When you save a document in Microsoft Word, you may receive the following error message:
Word could not create the work file. Check the Temp environment variable.
Workarounds for the problem are described in the article at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2285187, but they are valid only for Windows 7 and earlier. They are not correct if your operating system is Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. The correct procedure is provided here.
This article is intended only to correct an omission from the article at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2285187. It is not meant to imply that it is the only possible solution to the "work file" error, and it doesn't list any other solutions. Please don't post any more comments about "this didn't work for me".
Microsoft Word uses the path of the Temporary Internet Files folder that is stored in the registry by Internet Explorer. The error shown in the Summary may occur because the Temporary Internet Files folder is set to a location where you do not have permission to create new temporary files, or to a location that does not exist on your computer.
The Temporary Internet Files folder in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 is in a different location than in Windows 7 and earlier.
The procedure given as Method 1 in the KB2285187 article is not usable in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 because the new location does not appear in the Browse for Folder dialog box in Internet Explorer. The procedure below is based on Method 2 of the KB article.
This article contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
This procedure changes the path of the Temporary Internet Files folder that is stored in the registry.
1. Start the Registry Editor program.
In Windows 8.1, at the Start screen, type regedit. When regedit.exe appears in the Search pane, click it.
In Windows 10, click in the Search box in the task bar and type regedit. When regedit appears in the Search pane, click it.
2. In the pane on the left side of the Registry Editor window, navigate to and click on the key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
3. In the pane on the right side of the Registry Editor window, double-click the Cache entry. The Edit String dialog box opens.
4. Copy and paste the following into the Value data box and click OK:
5. Close the Registry Editor.
The expression %USERPROFILE% is an environment variable that is automatically created by Windows. It always evaluates to the path that contains the profile of the current user, typically "C:\Users\<user name>". To verify that it has the correct value, open a command window and type echo %USERPROFILE%, and press the Enter key.