18 Dec 2009

A Word with you

Yesterday I spent some time (about 30 minutes) resolving a problem that cropped up recently in Microsoft Word 2007.

Over the past few days, I noticed that whenever I opened Word, it gave me a message stating that there were unsaved changes made to the Normal template, and asked whether the changes should be loaded.

Whether I chose Yes or No, the result was still the same. Word loaded okay, I was able to do what I had to do, but when it came time to close, Word kept  restarting, and seeking online solutions to the problem. It never found any.

Word essentially was crashing whenever I tried to close it.


I had left Word open on a document I was working on, and went to bed, intending to resume my work in the morning. During the night, the computer downloaded and installed updates, then rebooted. Since Word was not closed properly prior to the rebooting, the Normal template became corrupted, and the corrupted one kept reloading.


I first navigated over to the following location : C:\Users\Jumbie\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word

There, I deleted everything in the folder and cleared the recycle bin.

Then I hopped over to the following location: C:\Users\Jumbie\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates and deleted the Normal template I saw there.

I opened Word, set up the blank document as I normally have it (complete with macros, fonts, line spaces, margins etc – you get the picture) and saved it as a template (.dotm suffix) under the name Normal.dotm. It automatically saved to the default location.

Then, I went to the folder in which the new Normal template I just created (after closing Word of course) was located, right click on it and set the Properties to Read Only. There is an advantage to this in that the Normal Template will not be corrupted further. The disadvantage is that it definitely will not allow even intended changes (which is why I set it up before just the way I like it). To make changes, you’d have to remove the Read Only property.

I rebooted my PC and since then everything is working fine.

Microsoft claims to have a fix for this here. It’s an executable file that supposedly does automatically all the steps I took. I have not tried this! My solution worked and I am happy with the results.

PS: This problem and solution are applicable to other versions of Office as well.