18 Oct

“Word could not create a work file. Check the Temp Environment Variable”

Problem

When trying to launch Microsoft Word you receive the error message “Word could not create a work file. Check the Temp Environment Variable”.

Cause

This is caused by a problem with the Windows temp folder and occurs because the Temporary Files location for Internet Explorer is set to be an unexpected location. Specifically, the Temporary Files location for Internet Explorer is set to be a location in which the user does not have permissions to create new temporary files.

Solution

Make sure all office software is shut down prior to following these steps.

  1. Click Start.
  2. Type in %TEMP% into the text field.
  3. Select files/folders in the temp folder (CTRL + A) and hold the SHIFT key then click DELETE. It will then prompt you with a warning to permanently delete these files. Click yes to confirm this.
  4. Relaunch Word.

Alternatively, you can use our downloadable software DriveTidy, this will clear out the temp folder as well as free up space on your hard drive.

37 Responses to “Word could not create a work file. Check the Temp Environment Variable”

  1. Here’s another fix, or at least the one that worked for me.

    I ran into this earlier. Would randomly get the “could not create the work file” error in every Office 2010 application and had various other problems with it as well (for example, couldn’t insert images into Word documents or see any images in Outlook emails). Fixed it by moving the temporary internet files folder in Internet Explorer.

    Open IE, go to Tools, Internet Options. Under the General Tab, browsing history section, click Settings. Check the current location. On Windows Vista/7, this SHOULD be c:\users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files. If it’s not, click Move Folder and change it to that. It will force you to log off (this is normal). Log back in, and problem should be resolved.

    Fixed the “work file” error and every other Office error I had going on when I changed that. I fought with this for about four hours, went through about 15 pages of Google search, and tried about a dozen different “fixes” including various registry edits that didn’t fix it for me before I found this.

    • Cid,
      Thanks for the info. Your solution worked for me as well.

    • Great!!! Thanks to your advice, I’m able to work smoothly now!!

    • At last….! – after trying several other ‘fixes’ that didn’t work – this one did and for Windows 8 too!

    • unbelievably easy and worked!

    • Oh yes thank you,
      Now jus one issue to uninstall BitTorrent

    • Timotius P. B. October 7, 2014 at 00:20

      Thanks bro, that worked for me. God bless you.

    • Armando Flores December 2, 2014 at 17:02

      Thank you very much CID!!! That was the solution for me :D, now I will restore the keys that I changed reading other pages xD

    • Thank You so muuuuchh

    • First of all, I was confused with this explanation. Because I don’t know how it will going to create a temp file inside the windows app data folder. But after looking at the main folder which I view the file.
      OPEN
      1.INTERNET EXPLORER
      2. CLICK TOOLS
      3. INTERNET OPTIONS
      4. UNDER GENERAL(BROWSING HISTORY) CLICK SETTINGS
      5. VIEW FILES
      YOU CAN SEE THAT THERE IS NO TEMP FILE AND THE FILES JUST CREATED ON THE FOLDER “INETCACHE”.
      TO MOVE THE CURRENT LOCATION TO TEMPORARY FILES,
      Click
      1. Move folder
      2. Click your DRIVE C and expand it.
      3. Click USERS
      4. FIND YOUR USERNAME(YOUR PC’s NAME)
      5. LOOK AT “APPDATA”
      6. CLICK LOCAL
      7. CLICK MICROSOFT
      8. CLICK WINDOWS
      Just stay on the highlighted WINDOWS FOLDER and then click OK . It will going to force you Log-off. Click ok. Then re login your account. Check on the internet option again on the browsing history once again and look at the current location. You will see this .
      C:\Users\username\AppData\local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\

      Now check on your MS office if the problem is already fixed… ☺☺

  2. I had a user that this issue was occuring with. I ran the office repair and that didn’t fix the issue. I then logged in with another profile and launched Word successfully. When the user logged back on, they were working normally. Not sure what actually fixed the issue, but try logging onto the computer with another account and launching the office apps then see if it cleared up the issue on the account experiencing the problem.

  3. I now have this problem and although i have seen the solution that Cid has provided; i can’t see the Temporary Internet Files when trying to move the files. I thought that I had to create the file itself but quickly learnt that the file is there but i cant see it. Since i got to the location in the first place, no files should be hidden so i dont understand why this one is or if there is another reason why i cant see it.

    Can anyone help me because it seems that this problem is stopping me from adding screenshots into word.

    • Try right clicking on an empty space in the folder, then click Properties.
      Make sure the “Hidden” option is unchecked and click OK.
      Click the “Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files” option and click OK.

  4. Dear All,

    Just change the location of the temp file from internet explorer options then in general select settings and click on movefolder and locate to c drive it will work.

    Thanks,
    Azam.

  5. Excellent! Quick and easy fix! Thanks

  6. Thank you Cid! your solution worked!

  7. I cant see the appdata. Somebody help how can i locate that one in the browse folder?

  8. I had this problem and I found that Azam’s solution [Internet Explorer/ Options/General/Move folder/C drive] worked. Thank you Azam!

  9. Jonathan, I could not locate appdata like “anonymous” above and did as you advised to find Appdata but nothing came up. Perhaps this is the issue?? Thanks.

  10. Thanks I’ll try it.

  11. I follow Adam method although it work but always must repeat the same procedure when ever I use word.

  12. I’ve been troubleshooting this “cannot create” problem for the past 2 hours and neither of the above solutions seem to be working .. Is it because I’m using Vista? Any other ideas?

  13. Thanks soooo much. It worked. I tried every other possible solution but only this remedy worked for me.

  14. it worked on my Word 2010 using Windows8.1! thank you so much!

  15. Thank you so much. It works very well the 2nd Option. God Bless you

  16. great fix… had the whole day working on this but ur guide just fixed it up.. bravo!!!

  17. Cid,
    Thanks for the information. Your solution worked for me as well.

  18. Finally I resolved my problem , after trying numbers of solutions, this fixed my issue….. Thank sir.

  19. BENJAMIN O. BOAHENE September 2, 2016 at 12:53

    THANKS A LOT. I TRIED IT ONCE AND IT WORKED. REALLY APPRECIATE

  20. thats awesome thanks a bunch genius

  21. SHAHEEN SHER KHAN October 19, 2016 at 09:01

    For windows 10 open Registry editor….click HKEY_CURRENT_USER…….click SOFTWARE….Click Microsoft….click Windows…click CurrentVersion….click Explorer… click User Shell Folders……click on History and copy its address and then click on Cache and paste the History address here…….now open the word i hope it will not give this error …. it worked for me.

  22. thnk u very much .thnx.thnx

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