While working with Microsoft Office applications (MS Word, MS PowerPoint, MS Excel) you may encounter “The file is used by another application or user” error message. If you are seeing this error message on your computer you will not be able to save the file is normal .docx format unless you fix the issue first. Follow these easy fixes to solve the problem on your computer.
Fix-1 Save the file in a different format-
Saving the problematic file in a different format may solve the issue.
1. Open the problematic file.
2. Now, click on “File” on the menu-bar.
3. Next, click on “Save as” to save the file.
4. Now, in the Save as window, click on the drop-down beside ‘Save as type:‘.
5. Then, select the file type as “PDF“.
6. Now, click on “Save“.
Now, wait for a while. Initially, you may see ‘The file is used by another application or user‘ error message appearing on the screen, but once the saving process is complete, the error message will disappear.
Fix-2 Close all Outlook related processes-
The main reason behind this error message can be the usage of the same file by different Outlook processes.
1. Right-click on the Windows icon and then click on “Task Manager“.
The Task Manager window will open.
2. In the Task Manager window, look out for other MS office processes except for the one you are using (If you are using Word, then check if any PowerPoint or MS Outlook processes are running).
3. Right-click on the outlook process and then click on “End Task“.
This way, kill all the processes associated with Outlook and close the Task Manager window.
Now try to save the file on your computer again. This should fix the issue.
Fix-3 Delete .dotm templates-
Deleting the corrupted .dotm templates from your device may solve this issue.
1. Press Windows key+E to open the File Explorer window.
2. In the File Explorer window, navigate to this location-
UserName stands for the username of the account you are using on your device.
Example- As the ‘Sambit‘ is my username, the address will look like this-
3. Now, select “Normal” and “NormalEmail” .dotm templates.
4. Right-click on the selected templates and then click on “Delete“.
These templates will be deleted.
Once done, try to save the file in Word.
Fix-4 Modify Word permissions-
Modifying Word permissions may solve this problem on your computer.
1. Click on the Search box beside Windows icon and type “Word“.
2. Right-click on “Word” and then click on “Open file location“.
3. Right-click on the “Word” and then click on “Properties“.
3. Now, go to the “Security” tab.
4. Now, click on “Advanced“.
5. Then, click on “Change permissions“.
6. Now, click on “Add“.
7. Then, click on “Select a principal“.
8. Now, click on “Advanced“.
9. In Select User or Group window, click on “Find Now“.
10. Now, select the “Authenticated Users” group.
11. Next, click on “OK“.
12. Again, click on “OK“.
13. Coming back to ‘Permissions Entry for Word‘ window, check the option “Full control“.
14. Then, click on “OK” to save the changes.
15. In Advanced Security Settings for Word window, you can see ‘Authenticated Users‘ in Permission Entries panel.
16. Click on “Apply” and then on “OK“.
17. Coming back to the Word Properties window, click on “Apply” and then click on “OK“.
Now, launch MS Word on your computer.
Check if this one works.
Fix-5 Empty Temp folder-
Emptying the Temp folder has solved the problem for some users.
1. Press Windows key+R to open Run window.
2. In the Run window, type “%temp%” and then hit Enter.
The Temp folder will open on your computer.
3. In the Temp folder, select all the contents and press “Delete” from your keyboard to empty the folder.
Now, check if the error is still there or not.
Fix-6 Disable Firewall and try to save the file-
Sometimes firewalls on your computer can prevent you from saving the Word file on your computer. Disable it and try to save it.
1. Press Windows key+I to open Settings.
2. In the Settings window, click on “Update & Security“.
3. In the Settings window, on the left-hand side, click on “Windows Security“.
4. On the right-hand side, click on “Firewall & network protection“.
Windows Security window will be opened.
5. In the Firewall & network protection window, click on the network type beside which you will notice “(active)”
(Like this computer is connected to a Private network. So ‘Private network’ is shown as ‘active‘. )
6. Now, scroll down until you see Microsoft Defender Firewall.
7. Then, switch Microsoft Defender Firewall to ‘Off‘.
Close Settings window.
Now, try to save the word file and close MS Word. You won’t see the error message again.
Windows Firewall provides a security barrier that protects you from different types of viruses, malware intrusions. Switching it off may make your pc vulnerable to such threats. So we suggest that you shouldn’t keep the firewall down for a prolonged period.
Sambit is a Mechanical Engineer By qualification who loves to write about Windows 10 and solutions to weirdest possible problems.