by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 19, 2015)
I use Word 2003 on one of my machines, and recently it began acting strange. Shortly after allowing Microsoft to install the latest updates on the system, I noticed that the menu no longer worked properly. When I would click the Tools menu, it would not appear and Word would crash. (Other menus worked fine; it was just the Tools menu.) I also noticed that some of my add-ins had been automatically disabled by Word and were no longer available within the program. If I told Word to enable the add-ins, Word would again crash.
I ran the repair feature in Word, but to no avail—the problems were still there. (Word reported it could find no problems.) Thinking it was the add-ins, I reinstalled them, but to no avail. I then uninstalled Office, cleaned out all the Registry entries I could find, and reinstalled, but to no avail. No matter what I did, the problem still existed, the Tools menu was inaccessible, and Word would crash.
Finally I tried something I should have tried earlier—knowing that the problem was apparently with the menus and that menus were maintained in templates, I renamed my Normal.dot file (outside of Word) and restarted the program. All of a sudden everything was back to normal with both Word and the add-ins; they all worked as they should.
Apparently the problem was with a corrupt Normal.dot template. So, through first-hand experience, I learned that if there is something strange going on with your user interface (menus, toolbars, etc.), one of the first things you should check is whether your Normal.dot template is corrupt or not. It is simple to do (just rename the template, as I did), and it gives you immediate results.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3816) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.
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!
Want to get rid of some menu options so that they can't be selected? It's easy to do when customizing Word by using these ...Discover More
After a few weeks, months, or years of editing Word's menus, you may forget what the original menus looked like. Don't ...Discover More
You can customize Word to your heart's content. One way to customize the program is by adding options to the Word menus. It ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.