Making Macros Available without Using the Normal Template

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 4, 2017)


Michael has a set of macros that copy selected content from one open document to another open document. He's put these macros in a template in an attempt at portability, but they don't seem to be available within documents based on the template. Michael wonders if there is a way—short of putting them in the Normal template—to make these macros available to other open documents.

The traditional way to do this is to create your own template, which means that you save it using the DOTM extension. (Simply save the file as a macro-enabled template. This sets the extension properly.) Make sure that the template includes all of the macros that you want to universally access. (It should not contain macros that you want to keep in your Normal template, instead.)

When your template is set up and saved just the way you want it, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box.
  2. At the left side of the dialog box, click Trust Center.
  3. Click the Trust Center Settings button. Word displays the Trust Center.
  4. At the left side of the Trust Center, click Trusted Locations. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Trusted Locations area of the Trust Center.

  6. In the list of locations, locate and click once on the location that contains the word "Startup."
  7. Click the Modify button. Word displays the Microsoft Office Trusted Location dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The Microsoft Office Trusted Location dialog box.

  9. Note the full path for the location. (Jot it down or copy it to somewhere like a temporary text document so you can refer to it later.)
  10. Click the Cancel button to close the Microsoft Office Trusted Location dialog box.
  11. Click the Cancel button to close the Trust Center.
  12. Click the Cancel button to close the Word Options dialog box.

With the full path name in hand (step 7) you can get out of Word. You want, at this point, to locate the template you created earlier and copy it to the folder specified by the path name. It is in this folder (the Startup folder) that you place documents you want automatically loaded whenever you start Word. By placing the template there, you are assured that it will be opened when you start Word, and that the macros it contains will be available during your Word session.

You should note that the folder you discovered through the above steps (the one shown in step 7) is probably a hidden folder on your system. This may make it a bit tricky to track down, but you can search on my WindowsTips site ( to find out how to display and use hidden folders.

There is one potential "gotcha" here: When you place the template in the Startup folder, the macros in the template can be run, but the cannot be directly edited. If you need to make changes to them (or add other macros to the template), you'll want to move the template out of the Startup folder, load it directly, make and save your changes, then move the template back to the Startup folder.

Note that once your template is fairly stable (the template you stored in the Startup folder), you can share that template with others and invite them to store it in their own Startup folder. You'll need to give them directions, of course, on how to do that storing, as noted above.


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (4632) 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 eight more than 6?

2020-05-24 12:49:41


Thank you so much Allen,
Your tip & tricks saved my day many times
God bless you

2017-11-04 21:24:58

Ken Endacott

There is a step left out in the description of how to make changes to a template file. After copying from the Startup folder to another folder and modifying with Word, before you can copy back to the Startup folder, Word must be closed otherwise you will get a message that the file is in-use. A better scheme to keep in another folder a “master copy” of the template that can be modified and tested. Then close Word and use Windows Explorer to copy into the Startup folder.

All the macros don’t have to be in the one template file, there can be several template files in the Startup folder. This gives flexibility in managing and editing the macros, for example all macros involving styles can be in one template and all macros involving copying between documents in another template.

2017-11-04 05:04:41


The procedure outlined in this article will certainly work for Excel which relies only on the Trusted Locations but Word has a second place where the Startup path must be specified. This is found under File | Options | Advanced | File Locations.
(see Figure 1 below)
Find the entry for the Startup folder, select it and click the Modify button.
(see Figure 2 below)
This will open the currently assigned startup folder in a file browser window.
Ensure that the location for the Startup folder is the same as the one specified under Trusted Locations. If you just have a default installation of Word this should be the case.

Figure 1. Advanced Options dialoog

Figure 2. File Locations dialog

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