Software

How do I... Change the normal template in Word 2007 to my preferences?

The normal template in Microsoft Word 2007 defaults to the Calibri font with one inch margins. Here is how you permanently change the normal template in Word 2007 to your preferred font, style, and page layout.

This article is also available in TechRepublic gallery form.

For some reason, Microsoft chose to ship Word with a default normal template that used the Calibri font. I prefer to use either Arial or Times New Roman. In Word 2003, you'd have to create a document with your preferences and then save it as the normal.dot file. In Word 2007, the process is slightly different. Here is the process I used to change the default settings in Word 2007 for normal font, margin, paragraph spacing, and the available buttons on the Quick Access Toolbar.

Figure A

Here is how the default page looks when you first start Word 2007.

The first step is to change the default from the pint-sized Calibri font, point size 11 to the normal-sized Arial (or your favorite font), point sized 10 (Figure B). Just use the dropdown menu to choose your font and point size.

Figure B

Arial 10 point --- that's better.

On the Page Layout tab (Figure C) note that the default the Margins are set at one inch from all four directions. I prefer my normal template to be set to half inch margins. Also note the Spacing section default is 0 before and 10 after -- I prefer 5 before and 5 after.

Figure C

This is the default Page Layout.

Clicking the drop arrow under Margins in the new Ribbon interface reveals (Figure D) several choices for the margin settings. I prefer the Narrow setting.

Figure D

Choose your preference

Okay, now this is what I want to see when I start a new document in Word 2007 (Figure E): Arial font, 10 point, half-inch margins, 5 above, 5 below paragraph separation. But how do I save it so each document starts this way.

Figure E

This is what I want for a normal template.

The first thing to do is to navigate to the Home tab and click on the expansion icon under Styles as show in Figure F. Click the Options link at the bottom of the list to reveal the Style Pane Options dialog screen (Figure G). Click the New documents based on this template radio button.

Figure F

The Styles Ribbon menu extended.

Figure G

The Style Pain Options dialog screen.

The next step is to right click the big normal style button (Figure H) and click the Modify menu item to get to the Modify Style dialog and click the radio button next to New documents based on this template. (Figure I)

Figure H

Right click the Normal box in the Styles portion of the Ribbon

Figure I

Modify Style dialog screen --- click the radio button to apply template to future documents.

We are almost there. Next click the expansion icon on the bottom of the Paragraph section of the Word Ribbon interface to get to the Paragraph dialog screen. (Figure J) Click the Default button and click Yes to apply the settings to the normal template.

Figure J

The Paragraph dialog screen

Okay, the last step. Switch to the Page Layout and click the expansion icon under the Page Setup portion of the Ribbon and then click the Default button. (Figure K) Answer Yes to apply the settings to the normal template.

Figure K

The Page Setup dialog screen --- click the Default button.

And that's it. Now, the normal template in Word 2007 is set to your preferences (Figure L). My preferences may not be yours, but the process will be the same. It may seem like a lot steps to get from there to here, but once you do it a couple of times, it is actually surprisingly intuitive.

Figure L

The normal template the way I want it

One additional tip I would like to pass on. When I had completed my normal template transition, I wanted to test it and went looking for the New document button. But it was no where to be found. I don't know about you, but I use that button all the time. It turns out it is located on the Quick Access Toolbar, but it is not on by default. Click the dropdown button on that toolbar to get a list of potential buttons. (Figure M) Just click the buttons you want on the top Quick Access Toolbar.

Figure M

Adding buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar

Figure N shows the difference between Calibri and Arial. Calibri seems to be about a quarter shorter (3/4 size) when compared to Arial. I'm not sure why Calibri is the default.

Figure N

Calibri vs. Arial -- I'll take Arial thank you

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

49 comments
PReinie
PReinie

Laibeus, your #11 point " if your template is not in the list... have to search somewhere or wait, I can't remember how I enabled that option to list all styles/template in the drop-down... sorry)"...

