Normal Template in Microsoft Word - How to Open or Find the Normal Template

ADD Balance - trademark of Charles Kenyon, Attorney at Law and Webmaster. Frequently Asked Questions - Help
Microsoft Word - Frequently Asked Questions - click to go to the question list.

on ADD Balance by Madison Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer Charles Kenyon

Many people visit this site and use the information it contains. It costs money to keep on line and effort to update.
If you have received assistance here
please consider making a donation if you can.

 
Thank you. Charles Kenyon

Thank you for the suggestions. ("Smilies" from Woody's Lounge.) Click to go to Lounge. with input and suggestions from many on Thank you for the suggestions. ("Smilies" from Woody's Lounge.) Click to go to Lounge.
the Microsoft Newsgroups and at Woody's Lounge 

Click here to skip past FAQ questions list and other info and go directly to the start of this topic.

Search the FAQ site on Google.

Remember to Refresh your page. [F5] in Internet Explorer. [Ctrl+R] in Netscape.

Home
Word Tutorial - Intermediate
Legal Users Guide to Word
Downloads
Books about Microsoft Word - Newsgroup suggestions
Links
Web Resources for Microsoft Word

 

Using Date Fields in Microsoft Word
Calculated Dates
Booklet Formatting and Printing in Microsoft Word
Changing the Default Font in Microsoft Word
Document linked to Printer in Microsoft Word
Fonts Missing from Menu in Microsoft Word
How can I get a different header / footer on the second page?
Heading? Header? Microsoft Word Help
More on Headers and Footers in Word
Letterhead
Mapped Content Controls and Document Properties
Weird Lines and Borders
Macros and VBA
Master Documents Feature in Microsoft Word
A Back CoverPage in Microsoft Word
Normal Template in Microsoft Word - How to Open or Find the Normal Template
My docs open in the wrong program! Re-registering Word using the commandline.
Moving (Sharing) Customizations in Microsoft Word
Global StyleSheet?
MVP means?
Naming Files - A System is the Key
Posting tips in the Microsoft Word Forums
Getting rid of that (*)#"@^ paperclip! - Taming the Office Assistant
Page X of Y doesn't work in Microsoft Word!
Save Changes to the Global Template? Keeps Popping Up
Templates in Microsoft Word
Global Templates
Too Many Icons on the Taskbar in Microsoft Word 2000
Getting Rid of the Web Toolbar in Microsoft Word
Word for Word Perfect Users
Favorite Documents Menu
Work Menu in Microsoft Word
Templates Menu in Microsoft Word
What books have been recommended about Microsoft Word?
Where can I find more templates?
Word Links

How do I find or open the Normal Template in Microsoft Word?

The normal template is central to your use of Word. It holds many of your defaults and your own customizations or modifications to Word. It is possible that something outside of it does not let you save changes you make to it without opening it directly. There are times when the simplest way to change defaults in Microsoft Word is to open the Normal.dot or Normal.dotm template. Other times you need to find it so you can open the containing folder and rename the template for diagnostic work. The normal template will always be found in the user templates folder, which has different default locations in different versions of Word and different operating systems. That location can be changed in the Word options by the user.

How to Open the Normal template in any version of Word

To open the normal template in any version of Word on any Windows operating system you can do the following.

  1. Open Word.

  2. Open the vba Editor by Pressing Alt+F11 together. (Trouble using Alt+F11?)

  3. At the bottom of the vba Editor window is something called the Immediate window. (Press Ctrl+G to activate this window if you don't see it.) Click in that Immediate window.

  4. Type the following (or copy it from here and paste it):

    application.NormalTemplate.OpenAsDocument

     

  5. Press Enter

  6. Close the vba Editor.

  7. You are now in the Normal.dot template (Word 97-2003) or Normal.dotm template (Word 2007-2013)

  8. Make your changes and save it. If you are curious about where you can find it in the future, use Save As and look at where Word is planning on saving it.

  9. Your Word program only uses one Normal template. Your computer may have more than one but Word only uses one. If there is more than one such template on your computer, this (vba) is the only way I know of to be sure that the Normal template you open is the one your version of Word is using! If you have multiple versions of Word on your computer, each should have its own template.

Note that you should never put any text in the Normal template.

This includes headers, footers and page numbers!

How to Find the User Templates Folder and Normal template.

