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: Factory Default Settings for Word.

Factory Default Settings for Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 29, 2019)


There may be times when you want to set Word back to a pristine, first-installed condition. For instance, you may be offering Word training, and you want to reset Word between each class offered. Many people think that the easiest way to do this is to simply allow Word to recreate the template. While this will restore some settings to their first-used state (such as macros, toolbars, and the like), it will not do the entire trick.

Other suggestions may include uninstalling and reinstalling Word. This, however, will not lead to a pristine version of Word. Many of the configuration settings unique to Word are stored in the Registry. The uninstall process does not remove all option settings stored in the Registry and many of these will be picked up after the re-install so that Word can use them. This is ideal for those who are upgrading—they get to keep their settings rather than find the upgrade overwriting them. However, it's not so useful for those who are looking to get a completely 'clean' install with no throwbacks to previous installs. Thus, after an uninstall, it is likely to be necessary to edit the Registry to remove the settings.

You should remember that you cannot do "resetting" of Word while the program is running. This is because Word saves configuration information as it exits. If you make changes and then exit, you overwrite any resetting you did.

You should make sure you rename the Normal.dotx file to a different name. In fact, it is a good idea to look for any file that begins with the word "Normal" and then look at the filename extensions for those files to determine if you should rename them. You should also remove any files from the Startup folder.

This is not the end of the process; you also need to make a few changes to the Registry. You may want to protect yourself from potential problems by backing up the Registry first, and then you can accomplish the following steps:

  1. Choose the Run option from the Start menu. This displays the Run dialog box.
  2. In the Open box enter the name regedit.
  3. Click on OK. This starts the Regedit program.
  4. If you are using Word 2007, select the HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Office/12.0/Word key.
  5. If you are using Word 2010, select the HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Office/14.0/Word key.
  6. If you are using Word 2013, select the HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Office/15.0/Word key.
  7. If you are using Word 2016 or a later version, select the HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Office/16.0/Word key.
  8. Press the Delete key. You are asked if you want to really delete the key.
  9. Click on Yes. The selected key is deleted.
  10. Close the Registry Editor.
  11. Restart Word. Word has been reset to default settings.

Understand that when you make all these changes, there are still a couple of settings that can then only be changed by a complete reinstall. For instance, the company name you entered when you first installed Word is actually stored in the Word program file. There are also other files that can be changed during the course of using Word, but you cannot "reset" by simply deleting them. An example would be any file on your system ending with the .ACL file name extension. These are used for shared and user-specific AutoCorrect settings. If you simply delete the files, you are removing all AutoCorrect settings, not setting them back to factory defaults.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12864) 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: Factory Default Settings for Word.

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 four more than 6?

2018-12-28 21:03:23


Hello -

I used Jay Freedman's process ( to back up all of my autocorrect entries from my Windows 7 machine which was running Office 2000. On a new Lenovo Ideapad, I installed Office 2016 and used Mr. Freedman's Restore from his process to build my autococorrect library. Word started intermittently crashing on me. I removed Office 2016 from that computer and installed it on my old Windows 7 computer. I then used Mr. Freedman's Restore process to build my autocorrect library there and had the same problem. I thought it may have something to do with the click-to-run service, so I uninstalled Office 2016 and installed Office 2010 instead. I went through the Restore step again from Mr. Freedman's macro, and am still experiencing the problem of Word intermittently crashing on me. I sent my autocorrect library/document to him; he tested and says he is not experiencing the problem with Word intermittently crashing. The reason I believe it to be related to the autocorrect library is I created a new user on my Windows 7 machine and started typing, and did not experience the issue. (Although, there are times I can type for quite some time and not experience the problem.) However, when I completed the Restore step under that new user, Word crashed and it was more of a fatal error -it did not restart on its own like I usually experience. I have been researching this issue for over a month now and have tried to complete all possible troubleshooting steps. Have repaired Office many times. Uninstalled, reinstalled. Updated all drivers. Removed all printers for now. Removed Adobe for now as a locked PDF file was always being created in my Temp folder as I believe it was always "on the ready" in he background in case I were to use the 'Save and Send' option, which I see no way to disable. I deleted the data folder and let it rebuild to no avail most recently. I am hesitant to delete the Word key as it doesn't sound like from your notes at the bottom of this entry it would resolve my issue anyhow. I am a verbatim legal transcriber (hence the large autocorrect library after 7+ years in the field) and time is money, so this is really driving me crazy.
Any ideas?

2018-03-20 01:24:04


thanks it helps!!

2016-08-02 17:40:05

sandra black

Thank you thank you!!! So many other forms and even MS themselves do not understand someone like me does not get the nomenclatures of their world. You actually went step by step in visual mode and got me where I needed to be! WoW!!

2016-07-31 04:03:03

Shubham Agarwal

I'm using word 2013 my computer doesn't show key option.....

2016-03-16 08:31:50

Kundan: You would need to talk to your computer administrator to enable it. If you have no admin, then you'll need to log into your system using an account that has administrator rights.


2016-03-16 00:16:42


My computer show this type error.
Registry Editing has been disabled by your admin.

Please tell me about how to enable registry editing.

2016-03-06 09:31:22


Thanks for this site. My problem is that when I was typing along on some document, some how my "page numbers" and headers/footers and any html link now shows these html coding instead of just the page number or the active link in the document?

When I copy the text from the internet page and paste it to my word document; the html coding is included in the text and the link won't work from the word doc like it normally would. Can any one help me and tell me how to get things back to normal without going through resetting microsoft word?

2016-02-24 01:35:16


Been struggling with my word for weeks, even the IT guy was stuck but this wokrd just wonderfully.

2016-02-18 17:44:11


Thanks very much. Was very helpful!

2016-01-17 01:36:45


Thanks. i did it

2016-01-10 00:12:53


I am using ms word 2007. It is really working. Thanks a lot!

2016-01-04 12:43:39


This worked like a charm! I had installed a graph paper template into WORD 2010, and somehow it became the default. I simply could not get rid of it. Renaming all the files didn't help.

Create restore point. Regedit. Delete WORD. Voila! It's gone.

Thank you!

2015-12-02 03:45:07


This was extremely helpful. Thank you for this write up.

2015-07-18 09:04:34


How to reset user options and registry settings in Word

2015-06-08 03:33:51


but still margin settings are not changed

2015-05-03 00:22:14

Serge B.

Thanks for the tip but it didn't work as expected with my MS-Word 2010.
I'm actually looking for a way to get back the default ribbon that came with certain commands already built-in in the Font Group (like font scaling).
I've tried to ADD them myself, but it doesn't seem to be "incorporated" in the font group itself, but rather it created a new "group" which looks quite "ugly".
Any tip on how I could achieve this?
Btw, I've already uninstalled and re-installed the whole MS Office 2010 software and it still doesn't work.
Thanks for your reply.

2015-04-30 12:19:14


It worked for me! Thank you!!

2015-02-13 01:45:57



2014-09-07 10:31:49


Hi, In continuation, of my above post, i wish to inform you that you have to close the word program and then go to the registry and delete the word folder. It will auto create the one default. Then start word

2014-09-07 10:29:23


Hi. spaulding
You have to delete the Word Folder totally to get back your default settings.

2014-09-07 10:27:31


The best solution i use and recommend to my friends. Excellent tip

2014-07-17 22:10:08

J Spaulding

This did not work for me. I deleted the following key:
The Word key had: Data, File MRU, HP Printer, Options, Place MRU, Recent Templates, Resiliency, Security, Status Bar, and Wizards.
Was I supposed to delete the Word key, which would have deleted all of these others?
Thank you.

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