If Word 2008 is bugging you with slow launch times or frequent crashes, here are two fixes that can help.
Slow launch times for Word
Does Word 2008 take unusually long to launch? If so, here’s a fix that reportedly speeds things up. Select Word -> Preferences and click on the General pane. From here, deselect WYSIWYG Font And Style Menus and Show Project Gallery At Startup. Quit the program.
Next time, it should launch faster. Apparently a font preview problem is to blame and Microsoft is expected to fix it in an upcoming Office update.
How about crashes—experiencing those in Word 2008? Tidbits reports that you may still be able to use an old fix to solve this problem. If a corrupt “Word Settings (10)” file, located in your user folder/Library/Preferences folder is the culprit, the solution is to trash the file. Word will create a new clean copy the next time you launch the program.
This is a well-documented fix dating back at least as far as Word v. X running under Mac OS X 10.2 (see this Microsoft support file for details).