Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Editing a Template.

Editing a Template

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 20, 2017)


A template is Word's guide for how your document and working environment should appear. Depending on your version of Word, templates can contain information on the toolbar, menus, macros, styles, default text, and any number of other environmental items.

Editing a template is much like editing a regular document; the only difference is that the file is saved with a different filename extension than regular documents. To load an existing template so that you can edit it, do the following:

  1. Display the Open dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Open. In Word 2010 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Open. In Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon, click Open, click Computer, and then click Browse.)
  2. At the bottom of the dialog box, just above the Open button, is a drop-down list where you can specify the type of files you want Word to list. Use the drop-down list to select either Word Templates or Word Macro-Enabled Templates, depending on which type you want to open.
  3. Using the controls in the dialog box, browse through directories and disks drives as desired until the desired template files are listed.
  4. Select the desired document template.
  5. Click the Open button.

You can now make any changes desired, and then save the template again. The changes affect any future documents you base on the template.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7334) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Editing a Template.

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 5 + 9?

2016-11-16 17:19:03


Great site!
Could you please add more detail as to how to save the template once you have edited it.
I have all sorts of problems when I try to do this.
Do you click on Save, or Save as?

2016-02-10 18:39:21

Philip Demson

I have an "old" macro, created back in the day. It is an awesome tool.

I open it, go to outlook, select the calendar I want, then come back and hit run and word imports all calendar data for day/week/month that I ask and autofills into a pre-formatted form. Great product but I cannot edit the prefilled header. So I was given this template document as a hand-me-down but I have no idea how to modify the name and title on top.

There's a work around, but I'd like to learn how to fix this macro so it is cleaner.

2015-12-29 20:53:00


@John Beckett

Click on "Personal" to see templates you've made.

2015-08-22 00:13:11

Stephen Gray

I cant find a file named normal.dotm or normal.(anything) anywhere on my computer except a couple that contain 0 bytes. What am I doing wrong?

2015-08-17 17:13:52

John Beckett

Thanks for the template Editing advice - I made good use of it. I would like to be able to SAVE my resulting template in the list of templates when I am offered a new document design. Can anyone give tips or instructions on how to do that please ?
John B

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