What do Templates and Add-ins store?
Article contributed by Dave Rado
Types of Template and Add-in
There are two types of Word templates:
templates, the ones you see when you select File + New which are used to
base documents on.
Templates or Add-ins, which have been created to
make functionality available to
all your documents, regardless of which template is currently in use.
an add-in is easy as pie. Create a new document, select File + Save As,
set the Save as type to
Document template (*.dot);
browse to your Startup folder and save it there. That's it.
To find out where your regular
templates are stored, select Tools + Options
+ File Locations, and note the paths listed under User Templates
and Workgroup Templates. If you
can't see the full paths,
double-click on them. Some of your templates may be stored in sub-folders of
these two folders (the tabs you may see in the File New dialog come from the
names of any such sub-folders).
In Word 97 and earlier versions, there is only one type of add-in global
templates. Like ordinary templates, global templates use the
same file format as Word documents but have a different file extension (.DOT
instead of .DOC). Global templates other than Normal.dot are usually stored in Word's
To find out where your global template add-ins (if you have any) are stored, select Tools
+ Options + File Locations, and note the path listed under Startup. If you cannot see the full
path, double-click on it.
Again, Word 2000 and 2002 complicate things pointlessly
and annoyingly: any .DOT files stored in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\ Startup (or
equivalent, if you installed Word somewhere else) will be loaded as an Add-in,
regardless of what your
setting is under Tools
+ Options + File Locations + Startup. However, you can fix this by deleting any
such files or, if you do want them loaded, by moving them into your real
It is a good idea to store your
templates in a different folder from the one
Microsoft sets up by default; otherwise, finding your own, useful templates
amongst all Microsoft's generic ones will make you think longingly of needles
and haystacks. In a company environment, it is really essential that you do
this, because you want your users to create (for example) company faxes, not Microsoft ones!.
In Word 97, this is straightforward;
in order for a template to appear in the File + New dialog, it must be stored
in one of the template paths listed under Tools + Options
+ File Locations, or the subdirectories thereof. Unfortunately, Word 2000 and
life much more difficult. Whatever you specify under Tools + Options
+ File Locations, the Microsoft templates will still appear in the File + New dialog.
ways to get round this:
Microsoft templates you want to keep to another location. Note that they are not
actually stored in your Templates path; you will find them in a
language-specific folder (such as \1033 for English) within \Program Files\Microsoft
Office\Templates\ (or equivalent, if you installed Word somewhere else).
For instance, you
could create a Microsoft Templates subfolder within your Templates
folder, and copy them to there. Or of you don't want them to be displayed in
the FileNew dialog at all, but do want them to be available on demand, you could
copy them to a completely different folder.
in Control Panel, run Add/Remove Programs, select Office 2000 (or 2002), then
Add/Remove Features, and finally, right-click on
and Wizards, and select
even this leaves you with the item Web Page in the File
dialog; if you want to get rid of that, you'll need to use the following
the FileNew command with your own macro, which displays a UserForm that shows
only the templates you want your users to see (which is what I do).
In Word 2000 and 2002, you may also have COM Add-ins installed. Unlike Global templates,
these are not .DOT files; but are DLL or EXE files. For more information,
see: How to find out whether any Word Add-ins have been installed.
What do Templates and Add-ins store?
COM Add-ins are not covered in the table below; they only store code They can
programmatically customise menus, keyboard assignments etc., but this is
not usually considered to be good practice, because such customisations have to
then be stored in a template, and it is cleaner to store them in a regular or
global template in the first place.
templates (available only to documents created using that template (or
subsequently attached to that template) )
Global template add-ins (available to all documents:)
Keyboard shortcuts and toolbar and menu customisations
Keyboard shortcuts and toolbar and menu customisations.
AutoCorrect Entries that were saved with their formatting preserved (these
are stored only in Normal.dot; but
see: How can I import and export all my AutoCorrect entries, so they can be transferred to another machine?).
Styles are a special case. You should define your styles in your regular
Templates (and your “Blank
Document” styles in
Normal.dot); and when a new document is created using that template, the
document will inherit the template's styles. But from then on, the link is
broken, and the document's style definitions are stored within the
document. So any subsequent changes
made to the styles' definitions in the template will not be reflected in
documents that have already been created, unless you select Tools +
Templates and Add-ins and tick the “Automatically
Update” checkbox (which
can be buggy) or use the Organizer.
