Default Personal Templates (Custom Office Templates) vs. User Templates

Someone wrote to me about the "Default Personal Templates" designation vs. the "User Templates" location. This was after reading Templates in Microsoft Word .

"The whole reason I'm reading your tutorial (and searching the web, unsuccessfully), is to learn what the difference/relationship is between File/Options/Save/'Default personal templates location:' and File/Options/Advanced/File Locations/'User Templates'"

The Default Personal Templates location was introduced with Word 2013 / 365 to cure what I feel was a defect in Word 2007-2010 where the default save location for new templates was the document save location.

The Custom Office Templates folder is, under the Options > Save dialog, a default location to save new user templates. The User Templates folder is the location that is where the normal.dotm template is stored/created. In earlier  (menu) versions of Word (97-2003) it was also the default location where new templates would be saved.

Unless the Custom Office Templates folder and the User Templates folder are set as the same location, the normal.dotm template is not stored in the Custom Office Templates folder.

My own preference would be to have these be the same location. There may be reasons to not do this such as making it more difficult for users to mess up the normal template.

Anyone else have thoughts?

Here are the option screens involved.


Note, this thread applies to Word 2013/2016/365.

 

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Last updated August 19, 2019 Views 17,851 Applies to:

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I have revised my Templates in Microsoft Word and File New Variations in the Versions of Word  pages.

Apparently the Custom Office Templates folder or whatever is designated by the user under File > Options > Save is where Word looks for custom templates for new documents when using File > New. It does not look at the user templates folder unless that folder has been designated under Options > Save.

On the other hand, if you use the Classic FileNew dialog, as many of us do, that dialog will not find templates in the folder designated as the Custom Office Templates folder unless the user templates folder and the default templates save folder are the same. (I suppose the Workgroup Templates folder could also have been set for the Default Templates Save folder as well.)

Please mark helpful or answered as appropriate to help other users.

Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm
This distinction came up in this thread on changing the Start Screen. It contained a link to this page on changing the Start Screen to display local templates by default using a registry fix. That page does not make the distinction. I'm unsure whether the registry fix would show templates from the User Templates folder or the Custom Office Templates folder.
Please mark helpful or answered as appropriate to help other users.

Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm

I'm trying to get my head around this (for a revision of my "Create a template" article, which is growing into a monster). Here's what I'm seeing in Word 2013:

As you can see, Word 2013 Templates is where Normal.dotm is stored, and it is where all the templates I download to test them for users also end up (which is what I would expect since it is selected as both the "User templates" folder and the "Default personal templates location"). The Templates folder is my Word 2003 templates folder, which has the templates I have created, plus all the ones that shipped with Word; it is designated as the "Workgroup templates" folder. It appears that the File New dialog is combining these two folders (which is what I want).

What I'm wondering is whether the "Default personal templates location" has to be set the same as the "User templates" folder in order to be displayed in the File New dialog.

Microsoft MVP (Word) since 1999
Fairhope, Alabama USA
http://ssbarnhill.com
http://wordfaqs.ssbarnhill.com
Screen shots captured with TechSmith's Snagit

I'm trying to get my head around this (for a revision of my "Create a template" article, which is growing into a monster). Here's what I'm seeing in Word 2013:

***

What I'm wondering is whether the "Default personal templates location" has to be set the same as the "User templates" folder in order to be displayed in the File New dialog.

As you have surmised, the Classic File New dialog completely ignores the Default personal templates folder unless that folder is also designated as either the user templates folder or the workgroup templates folder.

The built in File > New screen, on the other hand, completely ignores the user templates folder which contains the normal template, unless that folder is also designated as the default personal templates folder or the workgroup templates folder.

I suspect that the latter is by design. It would be one more way to keep the normal template out of the hands of ordinary users. That the classic FileNew dialog does not pick up the new folder is hardly surprising. The new folder must be designated as either the user templates folder or the workgroup templates folder to show up in the classic dialog.

I'm looking forward to the revision of your article. I long ago discovered that trying to cover Word templates in a single article is not a simple task. I, too, have seen the monster.

Please mark helpful or answered as appropriate to help other users.

Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm

The way I'm using it right now is I do not have the Default personal templates folder set to either user templates or workgroup templates. I have the classic FileNew dialog attached to the Ctrl+N shortcut. My workgroup templates folder is shared by all my word versions and is replicated on all computers on my network. My user templates folder contains my normal.dotm and is a different folder for each version of Word. I will create new templates in Word 2013 and same them in the default folder. Once I have them to the point I want to use them, I move them into one of the folders that show up under the classic FileNew dialog.

Please mark helpful or answered as appropriate to help other users.

Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm
I'm thinking that my advice to users who want to create custom templates will be to abandon the Custom Office Templates folder entirely and designate the "User templates" folder as the "Default personal templates location." That seems to be the only way to assure that both the File | New tab in the Backstage and the New (New Document or Template) dialog display the templates that users create.
Microsoft MVP (Word) since 1999
Fairhope, Alabama USA
http://ssbarnhill.com
http://wordfaqs.ssbarnhill.com
Screen shots captured with TechSmith's Snagit

I think you are on track having the user templates folder and the default personal templates location refer to the same folder. That is what I said in my first post.

I am currently using them separate rather than as the same, but that is more than most users would want to keep track of.

Please mark helpful or answered as appropriate to help other users.

Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm

Interesting information.

It is an angle I didn't look at.  A while ago I spent a few hours in the File > New dialog figuring out the difference between the various categories displayed on the New pane : "Featured" vs "Personal" vs "Shared" vs "Custom"

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

These labels are related to the locations being set that you discuss.

To run better, run.
To paint better, paint.
To write better, write.
To build better, build.
— Sahil Lavingia

.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I referred to your article in my File New Variations in the Versions of Word. The analysis was very helpful.

Suzanne and I (as well as many others) have long been proponents of using the classic File>New dialog. The ability to sort by tabs using that method seems preferable to the huge icon method of Word 2013. Microsoft has been deprecating the dialog since Word 2000 choosing to emphasize their online selection of (garbage) templates.

The online templates seldom use styles effectively. They do use themes.

Please mark helpful or answered as appropriate to help other users.

Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm
I'm referring to your wiki in my article as well. Between yours and Charles's (which I also reference), I can save myself a lot of technical discussion.
Microsoft MVP (Word) since 1999
Fairhope, Alabama USA
http://ssbarnhill.com
http://wordfaqs.ssbarnhill.com
Screen shots captured with TechSmith's Snagit

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