While Microsoft Word is the most used word processing application in the world, it doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to stability. Word freezes, it shuts down unexpectedly, files become corrupt and it can turn into a giant nightmare. Many people don’t know this but all the default settings within Word reside in just one file named normal.dot (Office 2003) or normal.dotm (Office 2007 & 2010). Every time you make a change to your default Word template such as a font or style or even a line spacing change, it is notated within this file as your new default settings, and will apply these settings each and ever time you open Word and type up a new document. This file is so crucial to Word that it calls this file up every time Word is opened. The trick to repairing Word sometimes lies with the deletion of this file. Due to the deletion, next time Word is opened, a new file will be automatically created with a fresh set of default settings and no corruption.
So here’s the deletion process. For advanced users, depending on your operating system, navigate through the path below, and once your there, delete the normal.dot or normal.dotm file. Open Word and your done. Please keep in mind that you should not delete this file while Word or Outlook is open.
For those of you not so advanced, click Start, then Computer, or My Computer (Windows XP). Open the C drive, then the Users folder, and then open your user named folder. Then just follow the path below depending on your operating system. For you Windows 7 users, you might run into a problem when you are trying to find your AppData folder. It’s considered a hidden folder. Windows often hides folders that are important to the operating system for security reasons. Here’s an easy way to view this folder. Click Start, Control Panel, Folder Options, Click the View Tab on the top, and then click on the circular radio button that says Show hidden files, folders, and drives. To help, check out the pic below. When your done, hit the OK button, and you should now see the AppData folder. Follow the path below depending on your operating system, delete the normal.dot or normal.dotm file and then open Word. A fresh new normal.dot file will be created, and you should have no more Word issues going forward.
Windows XP – Normal.dot(m) file location
C:\Documents and settings\<user name>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
Windows 7 – Normal.dot(m) file location