Word isn’t your default program for viewing and editing documents

Every time when you start Microsoft Office Word, you may see the message asking Microsoft Word isn’t your default program for viewing and editing documents. Do you want to select the file types that Word should open?

word not the default editor message startup

This message may appear even if Word is the default program for viewing and editing .doc, .docm,.docx, .dot, .dotm,.dotx, .odt, .wbk, .wiz file types and the ms-word: URL protocol.

It’s a simple issue, and repairing Office Word installation is not necessary to fix the problem.

Why does the “Word isn’t your default program” message appear?

Even though Word sets itself as the default for most types during installation, the .rtf (Rich Text Document) files remain associated with WordPad.

word not the default editor message startup

Even if 1 out of 11 file types is not registered with Microsoft Word, Word considers that it’s not the default editor.

How to prevent the dialog from appearing at every start?

To prevent the Word isn’t your default program dialog from appearing in future, all you need to do is to dismiss the dialog by enabling Don’t show this message again and then clicking No.



word not the default editor message startup

If you had dismissed the dialog already, you can configure it by opening Microsoft Word Options dialog.

word not the default editor message startup

Uncheck Tell me if Microsoft Word isn’t the default program for viewing and editing documents.

  • You can check your Word file associations by opening Windows 10 SettingsDefault AppsSet defaults by appWord → Manage.
  • In earlier versions of Windows, use the classic Default Programs applet.

Alternately, associating .rtf files with Microsoft Word will eliminate the above message box when starting Word.


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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

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