Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Recovered Document becomes Default.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 10, 2020)
When Word runs into a problem that stops it from functioning—such as a program error or an abnormal shutdown of the program—it tries to recover any documents you were working on. This feature only works when you have the AutoRecover feature turned on as has been described in other WordTips. When Word is restarted, it recognizes that there were "unsaved" versions of previously open documents, and it shows them as "recovered" documents that you can now chose Save or Discard.
In some strange situations, it may be possible that Word recognizes your Normal template file as unsaved and attempts to recover it. If this occurs, make sure you examine the file carefully to ensure that it contains only what you want it to contain. If, for instance, the recovered template contains text, and you tell Word to save the recovered file, then that text will always be visible in any new document created with the Normal template.
If you find yourself in this situation—with unwanted text in what you expect to be a blank document—then there are a couple of things you can do to rectify the situation.
First, if you have no macros or special styles, you can simply delete the Normal template. Get out of Word completely and then use the Windows Search tool to locate the file Normal.dotm. When you find it, rename it to something else or simply delete it. When you restart Word, it will recreate the template file, and the document will again be blank.
If your system does have customizations that you want to keep, follow these steps:
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8838) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Recovered Document becomes Default.
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