Moving (Sharing) Customizations in Microsoft Word

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To move your macros (and other customizations) to a another template or system...

This page was last changed on Monday 10 April 2017 .

Contents

Customizations in Word - Background

Start by opening the target template

bulletCreating a new (global) template

Copying Customizations to your global template

Copy your macros

Copy your toolbars

bulletHow to create copyable customizations to the built-in menus and toolbars
bulletHow to copy UserForms

Copy keybindings

Making your template a global template

Copy your styles

Copying Customizations not stored in templates

 

Customizations in Word - Background

The customizations that you can make in Word include:

  1. Macros - recorded or written using VBA - these are kept in templates (default Normal.dot(m)) or documents. Unless you have a definite reason and know what you are doing, keep them in templates.
  2. AutoText entries - also kept in templates (default Normal.dot(m)). AutoText entries cannot be stored in documents. For more on AutoText, follow the links on the Web Resources page.
  3. Custom toolbars and menus - also kept in templates (default Normal.dot(m)) or documents. As with macros, you will want to keep toolbars in templates with rare exceptions. You make these with Tools => Customize... or with VBA. Custom toolbars and menus are not used in ribbon versions of Word, instead there is ribbon and QAT customization. See Modifying the QAT and Ribbon in Microsoft Word for ideas on flexible solutions.
  4. Custom toolbar buttons and menu commands - really a subset of custom toolbars except includes customizations to built-in toolbars and menus.
  5. Styles - also kept in templates except that after creation documents have their own styles which are generally not updated by the styles in the document's underlying template. See Understanding Styles for more about styles. See Global StyleSheet in Microsoft Word? for a macro that will transfer styles from a global template to the current document.
  6. UserForms - homemade dialog boxes and wizards
  7. Keyboard shortcuts (also called keybindings) are stored in templates or documents.
  8. AutoCorrect entries - for the most part stored in separate files and very different from AutoText in construction if not in use.
  9. Your user preferences  - stored in the registry's Word data key. We won't mess with the registry here.
  10. See Word 2007 & Later Key Data File Locations by Paul Edstein for exact storage locations of preferences and options in Word 2007 or later. (Many are the same for earlier versions, there are just more options and features in the later versions.)
  11. Word 2007 and later:
    1. Building Blocks (including AutoText) - stored in templates. See Building Blocks & AutoText and Where can Building Blocks be stored?
    2. Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) modifications - stored in templates or in a special file.
    3. Ribbon Modifications (If done through XML modification, stored in templates, otherwise in a special file.)
      See Modifying the QAT and Ribbon in Microsoft Word

We will first look at the customizations that are stored in templates and copying/moving them to a different template. That is: Macros, AutoText, Custom Toolbars, Keybindings and Styles. We will then look at those stored elsewhere: AutoCorrect Entries and user preferences.

A brief note about Word 2007-2016. "If you have custom templates that rely heavily upon carefully crafted custom toolbars and menus, there's good news and bad news and good news. The good news is that some of those toolbars might actually still work in Word 2010 [2007-2016] if you upgraded from Word 2003. Look for them in the Add-Ins ribbon. The bad news is that Word 2010 [2007-2016] no longer contains customization tools that let you create and modify multiple toolbars. The good news, however, is that in Word 2010 you can customize the ribbon." Microsoft Word 2010 Bible by Herb Tyson, MVP

See Modifying the QAT and Ribbon in Microsoft Word for ideas on more flexible solutions.

Start by opening the target template or a document based on the target template. 

I would suggest that you move the items you want to share into a global template. The simplest way is to open the template or create a new document based on the template. You will want to use a document template instead if the customizations only are used in a specific kind of document that will have its own document template. For an explanation of the distinction being made between document templates and global templates, see Templates in Microsoft Word.

Create a new (global) template

Create a New Template - Word File New Dialog Box detail.If you don't already have a global template that you'll be using, go to File => New and click the dot for Create New "Template" in the bottom right corner of the dialog box.* Select the blank document template if it isn't already selected. Click on the OK button. You can use this new template to keep notes on what you have done if you want. Save it using a name like "MyGlobal.dot." Don't close it yet because you'll be using it to hold many of your customizations.

