Word 2016 Templates: "Featured" vs "Shared" vs "Custom" location names!

Technical Level : Basic

Summary

Word 2016 changed (again!<sigh> ) the way templates are handled. Unfortunately the names used are not obvious. I've been puzzled about it for a while now and finally tripped over some answers. This wiki tries to summarize what I've found.

There is a 2013 version of this entry, the labels are slightly different:

Word 2013 Templates: Featured vs Personal vs Shared vs Custom location names! - wiki

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/wiki/office_2013_release-word/word-2013-templates-featured-vs-personal-vs-shared/80fffecb-74b6-4cf9-8c86-6955186ef39d?tm=1406677399787

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Charles Kenyon at Addbalance found another variation, "Private" that I had not seen.  Definitely do take a look at his article for a much more detailed description of how various versions of Word, 97 thru 2016, handle templates

Addbalance: File New in Microsoft Word - Access to User and Workgroup Templates

Details

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/wiki/msoffice_word-mso_other/word-2016-templates-featured-vs-personal-vs-shared/80fffecb-74b6-4cf9-8c86-6955186ef39d

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In the Word 2016 "File menu > New command" backstage "pain" <sic, grin> I have read many questions and replies describing a "Featured" location and multiple other second locations such as "Personal" or "Shared" or "Custom".  But no one was ever clear on the significance of those 3 names.  I finally tripped over the answer, and will share it with you.

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For more information about the File > New dialog in earlier versions of Office, 97-2016, see, "File New in Microsoft Word - Access to User and Workgroup Templates": http://www.addbalance.com/usersguide/fileNew.htm

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Office 2016 User Interface Reminder

Just a reminder, in the Office 2016 user interface things that look like "text" or "labels" may also be "clickable" buttons / tabs. This is one case.  When the backstage pane is displayed after clicking on File menu > New command you see the "New" documents pane.  It gives you templates options you can work with. Either by searching for them, or using "local" templates.  Everyone will see a "label" called "FEATURED" and one of several other options.  Featured, and these other options are actually "buttons" you can click on. If you look VERY closely, you will see that the currently selected label will be displayed in a different color.

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Note:

There is an option setting to control display of this backstage pane when you first Start Word:

  • Go to File menu > Options command > General option > Start Up Options section.
  • Turn ON option "Show the Start Screen when this application opens"

"Featured" vs "Personal" vs "Shared" vs "Custom" vs "Private"

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"Featured"

The "Featured" tab always. It will look something like this:

“Shared”

The Shared tab is displayed by default.

If you are not logged in to your email account you will see this:

I can’t get it to work at this time. I’ll have to do some more research.

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"Personal"

For this next screen capture, I defined a location for my "personal" templates. These are templates you typically create for your own use. They are stored on your machine and you don't expect to share these templates with anyone else.  You define the Personal templates location in the File menu > Options command > Save option > "Default personal Templates location:"  . Enter (or paste) the location of your personal templates.

Note: I used my “E:\” (SSD) drive, you will most likely use your C:\user\"personal profile location"

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Additional discussion about Personal Template vs User Template Locations

Here is what the File menu >New command backstage pane looks like with the Personal template location defined.  You still have the search field and suggestions, but now you also have the "Featured" and "Custom" buttons

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"Shared"

You will see the "Shared" label/button when you only define a "Workgroup" location but no "Personal" location.  The Workgroup location is defined in the "old" dialog.  You get to this dialog by going to the File menu > Options command > Advanced option (blue box #1) > scroll down to the General section > Click on the "File locations ... " button (yellow highlight, blue box #2) to display the "File Locations" dialog box.  In the File Locations dialog, double click on the "Workgroup Templates" entry (yellow highlight, blue box #3) to display the file find dialog.  Navigate to the Workgroup templates location, typically on a shared drive on your network that users only have read only access to.

(Note: Yes this is a screen cap of 2013, but 2016 is essentially the same)

With only a Workgroup templates location defined, no "Personal" location defined you will see a shared button. When you click on the Shared button it will display all of the templates and/or folders defined in that location.  Often, if you have many corporate templates, they will be logically arranged in folders. In that case you would first see those folders.

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"Custom"

If you have defined BOTH a personal location and a workgroup location then the second button/label you see will be "Custom" . On that tab you will see the 2 folder names you have defined for those locations. Clicking on either one will then take you to those templates, and/or their subfolders.

