How to Reset Word to Default Settings: A Step-by-Step Guide

Resetting Microsoft Word to its default settings can solve a bunch of issues, like weird formatting problems or when you’ve accidentally changed settings and can’t remember what they were. The steps are pretty straightforward and won’t take you more than a few minutes. Here’s a quick guide: you’ll need to rename the Normal.dotm file which holds your Word settings. This will reset Word back to its original state when it next starts up.

How to Reset Word to Default Settings

These steps will help you reset Word to its default settings by renaming the Normal.dotm file. This file stores all the custom settings and templates you’ve created. By renaming it, Word will generate a new one, effectively resetting itself.

Step 1: Close Microsoft Word

Ensure that Microsoft Word is completely closed.

Make sure you save all your documents before doing this. You don’t want to lose any unsaved work.

Step 2: Open File Explorer

Launch File Explorer on your computer.

You can do this by clicking the folder icon usually located on the taskbar or by pressing Win + E.

Step 3: Navigate to the Templates Folder

Type or copy-paste %appdata%MicrosoftTemplates into the File Explorer address bar and hit Enter.

This folder contains the Normal.dotm file we need to rename.

Step 4: Locate Normal.dotm

Find the Normal.dotm file in this folder.

This is the file that stores all your custom settings and templates.

Step 5: Rename Normal.dotm

Right-click on the Normal.dotm file and select "Rename". Change its name to something like Normal.old.

Renaming this file makes Word create a new one the next time you open it, resetting all settings.

Step 6: Restart Microsoft Word

Open Microsoft Word again.

Word will generate a new Normal.dotm file with default settings, effectively resetting itself.

After completing these steps, Word will start with its default settings. All custom templates, macros, and styles will revert to their original state.

Tips for Resetting Word to Default Settings

  • Before starting, remember to back up important templates or settings you might want to keep.
  • If you can’t find the Templates folder, make sure hidden files and folders are visible in your File Explorer settings.
  • You can always revert to your previous settings by renaming the Normal.old file back to Normal.dotm.
  • If renaming Normal.dotm doesn’t solve your issue, consider reinstalling Word as the last resort.
  • Regularly update Word to avoid bugs and glitches that might require resetting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to my custom templates and settings after resetting?

All custom templates, macros, and styles will be reset to default. If you want to keep any, back them up before renaming the Normal.dotm file.

Can I undo the reset?

Yes, you can. Just rename the Normal.old file back to Normal.dotm.

Will resetting Word to default settings delete my documents?

No, your documents won’t be affected. Only the settings and customizations within Word will be reset.

Do I need to reinstall Word after resetting?

No, reinstalling Word is not necessary. Renaming the Normal.dotm file effectively resets the application.

Is there an easier way to reset Word to default settings?

Renaming the Normal.dotm file is the most straightforward method. Other methods might involve more complex steps or technical knowledge.


  1. Close Microsoft Word
  2. Open File Explorer
  3. Navigate to the Templates Folder: %appdata%MicrosoftTemplates
  4. Locate Normal.dotm
  5. Rename Normal.dotm
  6. Restart Microsoft Word


Resetting Word to its default settings is a simple yet effective way to solve various issues that might arise from customized settings and templates. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily get your Word application back to its original state. Remember, if you have any important templates or settings, back them up before renaming the Normal.dotm file.

If you found this guide helpful, consider bookmarking it for future reference. Resetting Word might not be something you do often, but knowing how to do it can save you a lot of headaches down the line. For more tips and tricks on using Microsoft Word, check out some of our other guides and tutorials. Happy writing!