Startup Template Changes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 13, 2016)

Normally, when you start Word, it starts with a blank document based on the Normal.Dot template. There may be times when you want to use a different template as the basis of the document displayed when you start Word. Obviously, if you want this other template to be used as the default all the time, you can simply name the existing Normal.Dot something else, and then rename your desired template as Normal.Dot.

Things get a bit stickier when you want to use a different template each time you start up. If you know which template you want to use, you could just start Word in a different manner: Simply double-click on the name of the template you want to use, and Word is started with a blank document based on that template. A closely related solution is to create Windows shortcuts to the templates you want to use. When you then double-click on the shortcuts, you start Word with a blank document based on that template.

To create a shortcut for a template and add it to the Start menu (where it is easily accessible), follow these steps:

  1. Using your favorite Windows navigation method, locate the template you want to use as the basis of your shortcut.
  2. Drag the template and drop it on the Start menu button.

That's it! Windows creates a new menu option (which is a shortcut) and you can choose it to create a new document based on the template.

A related solution is to create a new shortcut to Word. You can edit the shortcut so that it starts Word with a particular template. This means that you could have multiple shortcuts, each designed to start Word with a different template. For instance, assume that I wanted to create a shortcut that would start Word using MyTemplate.Dot as the basis for a blank document. To accomplish this task, simply follow these steps:

  1. Create a shortcut that points to Word. (The easiest way to do this is to simply copy an existing Word shortcut from your system, and then paste it on the desktop.)
  2. Right-click on the shortcut, and choose Properties from the Context menu. Windows displays the Properties dialog box for the shortcut.
  3. Make sure the Shortcut tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Shortcut tab of the Properties dialog box.

  5. Examine the contents of the Target box. It probably looks something like this:
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\WINWORD.EXE"
  • Edit the contents of the Target box so it appears like this:
  • "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\WINWORD.EXE" /t"d:\wfw data\dotfiles\"
  • Click on OK.
  • You should make sure of two things in step 5. First, make sure there is no space between the /t switch and the start of the path for the template you want to use. (If you include a space, the /t switch is ignored and the template itself is opened in Word.) Second, you should make sure that you use the full path for the location of the template you want to use. Obviously, the example shown reflects the path to a template on my system, which will be different from yours.

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    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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