* In Word 2002 and later you'll need to click on the general templates / on my computer line of the New File Task Pane to get this dialog box.

Instructions on using this new template as a "global" template are given further down in this article.

Copy Template-Resident Customizations

Copy your macros

(Word 2003 and earlier): Tools => Templates and Add-Ins... => Organizer (button) => Macro Project Items (tab) to copy a macro module.

(Word 2007 and later): View => Macros => Organizer (button) => Macro Project Items (tab) to copy a macro module.

If you just created a new template and have that open, no macros will be shown in the window on the left - the one for your current document / template. Probably the macros will be in the Macro Module "New Macros." in the Normal.dot(m) template (shown in the window on the right). If you already have a Module named "New Macros" in your template, rename it "OldMacros" for now so you can copy the Module from Normal.dot(m) to your template. If there are other modules in Normal.dot(m) you want to copy those as well.

Then close the Organizer and save your template. Don't close the template, yet.

Use the VBA Editor (Alt+F11) to look at the New Macros module in your template (not the one in the Normal.dot(m) template). You should be able to spot the macros that you use. Delete any other macros and Ctrl+S to save your changes to the Template. If you already had macros in your template and had to rename "New Macros," double-click on that "OldMacros" module. For now, you will want to move all the macros to your new "New Macros" module. Then right-click on the "OldMacros" Module and remove it. Word will ask you if you want to export first; answer: No. With your insertion point back in the New Macros module of your template, press Ctrl+S to again save your template.

You can and should have modules other than NewMacros, which is the location in which recorded macros are stored. Once you have recorded a macro, you can cut it and paste in a new module.

Right-click on one of the toolbars in the Visual Basic Editor and select the Edit toolbar for display. Then double click on the Module "New Macros" in Normal.dot(m) select the m acros that you transferred to your template. Comment-Out button on the Visual Basic Editor (Edit Toolbar)Click on the "Comment Out" button  to make them inactive in Normal.dot(m). This put's an apostrophe at the beginning of each line that you've selected. (You will want to delete them evenutually, but not until after your global template is active.) Ctrl+S to save your changes to Normal.dot(m).

If you have macros that are called by toolbar buttons or keybindings, the macros must be in place before you move these customizations. They must have the same name and be in a module with the same name in a project with the same name that  they were in before. i.e., the macro named MyMacro that is in a module named TrustedMacros in project named TemplateProject, will not work with a moved toolbar or keybinding unless it, and the project and module keep the same names they had when the toolbar/keybinding was created. They will run just fine if you give them new names, but your toolbars and keybindings won't be able to find them.

Save your global template. 

Copy your toolbars (Word 2003 and earlier)

If you have toolbars that you want to move, copy those as well, after you have copied any macros, styles, or AutoText that the toolbars call. Again, Styles won't do you much good in a global template. (Don't have customized toolbars but you would like to try these? See Greg Chapman's page on this.)

Save and close your global template. If this is a new template, close Word and move the global template to your Word Startup folder.

Open a new blank document. Tools => Customize => Toolbars (1st Tab) and check your custom toolbars. Right-click on the selection and rename it xxx Old Toolbar. (We are doing this before deleting it. Want to check if new toolbar works and can't really do that without changing the name.) Close the Customize dialog box.

Create a new document from your template. File => New... Check to see if your toolbars and macros function the way you want them to. Type something in the document and then close it without saving it. You should be prompted as to whether your want to save the changes made to MyGlobal.dot. Answer "Yes."

Assuming that your toolbars and macros function properly, you can now use Tools => Customize (this time customizing Normal.dot(m)) to delete "Anne's Old Toolbar." Quit Word and save your changes to Normal.dot(m).

Next time, when you create a toolbar using the Customize command under the Tools menu, or Tools = Macros... to record a macro, check to make sure that it is being saved in the template that will be using it rather than in Normal.dot(m). Likewise, make sure that any changes you make to that toolbar or macro get saved in the template.

