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.

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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 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

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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