And any changes made to the styles'
definitions in your documents will not be reflected in the template they
were based on unless you select the “Add
to Template” check box
under Format + Style + Modify.
Ignore almost everything Word's Help says about templates and styles.
Most of it is misleading and much of it is inaccurate.
Text and graphics. (When you create a document it inherits
any text and graphics stored in its template). You should create your own
templates for the purpose never add text to Normal.dot.
The Page Setup (although if you change the Page Setup in a document,
you can transfer the new settings to its template by clicking the Default
button on the File + Page Setup dialog).
Normal.dot is a global template but can also be used as a “regular”
template (if you select File + New + Blank Document, you will be using
Normal.dot). It is best to use it as a “regular”
template only when you need a “scratchpad”.
Create your own templates for important documents, and for any documents that
need to contain standard text and graphics at point of creation (such as a fax
Unfortunately, if you don't consciously specify where you want to store your
customisations, they will usually be stored in Normal.dot. But it is generally
best to store your customisations (such as AutoText entries,
macros, keyboard and toolbar customisations)
either in your regular templates, if they are template-specific; or in
add-ins, if you want them to be available to all documents (in other words, anywhere but in
Normal.dot). Add-ins are much less prone to corruption and virus infection than
Normal.dot; and you may need to delete Normal.dot from time to time (for more on
this, see: Problems opening Word).
When it is deleted, Word will create a brand new copy, minus any of the customisations
you stored in the old one. As mentioned previously, creating an add-in is easy
So for example, when creating toolbar, menu or keyboard customisations, open an
add-in and make the customisations there. When defining an Autotext entry, set
list box to point to your add-in. You can copy many of your customisations from
Normal.dot to a template or add-in using the Organizer (Tools + Templates and
Add-ins + Organizer).
One more thing; under Tools + Options + Save, turn on the checkbox
which says Prompt to save
Normal template, if it
isn't switched on already (unfortunately, it is switched off by default). The
only time you should ever save Normal.dot is when you have knowingly made a
change to it that you want to save. Then you should save it by holding the Shift
key down and selecting File + Save All. Letting Word save Normal.dot whether
you've consciously made changes to it or not, without even prompting you first,
is just asking to end up with a corrupt Normal.dot file. I believe most
corruptions of Normal.dot are a direct result of this setting being switched
More confusingly still, in Word 2002, if you have Trust All Installed Templates and
Add-ins checked (it is, by default), on the Trusted Sources tab of the Macro Security dialog, then any add-ins that are
in the real startup folder (the one listed
under Tools + Options) are treated as being installed add-ins and are therefore trusted; whereas
any add-ins in Word's Program Startup Folder (i.e. C:\Program Files\Microsoft
Office\Office\ Startup\ or equivalent, if you installed Word somewhere
else) are treated by Word as not having been being installed, so are
not trusted. (This does not apply to Word 2000, which treats add-ins in either
Startup folder as being installed add-ins).
That rather begs the question as to why, if
they are not considered to be installed, does Word 2002 automatically load
them! It's also tantamount to an admission
by Microsoft that add-ins should not be installed in Word's Program Startup Folder.
But unfortunately, many
commercial add-in developers ignore that article (or haven't discovered it),
and many commercial add-ins do install themselves in the wrong path. Some even
install themselves in both paths!
The existence of a second, undocumented Startup path in Word 2000 and
higher causes all sorts of problems for example, see the article: Problems opening Word.
As mentioned previously, the best fix is to move any incorrectly installed add-ins into your real
Startup folder. You can automate this (which is particularly useful in a
company); see: How to ensure (using VBA) that all your Word add-ins are installed in the correct path.
Another unfortunate change that was made in Word 2000 is this: when you
start Word 97 with the /a switch, even though it doesn't load any global
templates, you can still look under Tools + Options + File Locations in order
to find out what you Template paths and Startup path are. But if you start
Word 2000 using the /a switch, the dialog displays the default paths, not your
actual paths. Again, see Problems opening Word
for examples of why this change was unfortunate.