After using Microsoft Word for many projects, it may be running differently than when it was installed. The default settings for one or more features-such as fonts, toolbar placement, and auto-fix options-may be different after a few wrong clicks or you accidentally move them. Uninstalling and reinstalling Word, in this case, does not solve the problem, as these preferences are saved on the computer. This article will teach you how to restore Microsoft Word to its original settings and layout on a Windows and macOS computer.
Method 1 of 2: Windows
Step 1. Close Microsoft Word
It is not possible to restore the settings with the application open.
This method requires modifying the Windows registry, an advanced task. Before editing the registry, it's always a good idea to make a backup so it can be restored in case something goes wrong
Step 2. Press the shortcut ⊞ Win+E to open the "File Explorer"
You can also open the "File Explorer" by clicking the folder icon in the "Start" menu.
Step 3. Configure "File Explorer" to show hidden files and folders
This step is necessary to display the folders that need to be edited:
- click on the menu Display at the top of the "File Explorer" window.
- click in options in the upper right corner of the window.
- click on the tab Display.
- Select Show hidden files, folders and drives under "Hidden files and folders" and click OK.
Step 4. Navigate to the "Users" folder in the "File Explorer"
To do this, click on the address bar at the top of the "File Explorer", type C:\Users\ and press the key Enter.
If Windows is installed on another drive, replace "C" with the letter corresponding to it
Step 5. Navigate to the "Microsoft Templates" folder
Here's how to do it:
- Double-click on your username folder in the right-hand pane.
- Double click on the folder AppData (usually hidden).
- Double click on the folder roaming.
- Double click on the folder Microsoft.
- Double click on the folder Templates.
Step 6. Rename the file "Normal.dotm" to Normal.old
This file contains many Word settings; when renamed, Word will create a new file with factory settings. To rename the file:
- Right click on Normal.dotm and select rename.
- Remove the.dotm part from the end of the file and replace it with.old.
- press the key Enter.
- Now that you have finished the "File Explorer" settings, it is recommended to go back to Display > options > Display and hide the files and folders again.
Step 7. Press the ⊞ Win+R keys
This shortcut will open the "Run" menu, where you can open the "Registry Editor" to make the remaining adjustments.
Step 8. Type regedit and click OK
Then the "Registry Editor" will open.
- You may need to click on Yes to open the editor.
Step 9. Double-click HKEY_CURRENT_USER in the left pane of the "Registry Editor" window
Doing so will bring up more options.
Step 10. Double click on SOFTWARE in the new set of expanded folders in the left-hand pane
Then some additional folders will be displayed.
Step 11. Double-click on Microsoft also in the left-hand pane
Now even more folders will be expanded.
Step 12. Double click on Office
More folders will be expanded.
Step 13. Double-click on the correct folder for your version of Word
The next folder that needs to be accessed depends on the version of Word that is installed:
- Word 365, 2019 and 2016: double-click on the folder 16.0.
- Word 2013: double click on the folder 15.0.
- Word 2010: double click on the folder 14.0.
- Word 2007: double click on the folder 12.0.
- Word 2003: double click on the folder 11.0.
Step 14. Click once on the Word folder
The click must be single, not double.
Step 15. Press the Del key to delete the registration key
click in Yes when asked to confirm this action.
Now that you've made these adjustments, you can close the "Registry Editor" and "File Explorer" and restart Microsoft Word. If everything went right, Word should open just like when it was first installed
Method 2 of 2: Mac OS
Step 1. Close Word and all Office applications
You will need to move some files, and this is only possible with closed Office applications.
This method should work on all current versions of Word for macOS, including Word 2016, Word 2019, and Word 365
Step 2. Open Finder
It has a two-color smiley face icon and can be found on the left side of the Dock.
Step 3. Press and hold ⌥ Option key and click on the menu Going to the top of the screen Doing so will display a menu containing the "Library" folder, which would be hidden if not for the "Option" key.
Step 4. Click on the Library folder
Then a list of files will be displayed.
Step 5. Double click on the Group Containers folder inside the "Library" folder
Then new files and folders will be displayed.
Step 6. Double-click on the UBF8T346G9. Office folder
More files and folders will be displayed.
Step 7. Double click on the User Content folder
Don't worry, you're almost there!
Step 8. Double click on the Templates folder
This is the folder that contains the file with the Word settings.
Step 9. Rename the normal.dotm file
To rename it:
- click in normal.dotm once to select it.
- press the key Return.
- Replace the ".dotm" part with.old.
- press the key Return to save the file with the name normal.old.
Step 10. Close Finder and restart Microsoft Word
When Word is opened again, it will automatically create the Normal.dotm file, loading the original settings.
- Understand that even making these changes, there are still some settings that can be done with just a full reinstall. For example, the company name entered during installation is stored in the Word program file.
- Keep in mind that it is not possible to restore Microsoft Word while it is running. This is because Word saves the configuration information when it shuts down. If you make any changes with it still open, when exiting the program, they will be reverted.
- See some tips and troubleshooting information at this link (Windows only).