I believe what you want is in the Home tab (2007) you have to open the styles pane/panel/window (the down to the right pointing arrow in the lower right of the Styles section), then pick Options... at the bottom.

In that window I chose All styles, alphabetical, and new styles based on this template.

The rest of your instructions were what I needed to make it stick for the next new document. I couldn't figure out why my preferred default paragraph kept going back to Normal when I wanted Body Text!

cesindt
cesindt

Just my Print Layout was all jacked up.  The Portrait view could not release/reset itself from a Landscape-type measurement.  I knew it was a default template issue but couldn't get it to reset.  Your process and instruction worked like a charm.  Thank you and nicely done!

ajm2013
ajm2013

This did not work on my Windows 8 system

Lichtgestalt
Lichtgestalt

I am now using Windows 7, and, although the above instructions worked in the past, they no longer seem to work. Instead, WORD has been coded so that if you want to create a new default style, you create a document in the style you want and then click on 'Change Styles' (top right corner, second from end) and then (on the sub-menu which appears) 'set as default'. They could have done this years ago and saved endless misery.

aggiedutes
aggiedutes

I am not a tech head, but I found I can set up my default template quickly and easily by opening the various categories on the ribbon one at a time (Font, Page Setup /Margins, Paragraph/Line Spacing, etc.), make my changes to what I prefer, and before exiting the category, clicking the DEFAULT button and saying YES to the question: Do you want this change to affect all new documents based on the NORMAL template?

dkoppfbc
dkoppfbc

Thanks for the info mbhackney and Mark. I read the info from Mark and understood it and then I did the four steps from mbhackney. Everything worked. Thanks.

mbhackney
mbhackney

This can be accomplished in four steps. 1. Open a new document 2. type something (aaaaaaaa) 3. Click on the little button at the bottom right corner of the Paragraph block; select your settings and click on Default. 4. Right click on what you typed and select Font; select the font and size you want and cick on Default. When you open a new document, your new settings are reflected.

adminslave
adminslave

Clear instructions except they didn't work. I have changed all of these defaults a hundred times and everytime I open Word, I am stuck with Calibri.

jmccu322
jmccu322

Thanks Mark ... This is a keeper.

Pierreto
Pierreto

In reading the tutorials and the comments, I realized that I could use my old Normal.dot once I understood that the new default template was called Normal.dotm. First, find where Normal.dotm is located. Then Open Normal.dot, and save it (use Save As) as a .dotm template under a different name (e.g. Normal1.dotm) in the folder (directory) where Normal.dotm resides. Then, with Windows Explorer, go to that folder, and rename Normal.dotm to something else (e.g. NormalDef.dotm). Then rename the template you've just created and rename it Normal.dotm. When I opened Word2007, everything I had in my old Normal.dot (including margins and styles) was there.

DSchr
DSchr

What's wrong with Microsoft? I definitely do not want all those big spaces separating paragraphs, I want single line spacing, and I don't want Calibri 10 as my default font. In the old days, with Word 2003, changing the default may not have been obvious to newbies but it was easy--just Save As normal.dot. This new process is so long and painful, and Microsoft's choices for defaults are so bizarre, that I'm seriously thinking of switching to another wordpro for my daily work. By the way, I tried WordPad, and it seems to have the same stupid (grrr!) defaults.

steve
steve

How do you change the default in Excel 2007??

crigheimer
crigheimer

First you will need a document or template that has the old seetings you will need, then 1) Open the file with your old settings. 2) Click on the Expander under the Styles area. 3) Click on ???Manage Styles???. It is the last picture at the bottom of the pane. 4) At the bottom of the Window that opens up, click ???Import/Export??? 5) Your current styles should appear. If they do not, try clicking on the down arrow in the ???Styles Available in?????? box and see of you see something there. 6) Click on the first item in the ???In Change Defaults??? box. 7) Hold down ???Shift??? and click the last item in the same box. This allows you to rapidly select all of the items. 8) Click ???Copy??? 9) If you get another dialog box, click ???Yes to all??? This will overwrite the existing styles in ???Normal??? 10) You should be good to go.

almare2
almare2

You saved me hours of frustration and fiddling around. Many thanks!

