know you've found the culprit and you can change the formatting of it to correct it.

    Painstaking, boring and a right pain in the arse, especially for massive documents. But it works.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2018 3:26 PM
  • I tried deleting the p-lists, re-downloading Word to my MacBook, and basically everything else that was no avail. But I finally managed to fix it by changing the save location.

    1. Email/"Share" the document to yourself so you don't lose it

    2. Force quit Word

    3. Restart Word

    4. Click on "File" --> "Save As" and then in the dropdown menu to the left of the search bar change your save location to a "local" location on your MacBook.

    AutoSave is still greyed out, but now I can at least manually save my documents. Hope this helps!

    • Proposed as answer by ADF21 Friday, April 13, 2018 3:17 PM
    Friday, April 13, 2018 3:17 PM
  • Okay so this has been going on for about two years or so based upon the dates on this thread!

    Come on microsoft-- figure something out with apple-- 

    Microsoft's customer service solution to save docs to desktop (and then where from there) is not a solution-- either it works as advertised--or it's time to stop pedaling a fraud

    Friday, April 13, 2018 5:37 PM

    Same issue as the original post just started with my MBP and Word.

    Problem: Save and Save As make the save screen pop up for a fraction of a section, then disappear with no saving.  Again, the screen pops up and goes away instantly, no ability to save as another file type or location, etc.  New documents will not save at all, but for some reason a previously saved one will...

    Work-around solution: 

    1) In the document that you're unable to save, click "Share" on the right side of the blue section- looks like a person with a + sign.

    2) Email the document to yourself.

    3) Download and open the document in Word.  Should be able to save, I can at least.

    Hope this helps.  

    • Proposed as answer by bluebowtie67 Thursday, July 12, 2018 10:50 PM
    Thursday, July 12, 2018 10:50 PM
  • Having the same trouble - <g class="gr_ gr_19 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar only-ins doubleReplace replaceWithoutSep" data-gr-id="19" id="19">bit</g> of a bloody nuisance I tell you! Your solution has worked! Thank you. Not sure it's a permanent one but <g class="gr_ gr_105 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling" data-gr-id="105" id="105">heyho</g>! 
    Sunday, July 22, 2018 12:44 PM
  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015), MacOS 10.13.6, Microsoft Word 16.15,

    Will not save. Productivity lost 10 hours.

    Equation editor and collaboration via Dropbox is why I tried.  Wreaked Havoc. Trust in product severely eroded.

    I suppose Apple Pages has a fine equation editor, but cross platform collaboration is questionable.  Will try with MBPro since it is SSD and see if this issue is hardware related.

    Donald G. McGahan

    Monday, July 23, 2018 12:06 PM
  • This issue was happening to me too. However, I copied/pasted the contents (with track changes and comments showing) into two new documents. I still could not click save. But this worked:

    1. Rename the 'base document' from which the changes were made -- using finder.

    2. Copy the doc again into your buffer (in case this doesn't work for you). Note, I also got screen shots of every page before going to step 3 in case I lost everything.

    3. Quit Word. In my case, the base file just closed and it showed as zero bytes in finder, but the two Document files asked for filenames to save as before closing. They also showed as zero bytes in finder.

    4. Then after Word quit fully, I opened any one of the documents. All three were in full working order and had the same file size and content.

    Hope this helps someone!

    - R

    Wednesday, July 25, 2018 3:44 PM
  • Got that too my new 2018 MBP. Since this probably doesn't affect everyone, otherwise the outcry would be quite louder and wouldn't go on for 2 YEARS.

    I wonder if it's the usual suspect, FileVault, which tends to cause all kinds of surprising side effects.

    Saturday, August 11, 2018 8:43 PM
  • This is absurd. Microsoft Word has become un useable on MacBook (all updated).

    Can't save. Work lost. Wasted time.

    Microsoft please sort this out promptly. 

    Wednesday, August 15, 2018 6:00 AM
  • Alright I have a solution for those who haven't closed the original file and lost their changes. Blast this out to all the poor people because I saw a person who just replied to this only yesterday. We're all feeling the stress of this error. 

    Pretext: I did this on 2014 version of Excel after having almost all of the issues described below. 

    You'll die when you see the simplicity.

    1) Find the file in your hard drive

    2) Right click and duplicate (it will duplicate the old version, of course, without any of the changes you have made)

    3) Open the duplicate. It should have the same file name with "copy" written at the end before the file extension

    4) Check and then copy all of the changes on the "unsaveable" old file to the new one

    5) Save the new file written as "_____copy.***"

    That should work. It worked without problem for my workbook. Thank science because that pupper is big and full of changes. I haven't tried it on Word. 

    I hope it helps everyone.

    • Proposed as answer by Nanjing_MKings Thursday, August 16, 2018 5:39 AM
    Thursday, August 16, 2018 5:38 AM
  • Terrible. I cannot save new or existing docs in Word. I've spoken to Microsoft three times. The fix doesn't last. I just started using Office 365 a couple of months ago. I'm going to try to go back to Office 11.
    Saturday, September 1, 2018 12:14 PM
  • I figured this out....
    Save As

    Click Online Locations

    Click On My Mac

    window will change

    Select Export PDF

    click Export

    Thursday, September 6, 2018 5:30 AM
  • Word for Mac 16.16.2-- they have obviously did upgrades-- but---- none of them have addressed this problem! This is terrible----I waste so much time--- opening up documents--- and every time, I need to go under PAGE SETUP, and do it all over again. I think I'll go back to the 2008 version of Word. . . ANY HELP FROM MICROSOFT, please?


    Saturday, October 13, 2018 5:13 PM