What's probably wrong is that your disk permissions have become damaged, preventing Word from writing to some of the files or folders that it needs to be able to use. Start by repairing your disk permissions:
Quit Word if it hasn't already quit itself.
Click the Desktop to activate the Finder, open the Utilities folder (choose Go » Utilities, or choose Go » Applications and then double-click the Utilities folder), and then double-click Disk Utility to open it.
Click the entry for your hard disk, click the First Aid tab, and then click the Repair Disk Permissions button.
When the repair is complete, restart Mac OS X.
If repairing your disk permissions doesn't resolve this problem, try the steps in the next Annoyance. You can also try updating your copy of Word (or Office) with the latest update available.
Repair Your Preferences or Settings Files
Sometimes I'm working away happily enough (I'd rather be surfingwho wouldn't?) and Word 2004 just decides to up and quit on me. I was going to say that Word crashes unexpectedly, but every crash is unexpected, isn't it? On a Mac, anyway....
These crashes could be caused by various problems, but one possibility that should appear fairly high on your list is damaged preferences or settings files. Here's how to fix them:
Open a Finder window to your ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft folder and check out the following files, depending on whether you're using Word 2004 or Word X:
- Word 2004
- Word X
- Word Settings (10), Microsoft Component Preferences, Microsoft Office Settings (10), and Carbon Registration Database
Quit Word, and then drag the com.microsoft.Word.prefs.plist file or the Word Settings (10) file from the ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft folder to the Desktop. Relaunch Word (which makes it automatically create a replacement for the missing file) and see if the problem has disappeared. If it has, you'll need to reset some of your preferences and restore your custom AutoCorrect entries; if not, drag the new file from the ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft folder to the Trash, drag the old file back from the Desktop to the ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft folder, and proceed with the next step.
Quit Word (if it hasn't crashed) and any other Office applications you're running, and repeat the drag-to-the-Desktop process with each of the other files in turn, checking Word at each stage.