QatariP
QatariP

This was very helpful. Thank you so much for offering this brief yet helpful tutorial. I also thought I might mention that a year or two ago, I took a class on Microsoft Home and Student 2007 (Word, Excel, the whole package) and my teacher told me that Calibri 11 is supposedly the most aesthetically appealing font and is growing to be more and more widely used. Dunno if I buy it or not but there you go. Thanks again!

jdawiz-23862769784596322803278185835266
jdawiz-23862769784596322803278185835266

I did all this but when I Right Click in a explorer Folder > New > Microsoft Offoce Word Document and create a new document that way, it is still the original word defaults, not the once I saved in the normal.docm. How do I change that????

****Lex****
****Lex****

Changing the MS Word 2007 default-template by following the above example is a massive waste of time and incredibly, needlessly complicated. Here is the 2-step solution: 1. In the bottom right of the Font section, click the ARROW. Choose the font, etc., and press default in the bottom left, and say yes. click ok. 2. In the bottom right of the Paragraph section, click the ARROW. Choose the settings you want, press default, and say yes. click ok. THAT'S IT! E Z 2-STEP SOLUTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY: ALEX TAKE CARE GOOD BUDDIES!

Still_Rockin
Still_Rockin

THIS is "surprisingly intuitive"????? Are you freaking insane? Whoever at Microsoft came up with this ridiculous crap should be taken out back and shot. If I remember correctly back in Microsoft Word 2.0 or so, it only took a couple of mouseclicks to make the current documents properties be the default properties for a new file. This is the ULTIMATE, PERFECT example of the mass of bloated crapware that Microsoft Word has become. And next time ask me how I REALLY feel. SHEEEEEESH.

ihateoffice2007
ihateoffice2007

Great tips, however it will default to the original settings if you send it to anyone else and given the size difference between the fonts, this means your page breaks will not be in the same places, etc... Perhaps a better idea is to set up a new template and use that one instead of modifying the Normal styles.

Bubyeski
Bubyeski

You absolute STAR! Thank goodness someone worked this out. The person at Microsoft who authorised Windows 7 to be released should be "shot" for making the simple task of tailormaking the Normal template so difficult. If Microsoft should read this . . . "WE DO NOT ALL WANT OUR DOCUMENTS TO LOOK THE SAME. THIS IS THE WHOLE POINT, CORPORATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS LIKE TO PUT THEIR OWN STAMP ON DOCUMENTS. THE BETA WINDOWS 10 HAS BEEN RELEASED - SUGGEST NEXT UPGRADE YOU TWEAK SO THAT US THE PURCHASERS HAVE MORE CONTROL!!".

Metrotek2010
Metrotek2010

Somehow by settings got all screwed up and I have been trying to fix them one by one Googling the topics. I wanted them set to the normal settings as the default settings with the exception of font style, font size, and a couple of others. All the other articles if any, were way out there. Your's is the absolutely best one that I have read. Everything is back to normal now and defaulted to this. Thank you very much. Robert

haultj
haultj

Why would someone post such detail that is completely wrong? Opening the normal.dotm in the "trusted templates", make the changes and save it works perfectly.

dvelie30
dvelie30

Excellent!! Just what I was looking for.

