(C) 2009 - 2014 by Mourad Louha · All rights reserved

Use own filename for the Normal.dot template in Word

Most of my readers certainly know that, when creating a new document in Microsoft Word, the application generally uses the file “Nomal.dot” or “Normal.dotm” as template. But did you know that the filename can also be customized?

While studying the Windows Registry and disk access from Microsoft Word, I noticed that each time before Word opens the file “Normal.dotm”, the value of the registry value name “GlobalDotName” is tried to be read. If the registry value is not present, then Word uses the default filename “Normal.dot” as template and if the registry value exists, Word uses it as default template filename.

Word 2010

If you like to create your own default template file, for example because you do not want to change the original file, you can create a new one and store the file to the default folder for Word templates. On a Windows 7 computer, the folder is generally located in:

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

For testing this in Word 2010, I had first duplicated the original “Normal.dotm” file and the renamed the copy to “Mourad.dotm”. Then I have opened the file with Word, inserted a smiley, saved and closed the file.

After this, I created the registry key. However, I would like to mention at this point that registry operations may be done carefully and that I can give no warranty for any changes. Changes to the registry are done at your own risk. In Windows 7, you can use the search field for executing the Windows Registry Editor by typing “regedit” and pressing enter. The new value name “GlobalDotName” should be created under the path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Options

The data type of “GlobalDotName” should be a “String” (REG_SZ). If you are using Office 2003 or Office 2007, then you may replace “14.0” by “11.0” or “12.0” in the registry path to the Word options. After creating the value name, you may customize the value to your filename, in my case “Mourad.dotm”.

That’s all – my template file is automatically used when creating a new document in Word. The screenshot below shows the result in Word 2010 (German).

Word 2010

As I know, this setting cannot be found in the Word options by using the Word interface. And the setting is also not available in the administrative templates for Word. Finally, everyone should decide for himself, if changing the filename of the default template really makes sense.

This article has also been published on the German Version of the Excel Ticker blog.