This article describes what the /a
switch is, what it does, and how to use it.
The /a Switch
switch is a troubleshooting tool that you can use to determine
where a problem may exist when you are working with Microsoft Word.
When you use the /a
switch to start Word, the switch prevents add-ins and global
templates, including the Normal.dot template, from being loaded automatically.
switch also locks the setting files.The setting files
cannot be read or modified when you use this switch. Note
We do not recommend that you use the /a
switch as a typical operating startup switch. This switch
prevents your preferred settings in Word from being retained. Use the /a
switch only when you must troubleshoot Word to determine where a
problem may exist.
How the /a Switch Starts WordNote
The default installation paths that are mentioned in the
following list are the default locations and may be different on your system.
switch starts Word, bypassing or locking the following:
- The global template (Normal.dot) that is located in the
C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
- Templates and files that are located in the following
- Files that were added as global templates or add-ins. These
files can be located when you click Tools, and then
Templates and Add-ins in Word.
- Component Object Model (COM) add-ins. A COM add-in is a
supplemental program that extends the capabilities of Word by adding custom
commands and specialized features.
- The Word Data key in the Microsoft Windows Registry at the
- The Word Options key in the Windows Registry at the
- Your currently selected Microsoft Office Assistant, whose
settings are located at the following Windows Registry location:
How to Use the /a Switch
To start Word by using the /a
switch, follow these steps:
- Locate Winword.exe.
Note By default this program is in the following location depending on your version of Word:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office
- Click Start, and then click
- In the Open box, type the path for
Winword.exe as you found it in step 1.
- Enclose the path in quotation marks that are similar to the
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe"
- In the Open box, move the insertion point
to after the quotation marks at the end of the path statement.
- Type a space, and then type
The path statement now looks similar to
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe" /a
- Click OK.
You must type the /a
switch outside the
quotation marks. If you type the /a
switch inside the
quotation marks, you receive an error message that is similar to one of the
following when you try to run the command:
the file 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe /a' (or one of
its components). Make sure the path and file name are correct and that all
required libraries are available.
cannot find 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe /a'. Make
sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file,
click the Start button, and then click Search.