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: Updating Many Template References.

Updating Many Template References

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2018)

Over the years Phillip's company has developed thousands and thousands of Word documents. They recently changed their network infrastructure to use different servers and upgraded computers for everyone in Phillip's department. When someone opens one of those pre-existing documents, it looks for a template that existed in the old infrastructure, but is no longer available. This means that the document takes a long time to open, after which point they can change the bad template reference. If Phillip has to open each of the old documents it is going to take days and days to do it, so he wonders if there is any way to change the template references more efficiently, without the need to open each document.

This can be a real bother—there are few things worse (in the office) than staring at a computer screen, waiting for some process to finish. What is happening is that Word thinks your templates are in a particular location, and it asks Windows to go get the template at that location. Windows dutifully tries (and tries and tries) to comply, repeatedly looking for the location. Each attempt times out, and the aggregate time spent in this vain attempt is quite noticeable.

A solution would be to use a macro to load each document in a directory and change the template attached to that document. The following is an example of such a macro:

Sub BatchTemplateChange()
    Dim sPathToTemplates As String
    Dim sPathToDocs As String
    Dim sDoc As String
    Dim dDoc As Document
    Dim sNewTemplate As String
    Dim i As Long

    On Error Resume Next
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False

    sNewTemplate = "normal.dot"         'new template name
    sPathToDocs = Options.DefaultFilePath(wdDocumentsPath) & "\"
    sPathToTemplates = Options.DefaultFilePath(wdUserTemplatesPath) & "\"

    sDoc = Dir(sPathToDocs & "*.doc")

    While Len(sDoc) <> 0
        Set dDoc = Documents.Open(FileName:=sPathToDocs & sDoc)
        dDoc.AttachedTemplate = sPathToTemplates & sNewTemplate
        dDoc.Close wdSaveChanges
        sDoc = Dir
        i = i + 1
    Wend

    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
    MsgBox "Finished: " & i & " documents changed"
End Sub

Note that the macro loads each document in the default document location, but that doesn't necessarily speed up the loading. The benefit of using the macro is that you can start it running and allow it to work while you are away from the computer.

Additional ideas for a programmatic approach can be found at the following sites:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/830561
http://www.edugeek.net/forums/scripts/35199-vba-script-change-word-document-template-location.html

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 (11404) 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: Updating Many Template References.

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

Printing Close to the Edge

Word allows you to specify all sorts of paper sizes and margins for your documents. If your margins result in trying to ...

Discover More

How Excel Stores Dates and Times

Excel stores dates and times internally using what is called a serial number. This tip explains how that serial number is ...

Discover More

Grabbing the MRU List

The MRU (most recently used) list informs you which documents were the last to be opened and edited in Word. You can ...

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)

Determining the Template Attached to a Document

If you've opened a document in Word, that document has a template attached to it. This tip looks at what those templates ...

Discover More

What Changes Did I Make In that Template?

When you make changes that affect a template, Word usually asks you if you want to save those changes when you exit the ...

Discover More

Understanding Templates

Templates are used to store a pattern for how a document should look. As such, they can be a very powerful tool for ...

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}] 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 8 + 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.

Newest Tips
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.