Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Finding Where Templates Are Stored.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 20, 2017)
It is unfortunate that Microsoft does not make it easier to modify templates. The first step in modifying templates is to load one, and that means you need to know where they are stored on disk. Regrettably, the average user hasn't a clue where they are stored on disk. The problem is that even Word Help cannot say exactly where the templates folder is on any particular computer.
If you want to know where your templates are stored, follow these steps:
Figure 1. The File Locations dialog box.
Note that this tells you where your user templates are stored. It may not tell you where your Normal template is stored. (The Normal template is where Word stores default settings for brand new, blank documents it creates.) I say "may not" because some versions of Word seem to store this special template in a different directory all together. If you suspect this is the case with your version of Word, just get out of the program and use Windows' search capabilities to look for "normal.do*" (without the quote marks). Note the use of the wildcard asterisk at the end of what you are searching for; this should help you find any template (or even document) that starts with "normal."
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6072) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Finding Where Templates Are Stored.
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