File New in Microsoft Word - Access to User and Workgroup Templates
- Registry Hack
by Charles Kyle Kenyon, Esq.
There are no promises that this chapter is of the same quality or depth as the other chapters of this guide. That is because it was
written by a single author not working with Microsoft and not subject to
Sunday 19 June 2022.
Comments are welcome.
Introduction. This could be a part of the chapter on
File New Variations
but would bloat that chapter.
This is about what you see when
you use File => New in the various versions of Word and how to get to
your own user and workgroup templates. (Word 2007: Office Button => New).
This chapter is about how to hack the registry to give priority to your
This chapter is for Word for Windows Versions 2013 and later.
Since Word 97, Microsoft has been trying to steer users to see
the plethora of mediocre templates available Online.
This trend is discussed in depth in my page on
File New Variations.
A remedy given in that page is to use the legacy FileNew dialog
instead of the Backstage. That is what I do.
With Word 2013, Microsoft introduced the Custom Office Templates
folder and the version of Backstage that essentially hides your
custom templates under a button.
You are shown all sorts of Online templates by default, the
If you want your Custom Templates to be displayed, you need to
click on a button which can have
various names as
explained in the variations page.
For most users, this is a button click they neither want nor
(In addition the
Templates folder is confused with the User Templates Folder. I
recommend that they be set to be the same folder.)
The purpose of this page is to show you how to have your Custom
Office Templates (and Workgroup Templates) be the first displayed,
allowing you the option of looking at the Featured Templates by
clicking on that button instead.
Macintosh versions of Word (2004, 2008, 2011, 2014,
2016, 2019 / 365) are not
covered here although they may be similar to the Windows versions. I
have not used Word on the Mac since Version 6.0 and do
not have the experience to write helpfully about those versions.
Things Covered In This Web Page
This page takes a look at:
guide table of contents) ------- (MS
Word New Users FAQ)
Creating a New Document Based on a Template
Word uses the standard Windows keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+N) to
create a new document. This is actually a new document based on the
Normal template (Normal.dot or Normal.dotm). This should be a blank
document without text. However, it is rare that we want to begin
documents from scratch. Ordinarily what we want to do now is similar to
something we have done in the past. For that we can save a lot of time
by using a template. There are many templates distributed with Word and
many available online. Those who use Word extensively, tend to build
their own set of templates, often based on modifications of the generic
ones. This is good practice. The FileNew dialog gives access to these
templates. That access has changed through the versions of Word.
In Word 97-2000, when you selected "New" under the File menu you saw
a dialog that looked something like this:
In this article, I refer to this as the FileNew dialog. As is
explained in the Templates
chapter, this dialog gives quick access to templates on your computer in
certain designated locations. It includes templates distributed with Word (some
built into the program), those in the User Templates folder and those in
the Workgroup Templates folder and their subfolders. It does not give
access to templates that may be stored elsewhere on your computer or on
the Office site.
Every installation of Word will have a User Templates folder which
has a default location but which can be designated by the user. A
separate folder (local or network) can be designated by the user as the
Workgroup Templates folder. Word does not create such a folder upon
installation, it must be created by the user.
I have found using these two folders to store any templates for daily
work to be beneficial and this FileNew dialog to be a quick way to use
templates that have been developed or modified locally.
Over time, there was a great push for new users to have access to
templates they can use immediately without developing their own. This
has resulted in changes to what shows up with File => New making the
basic FileNew dialog shown above harder to find. This chapter is about
those changes and how to use them but still reach and use the FileNew
Word 2002-2003 and the Introduction of the New File Pane
Selecting New from File in Word 2002-2003 opens a Task Pane on the
right side of your Word window something like the following:
Selecting "General Templates" (Word 2002) or "On my computer"
(Word 2003) gets
you the FileNew dialog:
The Task Pane also has the option to look at Templates on
Microsoft.com (Word 2002) Office Online (Word 2003) or on My web sites.
The Word 2003 new file dialog itself has a button to go to Office
It is possible in all versions from Word 97 on to also look at lists
of templates including details in this dialog.
In Word 97-2003, the FileNew dialog includes (1) installed templates,
(2) user templates, and (3) workgroup templates. Here's
how to get to this dialog without going through
the New File Pane.
Word 2007 - the Ribbon Interface and the Emphasis on Office Online
Word 2007 brought us the Ribbon Interface. This was part of a drastic
makeover of Office and eventually Windows and many other programs (not
produced by Microsoft). The idea is to make many more commands
accessible to the novice.
