COM Error in EndNote X5 + MS Word 2011 for Mac

Hello EndNote Team, and Fellow Users,

I support many users who use your product, and recently this week we started noticing a problem with Mac OSX 10.6 and 10.7 computers and EndNote X5 / Microsoft Word 2011 where the application causes “a COM exception has occurred” in MS Word 2011 (with the EndNote logo), force quitting out and attempts to restart Word 2011 repetitively.  Our trick is to uninstall and re-install the software.  Any help would be much appreciated ASAP.  Thank you in advance.

Products Affected


Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard

Mac OSX 10.7 Lion

Microsoft Office 2011 (Word)

EndNote X5 for Macintosh

Hello Morris,

The COM error can come up for a variety of reasons please see below for some things to check for:

The “Component Object Model” exception means that CWYW is trying to issue an
illegal command to Word.

As part of your diagnosis, you need to find your Normal.dotm

  1. Close out of Word and create a “Backup” folder on your desktop.
  2. Open your Hard Drive in Finder.
  3. Go to “Home > Library > Application Support > Microsoft > Office > User Templates”. To get to the Library folder in 10.7 and later, Hold down the “Option” key on your Keyboard and go to the “Go” Menu and choose “Library”.
  4. There is a “Normal” file in this folder, go ahead and drag it to the “Backup” folder, then try again with a BLANK document.

If Word still crashes, then there may be an issue in the document:

  1. In the document you want to go to Convert Citations and Bibliography then choose Convert to Unformatted.

  2. Next press Command+A to select the entire document.

  3. Press Command+6 to delete all the field codes.

  4. Save the document under a new name.

  5. Start a new document.

  6. Go to Insert tab and click the downward pointing arrow to the right of the Object  button and choose File.

  7. Select the document you just saved to insert.

  8. Make sure your style is selected and the database is open, then go to Update Citations and Bibliography.

This should remove all corrupted field codes. This may also change some of the formatting within the document.

*NOTE* You may receive the, “EndNote Select Matching Reference” window. In this case, see the following page for more information:

If the error continues, please make sure any tables in the document that has references in them are set to not use text wrap.
Select the table then choose Table Properties. In the General Tab, make sure Text Wrap is set to none.

If you still have the error, then you need to remove all of the preferences in Word:

  1. Quit all Microsoft applications.

  2. Track down all instances of pre-2008 Normal template on your computer,
    and drag them to your desktop. The file is called simply “Normal” and has
    no extension.

  3. Find and drag the file Normal.dotm to your desktop. Unless you have
    moved it, it should be in
    /Users/ ~ /Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/

  4. If the following files exist, Remove or rename them:

 In Finder, go to “Home > Library > Preferences”, and drag the “” file to the “Backup” folder.

Go to “Home > Library > Preferences > Microsoft > Office 2011” and drag the “Office Registration Cache” to the “Backup” folder.
Remove the preferences for EndNote:

  1. Go to Users:[your login name with the house icon]:Library:Application Support:EndNote

  2. Remove all files from this location (you can put them on the desktop- they will be rebuilt when EndNote restarts- when the process is complete these old files can be removed).

  3. Go to Users:[your login name with the house icon]:Library:Preferences.

  4. Remove the “EndNote f” folder, “com.ThomsonResearchSoft.EndNote.plist” file, and the “com.IsiResearchSoft.EndNote.plist” file (The EndNote f and the IsiResearchsoft files may not be present).

If your computer was upgraded from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X and you had EndNote for OS 9 installed, please see **Note below.

  1. Restart the computer and put in your EndNote CD or run the installer. Now Drag the EndNote folder from the CD or Disk Image to the Applications folder on your hard drive to install EndNote.

  2. Open EndNote.

  3. Go to the EndNote 8 or or later menu; select Preferences.

  4. Click the “EndNote Defaults” button.

  5. Click on “Display fonts” then choose the “EndNote Defaults” button.

  6. Click on the next option down, and click the EndNote Defaults button. Do this for each option here.

  7. Click Save, and close this window.

Be thorough with this, if you leave any of these files behind Word 2008 and EndNote will find them and won’t replace them.

Do it right and Word will construct a new, clean, set of preferences and everything should now work.

Let us know if you have any questions or if this does not resolve the issue.