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Fixing Typing Lag in Microsoft Word 2013

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Joseph Hornsey
I built my first network in 1994 using PowerLAN.  From there I messed around with NetWare and then moved to Windows NT and Cisco.
Using Word 2013, I was experiencing some incredible lag when typing.  Here's what worked for me....
Generally speaking, I think Microsoft Office is a solid suite of applications.  However, I found myself pulling my hair out because of some serious lag when typing.
This was  the basic symptom:
When I typed something in a Word document - whether it's a blank document, a document created from a template, or an existing document - I experienced incredible lag.  It would take a while for the characters to appear in the document.  Sometimes 2-3 seconds, other times as much as 45 seconds or more.
Of course, this happened right in the middle of a huge project with very, very tight deadlines.  And, of course, I was already running behind.
My first thought was I had a virus of some sort.  So, I did deep scan, and nothing was found.  I ran a repair through Control Panel > Programs and that didn't help.  It felt like the CPU was pegged, but it wasn't... although Word was using more than its fair share of CPU time.  I closed all other programs and that didn't help.  I was getting pretty frustrated.
I finally figured out the problem, and it had to do with my video cards.  Apparently, Word didn't like the fact the video cards were trying to handle the graphics.    Considering I have two heavy-hitting NVIDIA cards with SLI, I was a little surprised.

1. In Word 2013, go to "File" and "Options"


2. Click on "Advanced" and scroll down to find the "Display" settings.

Advanced Display

3. Find the "Disable hardware graphics acceleration" setting.

Here's where it gets a little wonky.  One would think checking this box would be a bad thing as it would slow down your graphics rendering and cause the lag.  That very well could be the case.

Or, it might be that Word doesn't like your video card and so this box needs to be checked.  Basically, if it's checked, remove the check from the box.  If it's not checked, then put a check in the box.  Either way, it should fix your problem.

In my particular case, I had to disable acceleration, so I put a check in the box.

I hope this helps you out!  If you find that this article has helpful, please click the blue and white ‘Good Article?’ button below.

Expert Comment

by:David Del Purgatorio
Out of curiosity, how did you even come to the initial correlation of checking video hardware acceleration?
LVL 26

Expert Comment

Out of curiosity, how did you even come to the initial correlation of checking video hardware acceleration?
I can't speak for the author, but that's an old bugaboo from circa 2000.
Compaq Presarios would GPF under Simply Accounting if Hardware Acceleration was left turned on.
Now, why an accounting program or a word processor should screw up if a setting that should rightfully apply to gaming is turned on, your guess is as good as mine -- but while that was the first, I doubt it will be the last.

Now that this has come back to mind, I have one triple monitor system with Simply Accounting that has some lag in rendering.  I'll have to go try the old fix -- nothing else has worked!
LVL 15

Author Comment

by:Joseph Hornsey
Nick67 is right... I ran into problems with hardware acceleration a long, long time ago in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.  I still didn't make the connection until I started going through all the settings in Word and saw this particular one.

Quite frankly, I only messed with it out of sheer desperation.  I mean, two overclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780's with SLI can't handle Microsoft Word?  LOL

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