GaijinIT
GaijinIT

Excellent tutorial! I've been dealing with this problem (ever since upgrading to Office 2007 (why is everything so hard in Office 2007? It has a lot of new bells & whistles, so I would never go back, espcially for Poweroint, but Office 2003 was much more intuitive). I'm an American living in Japan using English/US Office 2007 but over here, all printers and faxes need A4, not US letter. This article totally hooked me up - well illustrated and simple step-by-step procedure (a few steps or pictures in the last few steps wrong, but nothing drastic). Thanks a lot - I have subscribed to and depended on Tech Republic for years now - simply the best information for newbies who may not understand Microsoft's huge manuals or pros who don't have the time to read them.

kaiserdr
kaiserdr

This is very convoluted and confusing. The illustrations used here do NOT match mine and I can not find them--I was unable to accomplish this procedure.

teammori
teammori

I want to change my default line spacing 1.15 instead of the current default of 1.5. I follow all the steps above yet when I open a new Word 2007 document, the line spacing is 1.5. How do I change tghe default to 1.15? Thank you. Bob Mori, teammori@teammori.com

ronbinns
ronbinns

Very clear, simple, fulsome directions; thanks much.

ian_dunn
ian_dunn

"It may seem like a lot steps to get from there to here, but once you do it a couple of times, it is actually surprisingly intuitive." I think you might not be too clear as to the definition of 'intuitive...' You did a great job of explaining how to change the normal template, but MS did a horrible job of creating the process.

youngxxx
youngxxx

WRONG! Why would you put these poor people through all that grief, following silly screenshots that have nothing to do with the process? Just for comic relief I followed the screenshots and guess what? It did not work! To really change your Word 2007?s default template, follow these steps: 1. Click the Office button (goofy round button at the top left corner) 2. Select OPEN. 3. In the Open dialog box, click "Trusted Templates." 4. Double-click "Normal.dotm" 5. Make changes as you would to any Word document. Keep in mind, though, that any changes you make will be applied to all new documents. 6. When you?re done making changes to the Normal template, click Save or use CTRL-S. Some people should be banned from giving advice ANYWHERE on the Web. Now you are done!

jmc_1776
jmc_1776

I just read this article, thanks for the pointers. However, I have my own template I have created with my own styles. However, the Normal.dotm file keeps overrideing my styles in my template. I dont want Normal.dotm to have anything to do with my document, is this possible? Thanks! jordan

jackeroo
jackeroo

I mean, goto a directory,right click the mouse New --> Create a word document In word 2007, create a word file this way will always got a zero size file with no default style.

PReinie
PReinie

That was with respect to Laibeus' #11 point on Mar 3, 2007.

gorham.maine
gorham.maine

@Lichtgestalt Thank you, thank you, thank you. My searches kept getting all the bells and whistles when all I wanted was to have the styles I'd added incorporated into my default template. Your tip did it instantly and painlessly. Did I thank you?

khiatt
khiatt

I know this is an old post, but I had to redo my system and couldn't remember how I fixed my Normal template before. The instructions worked perfectly, and creating a new document from Explorer worked exactly as expected. I opened Windows Explorer (WinXP) to desired folder, Right-Click > New > Microsoft Office Word Document. Rename it to what I want, and open it up to find my settings.

Dayle1011
Dayle1011

Hi, Another user posted this question and I have the same one: "Using Word 2003 Template with custom toolbar in Word 2007 I have about 30 templates created in Word 2003 that each contain a custom toolbar with buttons to activate macros. I can see these buttons in the Add-ins tab in Word 2007 while in compatability mode, but once I convert the template to (macro-enabled) 2007 template, the Add-ins tab is empty! I think the macros are still stored in the template, but I need easy access for all employees in my office to these macros. Can anyone help?? " Does anyone have a clue to help me and the other user cynthia.kenisi?

infodork
infodork

When I open trusted templates, I see no normal.dotm anywhere. Hmm.

ayoung
ayoung

G'day I have been following the advice given by the different views. Neither setting the Styles nor the Trusted Templates (using Normal.dotm) actually save the Margin settings that I applied except if it is a New document. If I select the entire document and choose an updated Style, the Font and text size change, but not the margins. I was primarily concerned with making the margins do as I wanted them to from a pre-loaded setting perspective, but nothing is working. I would appreciate any assistance you can offer. NB: my ruler settings are in centimeters, and I want all my margins to be 1.5 cms (a little bit wider than the half-inch settings of the Narrow option).

