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: Editing a Template.

Editing a Template

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 20, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


A template is Word's guide for how your document and working environment should appear. Templates contain information on the toolbar, menus, macros, styles, default text, and any number of other environmental items. Editing a template is much like editing a regular document; the only difference is that the file is saved with a DOT filename extension (instead of DOC).

To load an existing template so you can edit it, do the following:

  1. Choose Open from the File menu, or click on the Open tool on the toolbar. You will see the Open dialog box.
  2. In the Files of Type pull-down list, select Document Template (*.dot). The filename display will be changed to show only template files.
  3. Select the template file you want to edit.
  4. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (467) 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: Editing a Template.

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. ...

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