How To Create Default Template for Microsoft Word 2003

Do you need to adjust the default margins and change the font every time you open a Word document. Use the default template instead.

First, back up the template in a directory other than the Template directory on your disk or server. Then, follow these steps to create a Normal template that conforms to your organization’s standards:

  • Open a new blank document.
  • Go to Format | Font.
  • Make the requisite font changes and click the Default button.
  • Click Yes and then OK.
  • Go to File | Page Setup.
  • Change margins as required and click the Default button.
  • Click Yes and then OK.

Now when you open a document, it will take on the format changes that you created in the Normal template.

If you wish to reset the Normal template to its defaults, rename the file (for example, and then restart Word. When Word restarts, it will automatically create a new template with your default settings.

  1. Frances says:

    I’m visually impaired and need large text in all documents.

    I’ve created my own template, no probs. But I use a lot of shortcut keys, and my “open a new document” still opens the old, default tempalte.

    How do I get it to take mine as the default, or at least how do I point to that template? I can’t see anything in Customize that will let me point to it.

    I’ve looked at “Open this document” but that only points to the document where I’ve saved the Word Help files, as they’re too small for me to read in situ.

    So how can I either have my own template as default, or find where to point to it via “open new document” shortcut?

    • Word 2003 searches for the template differently from the way it searches for templates in earlier versions of Microsoft Word, therefore, the template behaves differently from other global templates.

      If the template is not located in one of the folders where Word 2003 expects to find it, Word 2003 searches through folder paths for different templates (based on your type of installation) and Word 2003 uses the first template that it finds. This is also true if there are multiple files on your system.

      You may have make lots of changes to the template, however, it may not be the one Word 2003 is looking at.

      Do a search for on your C Drive and probably you’ll find that you have multiple copies of it.

      The standard path for the Word 2003 templates includes the following three folder locations:

      1. Installed Templates: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\1033
      2. User Templates Path (Default folder): C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
      3. Workgroup Templates Path:

      Anyway, to make things easier for you.

      Once you have searched and found the correct template file which you have created and supposed to use, copy the file path.

      Then, you go to the User Templates path and the Workgroup Templates path location and change it to the path you’ve just copied.
      To change them, just follow these steps:

      1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the File Locations tab.
      2. Select the template path that you want to modify, and then click Modify.
      3. Locate the folders that you want to use, and then click OK.

      Hope it helps.

  2. Frances says:

    Thanks dear

    I can find the Normal template on C (and on the backup template folder on an external drive) but that’s not what I did before – I left that alone and created my own and linked to it.

    And I can’t believe I’m back with the same problem! Last time, I needed my OS reinstalled, which meant reinstalling all software and putting all shortcuts and settings back in.

    Somehow I managed to do it, but now I need to do it again – the genius who did the reinstall spelled my name wrong (I’m a bit sensitive to that, as a one-letter alteration gives me a sex change!), so I got that sorted, which meant creating a new user account, which meant I lost all my shortcuts and settings – dammit, if I’d known that was going to happen I’d have let it go.

    I created my own template (“0 me” – 0 to put it at the top of the list). I created a shortcut to open that template as a blank document. That worked fine, but that’s what I can’t do now, and I can’t remember how I did it last time. I found that template but still can’t link to it again.

    I got a list of all available shortcuts, and all currently in use, and was going through that to see what I had and what I wanted to add, I had “New” from the File menu with Shift+F4 but all I can find in Customise under File, New is “open document based on Normal template” which is no damn use to me.

    Do you know how I can get my template to open on command? I suppose I could change the Normal template, but I didn’t do that before and I got mine each time.

    It’s frustrating enough to have to do this once, but to have to do it twice, and within a few months of each other … Grrrr!!!! Once I get it figured out, I’ll definitely leave myself a note for how to do it again, heaven forbid that I’ll need to, at least for the rest of this year!

  3. Hi Frances,

    I’ve installed the MS Word 2003 to test for your situation, and based on what you’ve said, since you’ve found your previous template file (“0 me”), you should be able to open it by doing this:-

    In Microsoft Word 2003, click File->New.
    You should see a right-panel called Task Pane. (If you do not have it, just click View->Task Pane and you should have it opened on the right side of the Word document.

    Under the Templates header, click on On my computer and select your “0 me” template file. That should let you used your customized template file which you’ve configured.

    On the other hand, if you don’t have the “0 me” template file or prefer to create a new one, then do this:-

    Click File->New and look at the Task Pane on the right.
    Click On my computer and you’ll see a number of tabs with the template files provided by Microsoft.
    At the bottom right-hand corner, you can choose to Create New Document or Template.

    Select Template in the appropriate tab and you can go ahead and create a new template file to be used in the future.

    Have fun and good luck to it.

    cheers :)

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