Protecting the Normal Template During an Update

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 27, 2021)

Patti is using Microsoft 365, and when Office gets updated, the update process occasionally ends up saving over her Normal template and she loses all of her shortcut keys and AutoText. Patti wonders how she can hang onto her personalized Normal template when Microsoft decides to update Office.

Unfortunately, there is no setting or option you can use in Office (or Word) to prevent the overwriting. Microsoft, for some reason, seems to think it owns your Office settings (including the Normal template) and can overwrite things at will—this is a common complaint among many Office users.

There are two things you can try in order to throw up a roadblock to Microsoft. First, you can always make your Normal template read-only. You do this outside of Word, in Windows itself. Just find the template, right-click on it, choose Properties, and then mark it as read-only in the resulting dialog box. Once the read-only flag is set, theoretically it should not be overwritten until such point as you turn off the read-only flag.

The second thing you can try is to simply back up the Normal template. Once you make changes to the template and you are done with Word, copy the template to a different location on your system, to an external drive, or to a shared network drive. If you find that the template has changed the next time you start Word, you can then get out of the program and copy the backup template over the top of the existing Normal template (the one that was updated incorrectly).

To make the process more automatic, you could create two batch files—one to copy the Normal template to the backup location and the other to copy the Normal template from the backup location to where Word expects it to be located. You can place shortcuts to these batch files on your desktop so that you can click them and do the backing up (or restoring) very easily.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13839) applies to Microsoft Word Word in Microsoft 365.

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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