Why am I getting this error (MS Office) and what can I do about it?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by gangof4, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. gangof4 macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2011
    I have a 2011 build using the latest El Capitan OS and running MS Office. When I try to open MS Word, I often get an error that says " Word could not create the work file. Check the amount of disk space on your start up disk." ANd often the PowerPoint preentation I'm working on gives me an error that suggests the same memory problem, and then strip out all of my graphics.

    What can I do about it?
  2. CoastalOR macrumors 68020


    Jan 19, 2015
    Oregon, USA
  3. arefbe macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2010
  4. gangof4 thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2011
    I'm using the most current to the 2011 version (downloaded update yesterday.) Also got an error saying: Word cannot create or save this file. The disk may be full or write protected. Try one or more of the following: Free more memory. Make sure the disk you want to save the file on is not full, write protected, or damaged." The disk has 933 gigs available, is not write protected, and does not seem to be damaged (but how can I verify that?.) I have two 4 gig memory slots in the iMac. I wonder if the problem is related to cache, because the "workaround" problems like this is to reboot the machine.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 29, 2016 ---
    p.s. The problem seems confined to Word and PowerPoint. Apple apps work just fine afaik.
  5. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    It sounds like file corruption. Does Word and Powerpoint do that with every file you try to create or save or is it just sporadic? You probably should run First Aid on your hard drive using Disk Utility when booted from your Recovery partition to see if the disk is OK. If your Apple iWork apps are OK, the disk is probably good but worth checking anyway. Also make sure the file names you're assigning to Word and PP that you're trying to create or save are legal file names (no illegal file name characters).
  6. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    I know it is a long shot, but do you have a file named like:


    Or a combination of?

    If so, what happens when you name it to something like:


    Again a long shot.
  7. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    I'm going to hazard a guess - there's an invalid/illegal character in your file name; file names include the hard drive and directory/folder path. This "issue" goes back to Office 2007/2008, when MS introduced the ".DOCX" file format. What 99.9% of MS Office users don't understand is that ".DOCX" files are really modified ZIP container files (much like OS X's "package" files - the conflict lies in the XML file within that modified ZIP file - if there's a character (like the "/" character, an invalid/illegal character as far as certain types of XML are concerned) that does not conform to MS's requirements (in turn, XML specifications), you'll get permissions conflicts. See:
    There's so many more, and they're pretty much to the point - those "characters" can exist anywhere - the folder name, the file name, the name of your hard drive, the path to a network... Don't blame MS, but do review XML specifications - you'd get the same issues with Pages/Numbers/Keynote files as well - they're containers with XML files contained within them. I hope the fix is this easy, simply renaming an element of your document's path. Addressing this, I've had zero issues with MS files regarding permissions in Win/OS X OSes going back over 15 years. Beyond that, I've got nothing more to help...

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