markinboone
markinboone

I have yet to find any advice posted anywhere for changing the default settings for Word 2007 to correctly use the Font Set feature for setting the default font. Changing the font for the Normal style by selecting a font from your font list will change the font (as described), but the style will no longer be linked to the document Theme. So changing the Font Set for the document will have no effect; the font specification will be fixed. This may be the preferred result, but by changing the Font Set, then setting it as the default you will allow others to choose their own fonts by simply changing the Font Set. From the Home tab in the Styles group > Change Styles... 1. Select a Theme Fonts set; or Create New and select (The settings for a Font Set are simply choosing a font for Headings and a font for Body Text; these can be the same or complementary fonts.) 2. Select a Style set; or create your own styles and Save as Quick Style set 3. Select a Colors set; or Create New and select 4. Set as Default 5. You may be prompted to save the Global Template, select Yes When specifying a font for a style definition or a selection, use the fonts identified as the current (Headings) and (Body) fonts to keep the fonts linked to the document Theme. These are always displayed at the top of the font list. If you choose any other font, it will always be applied to the style or text selection regardless of the Font Set selected for the document. (Again, this may be preferred.) Note that there is no restriction for specifying the (Headings) or (Body) font anywhere in the document or for any style, whether or not the text actually functions as a heading or body text.

perrymom2001
perrymom2001

Thanks for your reply-this is great! Now, one step further... How do I set the normal template used in HTML email in Outlook? I thought I had done it a few times but it won't stick when I restart my computer. I just joined TechRepublic so I could post this question - it's making me nuts!

dave
dave

In earlier versions of Word, you could change the template on which a document was based. You created your own template with your own set of styles and preferences, gave it the .DOT extension, and saved it in a place where Word could find it. You did this under Tools | Add-ins I believe. I can't find the equivalent in Word 2007. It appears you can base your document on any template as long as it's the Normal.DOTM. But I want to use my completely separate template for a document, and not the Normal.DOTM. Does anyone know how to do this?

jmc_1776
jmc_1776

Opening up a word 2003 DOT file in Word 2007 was cauing my DOT file to take on some of the properties of the Normal.dotx. That must be a bug from the Word team.

jmc_1776
jmc_1776

Opening up a word 2003 DOT file in Word 2007 was cauing my DOT file to take on some of the properties of the Normal.dotx. That must be a bug from the Word team.

jmc_1776
jmc_1776

Opening up a word 2003 DOT file in Word 2007 was cauing my DOT file to take on some of the properties of the Normal.dotx. That must be a bug from the Word team.

Laibeus
Laibeus

It is very annoying. I even tried all the instructions from the Official Word 2007 site but the normal.dotm keeps on reverting to its original/default formatting and Word 2007 will keep on loading normal.dotm instead of your own template. I don't know why and/or how the Word Team missed this bug or basic feature. super annoying

Laibeus
Laibeus

Found the solution: 1) Click the Office button 2) Click Open 3) In the open dialog box, select "Templates" or "Trusted Templates" 4) Open the Normal template (or your own template) 5) set it up, for this tutorial, select "No Spacing" style (under 'Home' tab) 6) Right Click "No spacing" and select "Modify" 7) Select "New documents based on this template" 8) Click the Office button again 9) Click Word Options 10) Select Advanced 11) On the "Default Paragraph Style" choose "No Spacing" (or your own template) (note: if your template is not in the list... have to search somewhere or wait, I can't remember how I enabled that option to list all styles/template in the drop-down... sorry) 12) Click Ok 13) Click Save 14) Exit Word 2007 15) Reload Word 2007 Done. Word 2007 will now use the template and style of your choice. And Word 2007 will finally write your edits to the Normal.dotm template. Hope that helps!!

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