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: Automatically Saving Changes to Defaults.

Automatically Saving Changes to Defaults

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 31, 2014)


Many of Word's configuration settings are stored in the Normal template. This template is used to help create new, blank documents and to define some of the system-wide settings used by Word. As you make changes to these settings, Word marks the Normal template as "dirty" so that it will be saved when you exit the program.

By default, Word saves the Normal template without any notification to you. However, you may want notification. Why? In case there were some changes done without your explicit action—for instance, by running a macro. If you want Word to notify you when it is about to save the Normal template, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll down until you see the Save options. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options in the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Prompt Before Saving Normal Template check box is selected.
  6. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8437) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Automatically Saving Changes to Defaults.

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 1 + 8?

2014-06-02 11:57:39


how do i configure my Normal template on Office 2013 for my own settings, as i never knew how to do this?

2014-05-31 10:28:38


I don't understand why the template would be changed without manually changing it. With the box checked, Word asks if the template should be changed every time I close Word. That seems to be a common problem, because another tip tells you to de-select this option. The real problem is that Word doesn't tell you what has changed. How can you decide if you want to change it if you don't know what changed? I have this option turned off so I don't get the question every time I use Word, and 99% of the time it's not a problem. Once in a while, though, it seems a document from outside will change settings. Recently, it took me a few days to get everything back to the way I had it.

Word should not allow template changes without specific direction. Period.

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