Word Could Not Create Work File. Check The Temp Environment Variable Error

With lots of features, Word is one of the most used Office component for me. Today, I was trying to use SharePoint as a collaboration tool along with Word 2013, so that I could it to connect with my team, but Word didn’t let me to do so. I was being forced by Word to use my local documents in it, as evident from this error prompt I received.

word could not create work file

Word Could Not Create Work File. Check The Temp Environment Variable

As you can see in the image, there was nothing to help me to fix up this issue except the error message itself. I tried Microsoft Support, but their solutions did not work for me – I guess they were for previous Word editions. Then I came to the conclusion that this is due to incorrect registry entries. So, finally I got two fixes to troubleshoot this issue and would like to share with you all.

Reregister Word files

To fix this problem, simple press Windows Key + R combination to bring up Run dialog. Type following and hit Enter:

winword.exe /r


In the above command, the /r part forces a re-register of Word in Windows Registry configuration and thus eventually fixes up the issue. If this fix does not work, you can try the alternative:

Registry Fix

1. Press Windows Key + R combination, type put Regedt32.exe in Run dialog box and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor.

REGEDIT Enable Or Disable Hyperlink Warnings For Office 2013 programs

2. Navigate to the following location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

word could not create work file

3. In the right pane of this location, look for the AppData named string and carefully observe its Value data. The Value data for this string, if it has been changed, it is enough capable to generate the issues regarding environment variable. So restore its default Value data to this:



Click OK after inputting the Value data. You may now close the Registry Editor and reboot the machine. After reboot, start using Word again, and you observe that the issue has been fixed already.

Hope this helps!

Posted by on , in Category Office with Tags
An Electrical Engineer by profession, Kapil is a Microsoft MVP in Windows Experience expertise and a Microsoft Content Creator. Please read the entire post & the comments first & create a system restore point before making any changes to your system.
  • michael

    I am having the same problem. worked fine for a very long time all of the sudden I cant attach word files. the box appears with “word could not create the work file. Check temp environment variable.” I have used your advice a few times over and it all is correct. This is very frustrating as I have some papers due by the weekend any information to help me fix this problem in more depth would be greatly appreciated.
    Michael M.

  • http://www.kapilarya.com/ Kapil Arya

    ^^ Thanks for feedback :)

  • Barbara C

    Will the winword.exe/r fix work for MS Word 2010? I’m not a technically advanced user.

  • Barbara C

    PS: I’m running Windows 8.

  • http://www.kapilarya.com/ Kapil Arya

    ^^ Yep.

  • srikant kumar

    I had tried above two option thereafter also I am getting same message
    “Word could not create a work file. Check the Temp Environment Variable”

    Please tell me any other way for resolving the same issue.

  • Ivy Chan

    Thanks for the solution! Is there anything we could do that can prevent this from happening? I’d rather know what’s the cause of it, than to panic and look for solution after it happens.

  • http://www.kapilarya.com/ Kapil Arya

    ^^ Most probably it happens due to registry modification, when you install some third-party tools on your system. So basically, avoiding usage of third-party tools may help you to prevent getting around this issue :)

  • dol

    It says widows cannot find “winword.exe/r” what to do?? :(

  • Samuel Ezra Cohen

    Tank you,

    You are genius! I checked the”regedt.exe” and all was O.K.
    but I confirmed it once more time and after restart the machine it was fixed. Congratulations
    and many tanks from me!

  • http://www.kapilarya.com/ Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad we could help :) Good day!

  • Samuel Ezra Cohen

    Hi, Mr. Arya,
    You are not only genius; you are very gentle because of your

    If you post your congratulations here in Spain, traditionally
    you wouldn’t expect a response!

    Thank you once more time and sorry about the mistake in “tank”. I know what is tank, but was thank and many thanks not many tanks – really it’s ridiculous but I am Spanish, ha, ha…

    Subject: Re: New comment posted on Fix: Word Could Not Create Work File. Check The Temp Environment Variable Error

  • Andrew Poloyan

    Very good and thorough advice, thank you. Helped me with Word2013 after temp directory transfer from a virtual RAM drive back to the system drive (which, I believe, caused the problem).

  • jaz

    still not working…………. i need help SOS please..

  • Meia

    still cannot work, I have tried solution 1 & 2. the reg value data string are all correct, but still pops up the word window, repeated the same problem/ word 2010/ win 8.0

  • bella

    those who are unable to fix this with Kapil’ way. you can try this

    just the same instruction but click on the cache button instead of app data.

    then type %USERPROFILE%AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet Files

    Good Luck.

  • http://www.kapilarya.com/ Kapil Arya

    ^^ Thanks for the inputs :)

  • Alkimachos

    Thank you very very much..! It worked!

  • Jack

    Thank you Bella your fix worked all other fixes did nothing – thank you again!

  • okta

    why,it didnt work inmy laptop

  • Stephen Chung

    This is how I fixed it:

    1. winword /r ==> doesn’t work
    2. regedit ==> AppData already set to the correct directory
    3. Check Cache location under the same registry item, sees that Temporary Internet Files folder for IE is pointing to an invalid directory (a drive that is no longer there).
    4. Open up IE, move temp folder to somewhere valid. It will log you out and you need to log back in
    5. Confirm Word is now working fine

    So, for some reason, Word is using IE’s “Temporary Internet Files” folder for storing (some of) its temp files. So if you see this message complaining about temp files cannot be created, check the IE temp folder as well!

  • Hamilton Diniz

    Thanks mate!!! That works 😀

  • http://karentaylorministries.wordpress.com/ Karen Taylor

    When I went to Registry Editor and clicked on current user, only the default one comes up. Nothing else is there. What do I need to do next?

  • blogmytuts

    Thanks this works i guest the virtual cache change the value :3

  • Wallace Gromit

    Thanks it worked. The Temporary Internet Files didn’t exists. Instead I have created temp folder there and changed last piece of the path to that temp. It works

  • saurabh patil

    not helped me this dude….. i have been tried this but still the same problem is coming

  • Linnie

    Stupid Microsoft – hate them

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