Q: Normal template wiped, again

I use Word 2016, running on Windows 10.  I use vast numbers of Macros, autocorrects and autotext, all saved in the Normal template.  The template has just been wiped without my intervention and reset to a factory default, losing all my settings, macros etc.  This has happened before (I saved a spare 'Normal' after that, which seems to have vanished.)

Why is this happening and how can I stop it?  Is there a keypress perhaps which I inadvertently used?  (Erm, it has changed the keyboard to an American one too!)



Please note that the following applies to both Word the application as well as Word when used as the email editor in Outlook.  Whenever “Word” and “Normal.dotm” is referenced, it also applies to “Word in Outlook” and “NormalEmail.dotm” respectively.

We (the product team) have identified a problem that occurs after the latest update (version 16.0.6366.nnnn) to Office is applied. After the update, Word will rename the existing Normal.dotm to “Normal.dotm.old” during startup (or NormalEmail.dotm in the case of Word as the email editor for Outlook).

This means that all of the content in that original Normal.dotm (macros, autotext entries, styles, etc.) will no longer be loaded by Word, and when Word shuts down, a new “clean” Normal.dotm will be created.

All of the original customizations/content that was present in Normal.dotm are preserved, but they are now in a different file in your Templates directory. To recover this content, you need to restore the Normal template. Here’s a walkthrough on how to restore your Normal.dotm in your templates directory.

1.    Close Microsoft Word.

2.    Press Windows + R and type in %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates and press Enter.

You are now looking at the Templates that Word (and other Office apps) use. (Note that if you “file extensions” turned on, then you may see slightly different names). You should see a file named “Normal” of type “Microsoft Word Macro Enabled Template”. This is your current Normal template (which is missing the data you want). 

Let’s save a backup of this normal template just in case.

3.    Rename the "Normal.dotm" file to "NormalBeforeRestore.dotm". You can rename the file by right-clicking it, selecting "Rename," and typing in the new name.

Now we have to determine which file to restore. The issue we identified typically results in a file called “Normal.dotm.old”, but under some circumstances, there could be other saved versions of your Normal template in that directory as well.

You should see at least one of the following: “Normal.dotm.old”, “NormalPre”, “NormalPre15”, “NormalOld”, or “OldNormal”.  If you see more than one of these files, then you will need to choose the correct file to restore; this is likely the file with the most recent “Date modified” value, which should be “Normal.dotm.old”. Don’t worry if you choose the wrong one, you can repeat steps 4-6 as many times as necessary to find the right file.

4.    Select the file you want to restore. Right click and select “Copy”.

5.    Now create the copy of the file by clicking the Home tab and choosing “Paste”. (or press Ctrl + V)

6.    Now select the new file you just created and rename it.  Right-Click and select “Rename”.

    • If you have file extensions turned on, or if the file you are renaming is called “Normal.dotm.old” or “Copy of Normal.dotm.old”, then you will need to rename the file to “normal.dotm”. You may be warned about changing the file extension – this is OK.

    • If you do not have file extensions turned on and the file is not called “Normal.dotm.old” or “Copy of normal.dotm.old”, then rename the file to “Normal”.

7.    Close File Explorer and launch Word. Your AutoText blocks, Styles, Macros, etc. will now be available for use in your documents.

8.    If you still cannot find your content, and there were other templates in your Templates folder to choose from, then shut down Word, go back to your templates folder, delete Normal and go back to step 4. (we are only making copies in step 5, so you won’t be losing anything when you delete Normal here.)

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We now have a Knowledge Base article that walks you through the renaming process.



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Question Info

Views: 9348 Last updated: September 17, 2017 Applies to:
Office / Word / Windows 10 / Office 2016