Continually Saving Normal.dot

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 29, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Barbara noticed a strange thing with Word--it was saving her Normal.dot file every time she exited the program. The only thing she could think of that might have caused this behavior is that she installed WinFax, which added an icon to the task bar.

The Normal.dot template is only saved when exiting if something within the template has changed. This change could be done either overtly by you, or covertly by an add-on to Word. The change could be virtually anything, such as a change to a style, menu, or toolbar. Third-party applications like WinFax often use VBA to implement various icons and menu options. If you did not notice this behavior before installing WinFax, then chances are good that WinFax is the problem here.

The first step is to visit the WinFax site and see if there is an upgrade that will fix the behavior. If so, download it and install it on your system. It is also possible that some other program, which works fine with Word on its own, is having problems with WinFax and manifesting the problem within Word. For instance, Norton AntiVirus and SystemWorks have problems working with some versions of WinFax and Word. The solution is to check these other programs and see if there is some update to them that may solve the problem.

If neither of these suggestions rectify the problem, you can use a macro to fool Word into thinking that Normal.dot has already been saved. For instance, you can place the following macros in Normal.dot. They will mark the template as saved and preclude the message in the future:

Sub AutoClose()
    NormalTemplate.Saved = True
End Sub
Sub FileExit
    NormalTemplate.Saved = True
    Application.Quit
End Sub

The risk, of course, is that you really will make a change to the Normal.dot and lose it because you didn't save. You can mitigate that problem by simply making sure you explicitly save Normal.dot if you make any changes.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1593) 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. ...

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