18 Oct

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


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


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.


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.

27 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.

  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.


  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

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