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What Changes Did I Make In that Template?

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: What Changes Did I Make In that Template?.

When using Word, it is not unusual to make changes that affect the Normal template. You may change toolbar or menu configuration, macros, or styles. In these instances, you are probably glad that Word asks you, when exiting, if you want to save the changes to the template.

What if you don't remember making any changes to the Normal template, however? Is there a way to discover what changes were made so that you can determine if the template should be saved? Unfortunately, there is no "review" feature that shows what changes were made. Word expects you to just remember if you made changes.

If you don't specifically remember making changes, and Word is asking you if you want to save your changes to the Normal template, the prudent thing to do is to not save the changes. It is better to miss a few changes you wanted than to have the Normal template file contaminated with possibly malicious macros.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1386) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: What Changes Did I Make In that Template?.

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Comments for this tip:

Cornillie    27 Apr 2012, 07:33
To get rid of that message there are
two possibilities:
1. delete normal.dot and the system will make an new one (but you loose your own changes).
2. start Task Managerand delete the process WINWORD.EXE.
Tom Bates    23 Apr 2012, 17:47
I had this problem on one computer some time ago (before Office 2003), and I addressed it by sneaking behind Word's back, renaming my current Normal.dot to Normal-<a-number>.dot as a backup copy, and then going back into Word and telling it to go ahead and save. If I ran into a corruption issue (which I did from time to time), I always had a series of backups handy. Of course, *finding* Normal.dot the first time was not easy. :-)
Leslie Jernberg    21 Apr 2012, 11:28
This happens all the time to me. I do make changes to styles on documents based on the normal template (for example updating normal to TNR 12 pt, but not the template itself. When it asks me, I generally say yes, save, but save it with a different name (i.e. Normal1, then Normal2, etc.) This is not a great solution, but it gets me out of the loop and allows me to exit the program. I would love to have a permanent solution to this. Alan! We need your help!
Rick Chattaway    21 Apr 2012, 05:52
So what are you supposed to do when it asks if you want to keep the changes and you click "No" ('cos you don't remember making any changes) and the thing KEEPS asking and won't go away or let you close WORD until you give up and click "Yes"?

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