Outlook is Unable to Use Word 2003 as Email Editor

outlook email editor

Outlook has been the most widely used desktop-based email application for email clients. It provides a lot of interactive features for easiness and better transparency for users. One of the special feature by Outlook is the Email Editor.

Amongst several user-friendly features embedded with it, one of such features is that it provides MS Word as the Email editor. The blog is related about Outlook error "Cannot use word as email editor" & its solution.

What is Email Editor?

An email editor is a computer program, which is used to edit and format the text or emails as per user’s requirement. Computer programs like MS Word, WordPad, Notepad, and HTML email editor are the alternatives that can be used as an email editor.

How to Enable Word as an Email Editor in Outlook?

MS Outlook supports Word as its email editor. To set up the same follow the given steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook application on your system
  2. Now in the menu bar, click on Tools >> Options
  3. An Options window will appear. On that window, click on Mail Format tab
  4. At the end, tick mark on the checkbox for Use Microsoft Office Word to edit e-mail option, to enable users to work with Word as the email default editor.

Problem Statement 1

Read more for knowing the methods and how to apply those methods to resolve Outlook Word email editor issue

While accessing Word as mail editor in MS Outlook, a message box is displayed in front of the Outlook users. The message box provides information to its users that Word either is in use by some other application or is not installed on the machine.

unable to use word 2003 as email editor

Problem Statement 2

The error ‘Outlook 2003 unable to use Word as Email Editor’ also occurs when the settings are enabled for using Word as Outlook mail editor. This kind of error appears generally due to variations in version of MS Outlook and MS word. Another reason for such error occurrence is improper configuration of Outlook and Word that may be disturbed due to abnormal shutdown of the machine.

Fixes - Unable to use Word as Outlook Email Editor

The first measure should be to check whether user is using same version of Outlook and MS Word or not. If not, then user is advised to use the same versions of both the applications for resolving the problem. However, if the versions are identical, then go through the following workarounds for working out the problem:

  • Open Task Manager window on your machine and go to Processes tab
  • In this tab search for winword.exe and outlook.exe process and stop them by clicking upon End task button.
  • Once you have terminated all the processes go to Start and then type winword.exe /a for opening word in safe mode.
  • Once Word has been launched without any complications, close it. However, if Word does not open successfully, then again perform Step 1 to 3 and try again.
  • When Word is successfully launched, Open Outlook application and verify whether Word is set as the Email Editor or not.


After going through the problem of ‘Cannot use Word as Outlook Email Editor’ and countermeasures to resolve it, one can conclude that the approach used for solving the problem is reliable for any type of computer user. This segment guides you with an easy strategy to overcome the problem. Moreover, end users can easily go through the processing and if in case failures are encountered while performing the procedure, then it will not lead to invention of any hazardous situation that will affect the working of MS Outlook application and MS Word.

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