It will look something like this:

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"Private"

If it says "Private" that means that you have not designated any folder as the Workgroup Templates folder and clicking on "Private" will give you a view of the templates in the folder designated under the File>Options>Save for your custom Templates Folder

.Outstanding Question

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I am wondering what happens if your Workgroup location is defined on SharePoint (is this even possible?) rather than a shared network drive.  Has anyone encountered this? Please leave a comment describing what you see

Thanks to Shannon-STP we have a reply to my Outstanding Question. Yes, you can define a shared Workgroup location in SharePoint:

<snip>

Just to answer your question: yes, you can store your Workgroup Templates in Sharepoint.  This is what I have under File->New, with my Workgroup Templates stored on our Sharepoint Team Site.  

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NB: of course users in the workgroup would need to have access to the document library where the templates are stored, and they would need to be able to browse to that location to define it as the default Workgroup Templates file location - so would need to use the sync client for that library first. 

</snip>

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Related Reading

Charles Keynon (a frequent replier on this site) has a page of information related to this issue on his site.  Take a look at his page:

File New in Microsoft Word - Access to User and Workgroup Templates

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Bonus

A reader (GregRitchie) did some deep diving into the Registry and found this.

Add a registry key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\office\16.0\PowerPoint\options
DWORD: OfficeStartDefaultTab
Value: 1

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Note: You will probably have to add both the "Options" as well as the key.

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This key changes the startup screen to load straight into your Personal templates. Whether that be Custom or Shared. Instead of starting at the Featured Page.

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This key was tested in PowerPoint, but there is a very good chance it will also work for other Office applications, like Word and Excel.  (Let me know if you try, success or fail, I'll update this note).

 

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Last updated November 20, 2019 Views 30,667 Applies to:

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Hi, thanks for your clear article.

Just to answer your question: yes, you can store your Workgroup Templates in Sharepoint.  This is what I have under File->New, with my Workgroup Templates stored on our Sharepoint Team Site.  NB: of course users in the workgroup would need to have access to the document library where the templates are stored, and they would need to be able to browse to that location to define it as the default Workgroup Templates file location - so would need to use the sync client for that library first. 

Thanks for the update Shannon.
(Ѳ‿Ѳ)
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“To err is human--and to blame it on a computer is even more so”
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Robert Orben

Thank you for all this info.

My problem was getting the "Personal" tab to show when creating a new document from a custom template, in Word 2016 with Windows 10.

I found the following link on the Microsoft communities pages while searching for a fix to my problem. It suggested I copy the link and then search using Cortana: C:\Users\insertyournamehere\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

Clicked on the link to file manager to check that's where my custom templates were located and copied the address

Then went to the File tab, as you suggested; went to Save tab, then pasted template location in Default personal templates location:

Such a simple fix for an excruciatingly annoying problem - if only you know how!! 

Microsoft don't seem to make everything simple - massive waste of time searching for a solution! But here it is - happy template making and using:)

Hey,

When going to File menu > Options command > Advanced option > scroll down to the General section > Click on the "File locations ... " button to display the "File Locations" dialog box.  In the File Locations dialog, double click on the "Workgroup Templates" entry I can not seem to set it to a URL or http://xxx location? How can I direct it to the template folder (currently residing within the library of our Team Site on the online Sharepoint Office 365 platform)?

Better to add the New Document or Template command to the quick access toolbar and use that and save your eyes from all of the candy.
Hope this helps,
Doug Robbins - MVP Office Apps & Services (Word)
dougrobbinsmvp@gmail.com
Screen shots by Snagit from www.techsmith.com

Still doesn't solve the need to redirect the workgroup templates folder to the online sharepoint teamsite library??

Anyways, I've found an work-around by syncing the local Onedrive folder with the teamsite libary containing the templates and set the workgroup templates folder to the Onedrive folder.

BUT this leaves 1 big problem: when one of the users decides to delete one of the files in his/her local Onedrive folder, this will also delete the template in the online Sharepoint teamsite library. Any ideas to avoid this would be very much welcome!

One of many reasons I prefer the workgroup templates folder to be local.  With that structure, you use the user's network login script to update the local files. This part of the thread would be better moved to a question. It is only tangentially related to the subject of the discussion.
Volunteering to pay forward and help the Microsoft user community.]

Charles Kenyon
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

Legal website: http://addbalance.com
Insanity.  Microsoft seems dedicated to making it harder for people who know how to use Word to do so, all in the name of supposedly making it easier for idiots to use.  E

Thank you so much for this article...I was SO confused, but this really clarified things for me.

I do have one comment/question, however. I sent a template file to a colleague, and had them save the file into their default personal templates location.  However, when they went to "File/New" the options for "Featured" and "Custom" were not shown. 

The only way I have found that the user can make Word "notice" that there are files in the Custom Office Templates folder is to actually save a document as a template (.dotx) file.  Once they have done that, the next time they access File/New, they can see "Featured" and "Custom."

Is there some sort of fix for this issue?

Thanks, this really helped

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