When it all goes Wrong! (Fixing Microsoft Word's Default Templates)

in ms-word •  last year

I love Microsoft Word (most of the time) but the program has a bad habit of changing the styles in my default template without telling me. Then I discovered an easy way to ensure that Normal.dot is kept in its pristine, out of the box state. If you delete Normal.dot, Microsoft Word will recreate it the next time you open the program. You can do the same thing with NormalEmail.dot, the default template for writing email messages in Microsoft Outlook.

The extension might be .dot, .dotm, or .dotx depending on what version of Microsoft Word you are using and whether or not the template includes macros.

ExtensionMeaning
.dotUsed with version of Microsoft Word older than Word 2007. This is a template and may include building blocs and macros.
.dotxUsed with Word 2007 and later. This extension indicates a template that cannot include macros.
.dotmA Word 2007 or later template that includes macros. Be careful about accepting a .dotm template from strangers.

NOTE: The new template will not appear until you exit from the program.

Step 1: Make sure that you aren’t using Microsoft Word if you will be deleting Normal.dot or Microsoft Outlook if you will be deleting NormalEmail.dot.

Step 2: Locate the file Normal.dot (or NormalEmail.dot) on your computer’s hard drive. For versions of Microsoft Word from Word 2016 back to Word 2003, you can locate the files in:

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

That folder will look something like Figure 1, below.


Default Template Location

Step 3: Delete the file. You can click on the file name, and then press the delete key on your keyboard or the Delete button on the toolbar at the top of the window. Or, right-click on the file and select Delete from the popup menu.

Step 4: The next time you run Microsoft Word, the program will create a new, cleaned up version of Normal.dot. (If you deleted NormalEmail.dot, the file will be recreated when you run Outlook and create a new email message.)

Want to see more Microsoft Word Tutorials? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Also ask questions and I’ll try to cover the answers in future posts.



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Who is Irene P. Smith? I am an author, programmer, and web designer. A former Contributing Editor to PC Techniques Magazine, I have written about computers and programming since 1989, and began publishing fiction in 2003. My home is in New York State, along the Delaware River, where I live with my husband and son.


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