As a part of this, the Office Online templates were moved toward center
stage. The File menu disappeared, replaced for some purposes with the
orange Office Button. Going to Office Button => New starts with Blank
and recent templates but provides other choices.
The long list of categories for templates looks like the
tabs in the FileNew dialog but refers to Office Online templates, not
those installed on the computer with Word or placed there by the user.
Installed templates refers to templates from Microsoft, not user or
workgroup templates. These "Installed" templates are actually built into
the program rather than separate template files on the computer.
Microsoft Office Online gives a bevy of templates
divided into categories (searches on Office Online). What we are
interested in here, though, is templates created or modified locally. If
stored in the User Templates Folder or the Workgroup Templates folder,
these are accessed using "My templates..."
This brings us our traditional or classic FileNew dialog
(with no button for Office Online). Beginning with Word 2007 this dialog
no longer includes the "Installed" templates but simply those found in
the User Templates Folder and the Workgroup Templates Folder. For me,
this is fine.
If you want to be able to get to this dialog with a
keyboard shortcut or an icon on the QAT, skip to
Word 2010 Starts With Graphic Office Online Icons
Word 2010 returned something that looks like a File menu
- the blue File Button which takes us to the "backstage" of the document.
When New is selected there, we get a graphic emphasis on Office Online
templates right away.
or - closer up -
The categories with icons shown in the predominate
bottom part of the screen are for Office Online templates, not built-in
templates, not user or workgroup templates. These look like the tabs in
the FileNew dialog but are not. Again, these give a search result
(Bing) for templates in that category on Office Online.
The "Sample templates" in the Home part of the window
are those built into the program -- the same as Word 2007's
Again, these are built into the program, not separate
files on the computer. It is possible, using XML, to add your own custom
templates to the featured templates. Your author has not done this, but
it is discussed in
Deploy Custom Templates.
If "My templates" is selected we get (surprise!):
Again, this dialog is a combination of the templates in
the User Templates folder and the Workgroup Templates folder under tabs.
The tabs are representations of subfolders in those folders. See the
Templates Chapter for more on that
relationship and the folder organization.
If you want easier access to FileNew Dialog in Word
2010, you can skip ahead to that section
to see how to get a keyboard shortcut, an Icon on the QAT or even a
button on the Ribbon to take you there.
Word 2013-21 changed the default location of custom user
templates from a hidden Templates folder to one
called "Custom Office Templates" stored in the user's Documents folder.
Again, this is a default. Word 2013 tries to store any document you save
as a template to the this templates folder (returning to earlier
behavior). The normal.dotm file is still saved in the User Templates
Folder. See below for more on this
When you choose File > New, Word 2013-21 does not display the FileNew dialog
or even look like it gives you a choice of your custom templates! It
starts you out with icons of Office Online Featured templates.
Note: If when you Start Word 2013-21 you are seeing
something like this when you expect or want to see a blank document, see
Word 2013-21 Startup Screen.
It is possible, using XML, to add your own custom
templates to the featured templates. Your author has not done this, but
it is discussed in
Deploy Custom Templates.
Hidden in the clutter of that crisp-looking screen next
to "Featured" is
the word "Personal" or "Custom" or
"Shared." My thanks to this
Wiki article for the explanation for the variations in what shows
Each of these words look like text, but they are
buttons that you click on to get to another screen.
The folder names shown above were set by the user. The
default location for user templates changed in Word 2013 from
"Templates" to "Custom Office Templates." The old
template folder (which contains the normal template) does not show up on
this dialog. Workgroup
Templates have no default name or location in any version of Word.
You can make the screen shown above the default
(i.e., show your Custom templates as the default rather than the
(usually useless generic)
Online templates by modifying the registry.
WindowsKey + R gives you a Run Box:
Type "regedit" and click on OK. You will be asked if
you really want to do this. Say "Yes."
A confusing looking Explorer dialog will open up.
Type or Paste the following in the address box:
Then under File choose to Export the Registry (this
is a backup before you make changes):
You should notice where you are saving your backup
and assign a good name.
You are in the Word options. Look for
If it is there, change the value to 1. If it is not
there, right click on Options and create a new DWord if you are
using a 32-bit version or
a new QWord if you are using the 64-bit version.
