Understanding WIZ Files

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 7, 2017)

2

Rod received a Word file with the extension .WIZ. At least, he thinks it is a Word document, as it opens in Word when he double-clicks the file. Rod wonders how a .WIZ file differs from other types of Word files.

Wizard files (those that end with the .WIZ file extension) have actually been around for quite a while, at least since the days of Word 2000. The original concept behind Wizard files is that they would lead a user, step by step, through creating some type of complex document. Although you can still find some examples of Wizard files, they never seemed to catch on as Microsoft seems to have hoped they would.

Creating a Wizard file is rather easy—all you do is to create and save a Word template, and then within Windows (outside of Word) you rename the file to have the .WIZ extension. When a person double-clicks a Wizard file, it is supposed to open and start whatever macros are within the file, and the macros will lead the person through whatever process they are designed to do. If there are no macros within the Wizard file, then it acts just like a template and creates a new document based on the file.

If you decide to create your own Wizard file for some purpose, remember that you should create within the template macros that automatically run when the file is opened. These macros should start leading the user through the steps necessary to create a final document. For instance, you might want to create a Wizard file that leads a user through creating letterhead from the correct department in your company. The template could include your "base" letterhead, and then the macro could determine which department the user wants to use. After getting that input, the macro could adjust the letterhead to reflect the desired department. Of course, this is rather simplistic—using macros you could get quite fancy in what you want to accomplish.

Bottom line is that there is no functional difference between a document template and a Wizard file, except in the filename extension used with the file.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (4363) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is four less than 4?

2017-10-09 02:19:35

Christian Land Hansen

Wil there be at wordtip about creating .wiz files?


2017-10-07 09:36:20

Marc Menard

Good day Mr. Wyatt, I think there might be two reasons why this never really caught on: the first is the part where you have to rename it OUTSIDE of Word with File Explorer (if you don’t know the file type exists as well as its purpose, that’s kinda hard). Second, with the spread of viruses hidden in Word macros, this made quite a few companies block macro execution right from the start, which sort of defeats the purpose of creating such a .wiz file. An interesting curiosity no doubt, sort of like a rediscovery by accident, I get that this must have seemed like a good idea at the time. It’s a bit sad that Microsoft did not do a better job of protecting the macro environment and talk about the feature a little more. Good thing we got you around to educate us!


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