Many diagnostics require that you rename the normal template. Sometimes, something in the normal template is causing problems in your use of Word. It is located in your user templates folder. Note, some advisors mistakenly tell you to delete the normal template. Renaming it will accomplish the same purpose: Word will create a new fresh normal template the next time it starts. However, if there are valuable customizations in the normal template like macros, AutoText entries, or styles, if it is renamed rather than deleted, those customizations can be recovered. If you have not changed any of the defaults in your Word normal template, there may not be one. (This is unusual, but possible.)

By default, user templates files are stored in the following location:

bulletIn Windows XP C:\Documents and Settings\ user name \Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
bulletIn Windows Vista or in Windows 7-10 C:\Users\ user name \AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates
bulletOn a Mac, I've been told it is ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates
bulletBeginning with Office 2013 (Office 365) the default folder location for most user templates has been moved to a subfolder of the user's Documents folder: Custom Office Templates. However, the location of the normal template will still be in the user templates folder which remains the default folder unless changed by the user.

Note you can change the location of user templates files. That is done in advanced options. If you have done so, you need to check there for your location.

If you rename or delete your normal template, it will not be recreated by Word until such time as you make a change to your defaults. If you have an Add-In that prevents saving changes to the normal template, then it will not be created. Word will operate fine without a Normal template, using its defaults.

To find the normal template in any version of Word on any Windows operating system you can do the following.

  1. Open Word.

  2. Open the vba Editor by Pressing Alt+F11. (Trouble using Alt+F11?)

  3. At the bottom of the vba Editor window is something called the Immediate window. (Press Ctrl+G to activate this window if you don't see it.) Click in that Immediate window.

  4. Type the following (or copy it from here and paste it):

    debug.print application.NormalTemplate.Path

     

  5. Press Enter

  6. The location of your normal template for your Word installation shows just below what you typed. If you copy this and paste it into the location bar in Windows Explorer, you will be taken to the folder containing the normal template.

You can also use Windows Search function.

The normal template will almost always be found somewhere within the User profile. Finding it using Windows is a bit more complicated and depends on the operating system you are using. The thing is that by default the Templates folder used by any version of Word (other than Word 2013/365) is a hidden system folder. In a regular search, Windows skips such folders. You need to access the search options and tell Windows to look in hidden and system folders. Generally, you are able to access these options after you complete a search with no results.

In Windows 8.1 the Advanced Options are available immediately:

 

Opening the Normal template after you find it:

If you found the normal template in a folder so you could open that template, remember that you need to use File > Open within Word to open it or, from Windows, right-click on the icon and select Open from the context menu. If you double-click on it, you will create a new document, not open it. This is true of all templates in Microsoft Word .

How to "dirty" the Normal Template so that changes to AutoTexts, macros, and Styles put in Normal from other Files will be saved.

Some changes made to the template are not reflected as a "change" by Word such that pressing Ctrl+S (or using File > Save) will save them. You can force the "changed" or "dirty" state by doing the following:

Type any letter. Use the backspace key to erase it. Do not use Undo or Ctrl+Z. Then press Ctrl+S to save.

* Trouble using Alt+F11?

If the Alt+F11 combination to open the VBA editor isn't working there are at least two possibilities.

  1. The first is that you are pressing the keys in sequence and Word is grabbing the Alt press to bring up its tooltips.
  2. The second is that some other program outside of Word is hijacking the use of function keys. This can be a laptop BIOS or can be another utility program like SnagIt.

The first is most likely and you can tell if that is what is happening if the tooltips pop up on the ribbon. See below. Pressing Alt a second time gets rid of them and then you want to press Alt+F11 together.

If it is an outside program, you need to go to that program's setup and change the use of Function Keys. See Function Keys in Word 97-2016.

A workaround for getting to the Visual Basic Editor is to go into macros in Word and open it from there.

 

 

Return to Questions List 

Send e-mail

Changes / suggestions / ideas can be sent to Charles Kenyon.

Hit Counter Page views since 13 April 2004

Many people visit this site and use the information it contains.
It costs money to keep on line and effort to update.
If you have received assistance here
please consider making a donation if you can.

 
Thank you. ckk

Copyright 2000-2016 Charles Kyle Kenyon

FAQ provided as an adjunct / hobby as a part of my web site as a criminal defense lawyer.

Smile! Bumper stickers and jokes.