The Normal Template: Crucial to All Documents

No matter which template you choose for a specific document, one template is always open: the Normal template, stored as in Word 2003's template folder. Although the Normal template doesn't include any text, it does include the following:

  • Word's built-in AutoText entries for letters and other business documents as covered in Chapter 9.

  • The 90-plus built-in Word styles covered in Chapter 10.

As you work, your new styles, AutoText entries, macros, and many other customizations are stored in the Normal template, unless you deliberately choose to save them elsewhere. Therefore, the longer you work with Word, the more valuable your file is likely to become.


This file is so important that it's the first target of many macro virus authors?who, by infecting, can thereby infect all of your documents. Even if you don't back up your entire Word installation as regularly as you should, at least store a current copy of somewhere safe every couple of weeks.

Word looks for whenever it starts up. If is damaged or renamed, or if Word simply can't find it in the template (or Workgroup template) folder you've specified in Tools, Options, File Locations, it simply creates a new one using Word's default settings. However, the new won't contain any of the styles, AutoText entries, or other customizations you have added since installing Word.

You can generally use the Organizer to copy custom styles, toolbars, macros, and AutoText entries from the renamed to the new (If your original was virus-infected, don't copy macros into the new one.) The Organizer is covered in Chapter 10 and is reviewed again later in this chapter, in the "Moving Elements Among Templates" section.

To learn more about protecting your documents from virus infection, see "Preventing and Controlling Word Viruses," p. 1106.

Understanding Where Word Stores Templates

Although Word normally manages template files well on its own, if you want to copy templates between computers manually?or if you run into problems with a template?it helps to know where and how Office 2003 stores templates. Word recognizes templates stored in several ways:

  • User-customized templates. These are templates you create yourself. In Windows 2000 and Windows XP, they are typically stored in C:\Documents and Settings\userprofile\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates\.

  • Custom workgroup templates. These are templates stored in a special workgroup template folder (commonly established as a read-only shared folder on a network server). When Word finds templates stored here, these templates are displayed in the General tab of the Templates dialog box.

  • Templates stored on your Web sites. These are templates stored in folders you have designated on Web servers you control. Creating a folder on a Web Server where you can store templates is covered later in this chapter, in the section titled "Storing Templates on a Web Server."

  • "Advertised" and Installed templates. These are templates that come with Microsoft Office 2003. They are listed in the Templates dialog box the first time you open Word, whether or not they have been copied to your hard drive. If they have not been copied to your hard drive, you will be prompted to install them the first time you use them. These are stored in the following folder: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\language id number, where language id number is different depending on your default language. The U.S. version of Microsoft Office uses 1033 as its ID number. You can have several separate folders, each containing Word's templates for a specific installed language.

  • "Non-file-based" templates. These are special templates used internally by Word to create some new kinds of documents; they do not correspond to separate physical files but rather features directly built into Word.

You can change the location where Word looks for user templates and custom workgroup templates through the File Locations tab of the Tools, Options dialog box. When you make a change here, it affects all your Office applications.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word