Changes to Toolbars aren't Persistent

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 17, 2018)

2

Jack has a system that has Word 2003 installed on it. He is trying to make changes to the Standard and Formatting toolbars, but whenever he quits Word and restarts, those changes are all gone—the toolbars are back to their default conditions.

There are a couple of things that could be causing the problem. First, it is important to understand that changes to the toolbars are stored in the Normal.dot template file. If the template is not saved, then the changes won't be persistent; they won't be available the next time you use Word.

If you are working on a network, you need to check to see if your Normal.dot file has been configured to reside on a shared network drive. If so, the file could be overwritten by others on your network who are using the same file. It is also possible that the file is on a protected network directory so that it cannot be changed. If either of these is a possibility, talk to your network admin and see what can be done to use your own Normal.dot instead of the same as everyone else.

The more likely problem, however, is that you may have a problematic version of Adobe Acrobat on your system. Some versions of Acrobat have this annoying habit of ensuring that any changes you've made to Normal.dot are not saved automatically. Instead, you need to explicitly save the changes. One way to do this is to make sure you use Save All after making changes to your toolbars. To see this command, hold down the Shift key as you click the File menu. You'll notice that the Save command has been replaced with Save All. Select this option, and the currently open document is saved, along with any templates—including Normal.dot.

If you prefer, you can add the Save All option to your File menu so that it appears all the time. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Customize from the Tools menu. Word displays the Customize dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Commands tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Commands tab of the Customize dialog box.

  4. In the Categories list, select File. The items in the Commands list change to reflect your choice.
  5. Scroll through the Commands list and choose Save All.
  6. Use the mouse to Drag the Save All option to the place you want it to appear on the File menu.
  7. Close the Customize dialog box.

Now, it is important that you click the new Save All command right away. Why? Because you've just made a configuration change that is saved in Normal.dot. If you exit Word without making sure that Normal.dot is saved (by clicking Save All), then the change isn't saved, and the next time you start Word the menu will be back to normal.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (342) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Removing Borders

Need to get rid of the borders around a cell? The shortcut in this tip can make quick work of this formatting task.

Discover More

Specifying Superscript Text

Applying different formatting to the text within a cell can seem a bit confusing. This is certainly the case when it ...

Discover More

Creating Multiple Blank Documents in One Step

Word makes it easy to create a new, blank document. What if you want to create more than one document at a time, however? ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Customizing a Toolbar

Word is quite flexible in how you can configure the user interface. This tip explains how you can customize a toolbar so ...

Discover More

Finding a Missing Toolbar

A few methods for finding an errant toolbar in Word.

Discover More

Changing Toolbar Location

If you don't like where your toolbars are located, just move them around.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 5?

2021-07-14 11:16:16

Chris

Hi Folks,

I have written many macros and created toolbars for all the buttons in Word 2003. Unfortunately, I did this a very long time ago and I don't remember so much of what I knew back then. I remember that there was a file other than Normal.dot that recorded much of this, but I can't remember anything -- the location, the name, or the extension. I do remember that a copy of this file would populate my toolbars and the buttons on them. Can you refresh my memory?

Thanks for the help,

Chris.


2019-10-27 08:07:05

CLW

I am using MS Word 2013. The instructions for viewing the 'Save All' command don't work for this version. I had to add the 'Save All' Command to the quick access toolbar first. Then I followed the above suggestion when adding the toolbar customization that I originally wanted, and it worked. Thanks!


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.