Figure 2013-3. If you click on one of the folders, you get to see icons
for its contents, beginning with the folders.
If you click on one of those internal folders, you get to icons
for its contents.
In the classic dialog there would be a tab for
"Appellate Forms CK." Clicking on that tab would get you to those
templates, shown as (smaller) icons or as a list.
The Classic File New dialog (which you would reach by
clicking on "On My Computer" or "My Templates" in earlier versions is
not available in Word 2013-21 without modification. That dialog allows
direct manipulation of templates (i.e. copy or delete) as in Windows and
lets you show lists of template names rather than icons. It combines the
templates in the user templates folder and those in the workgroup
templates folder. It does not show any templates in the Custom
Office Templates folder unless that folder is set to also be the user
templates folder or the workgroup templates folder.
You can easily add access
to the classic FileNew dialog to your Word 2013-21.
Advantages of the Word 2013-21 method:
When you mouse-over a template, the pin icon (pin
pointed horizontally) will appear.
If you click on that pin icon, it will rotate and
the template will appear on the initial File New dialog.
Word 2013-21 installs with the "Take a Tour" template
Clicking on the pin of a template already pinned,
will rotate the pin back to horizontal and unpin the template.
If you hesitate in clicking on the pin/unpin icon,
you'll get a tooltip as shown.
None of the proposed 2013-21
modifications preclude using the
native Word 2013-21 method and screens.
Word Start Screen adds another wrinkle.
One more wrinkle is that Word 2013-21 comes with a new
Startup (splash) screen that makes
things even more confusing. You can get rid of it in Word Options.
The Distinction between the User Templates
Folder and the Default Personal Templates Location in Word 2013/365 and
Word 2007-2010 save newly created templates where documents are saved,
by default. This is not a good place to be saving templates. Earlier
versions saved them in the User Templates folder, by default. Word
2013/365 introduced the "Default Personal Templates Location." By
default this is a separate folder called Custom Office Templates in the documents folder. It holds
templates created or saved by the user but does not hold the normal.dotm
The user can change the location of the Default Personal Templates
folder under the File > Options > Save dialog. Again, this folder
is distinct from the User Templates folder set under File > Options >
Advanced > File Locations. That folder contains the normal.dotm
This (Default Personal Templates folder) is the location Word will look for templates under the File > New
dialog as Personal. It will NOT look at the User Templates folder unless
that folder is the same folder! Unless this folder is also designated as the User
Templates folder, it will not contain the functioning normal.dotm
The User Templates folder is a roaming location by default and can be
set under File > Options > Advanced > File Locations. It will
contain the normal.dotm template and will show up in the classic FileNew
dialog. I recommend that most users designate the "user templates
folder" and the "default personal templates" folder to be the same
this discussion on the Word Answers forum.
Getting to the FileNew dialog without all the intermediate steps
See FileNew Variations in
Keyboard Modifications to Word 2013-21 Saved in Normal.dotm by
You will see an option for storage location option on each of the
Customize dialogs. The modifications made to keyboard shortcuts are
stored in the normal.dotm template by default. Those to the QAT are
stored in the Word.OfficeUI file. These are the easy place to keep these
and you may want to do so, but you should be aware that you are making a
Instead, you can save them
in your own template(s). If such a template is placed in the
Word Startup Folder,
the modifications will apply in all documents. Taking the template(s) out
of that folder removes the customizations from Word. This is the easiest way to make
customizations you may want to remove or may want to share with others. (Normal.dotm
should never be a shared file.) Such a resource template is called a
Global Template. See Modifying the
QAT for more on QAT storage locations.
Modifications made to the Ribbon through the Interface are stored in
a file called Word15.CustomUI. This
file is not something you should transfer to another user or computer. Word
does allow you to export and import ribbon customizatons, but such a
import is an all-or-nothing proposition and wipes any existing
customizations. If you want Ribbon customizations only to
certain templates or want to be able to easily transfer ribbon
customizations without wiping out existing ones, explore XML
Customize the Ribbon (It doesn't take rocket science)
Here is a free
Add-In you can download contains such a global template.
Jay Freedman has a different Add-In that uses a custom dialog box
instead of the classic dialog box. It is available as a free download
from his MacroZone
site. The name of the download is NewDocUserForm.zip.
You can reach me by
Copyright (c) 2000, 2014-2022 Charles Kyle Kenyon, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
All rights reserved. Please do not copy this without express permission.