This way, if you pass your template on to someone else, they will have the benefit of your toolbar and macros. Also, Normal.dot(m) corrupts from time to time (even without the assistance of a virus). Rebuilding your customizations can be a real pain.

How to create copyable customizations to the built-in toolbars and menus (Word 2003 and earlier):

Organizer will not copy customizations to built-in toolbars and menus, so you have to work around this limitation. You cannot copy customizations made directly to these toolbars or menus. The way I have used is:

I create a shadow toolbar in my global template to hold my customizations. It has a custom menu for each built-in menu or toolbar that I customize.

MyFile MyEdit MyView MyFormat, etc.

I use a separate shadow toolbar for the shortcut menus but you could put them all on one if you wanted to, it depends on how many customizations you do. I include a custom menu named Chas that has some of my favorite templates and commands. That menu is one of the main customizations of my global template and I want to be able to back it up or move it. It was designed to go on the main menu bar, but if I created it there (as I did at first) I would not be able to copy it.

I put the customizations on those custom menus on this custom toolbar first. That means using Customize to add the commands. Then, once I've added a command to the custom toolbar, I Ctrl+drag it to the built-in.

You can use custom menus as a submenus to hold the deleted items, the simplest way to do this would be to move the items from the File menu to the MyFile => Deleted Items submenu and so forth.

This isn't perfect but it makes rebuilding the customizations to the built-ins a lot less painful because the custom toolbar can be copied to another template using the organizer.

See also Creating Custom Toolbars for Templates

Note - toolbars from earlier versions become limited in Word 2007 and later versions - appearing only on the Add-Ins tab.

Ribbon and QAT modifications to individual templates move with the template and are available to other documents in the same way that macros stored in a template are available to other documents. Those in the attached document template are available to those documents to which the template is attached; those in global templates are available in all documents or templates on that computer. See Modifying the QAT and Ribbon in Microsoft Word for ideas on more flexible solutions.

How to copy/move UserForms:

If you don't know what a userform is, chances are real good that you don't have any that you have written. It is a VBA construct - a homemade dialog box or wizard, not a piece of paper that you fill out, or an online simulation of this. If you have created and are using userforms, you probably don't need this tutorial and certainly don't need explicit instructions, so: Within the Visual Basic Editor either drag the userforms from one project to another or export the form from one project and import it into another.

Userforms can be very simple or elegantly complex. If you are doing VBA programming and not using them because you don't know how, take a look into the tutorials on the MVP website.

How to copy/move Keybindings (Custom Keyboard Shortcuts):

These are the custom key assignments made to macros and commands. I use Chris Woodman's Add-In ShortCut Organizer, which looks and works like the regular Organizer except that it deals with keyboard shortcuts.

Image

The above screenshot is from Word 2010. I know this works also in Word 2013-16. I haven't tested in later versions and it only works with 32-bit versions of Office. This is 2002 software but is the only way I know to copy keybindings. The Add-In will also copy document variables. Go to my downloads page to download either the original Add-In or a modified version that adds Ribbon buttons.

 

 

 

Making your template into a global template

A global template is stored in the Word Startup folder.

What will make your template a global template is the folder in which you store it. Global templates should be stored in the Word Startup folder (which is not in any of your templates folders). You can find the location of your Word Startup folder using Tools => Options => File Locations (tab). Save your template there. If you want, you can keep your template somewhere else. If you do, you will want a shortcut to it stored in your Startup folder. See Template Basics for information on different types of templates.

You can share your template with one or two others by sending it to them (by email or on removable media like a diskette, recordable CD/DVD or flash drive) along with instructions for them to place it in their Word startup directories. Note, though, do not use Word to save your template to removable media and be sure to instruct anyone that you send it to on removable media to copy it to the hard drive using Explorer before using it. Word doesn't work with removable media well. You need to use Windows to move the file both to and from the hard drive. Only work with documents on a hard drive from Word.

If you set your macro security to "Trust All Installed Templates and Add-Ins" you will not get macro warnings for macros in templates that are stored in the Word startup folder. (This is also true of the User Templates folder and the Workgroup Templates folder.)

Note that beginning with Office 2000 there is also an Office Startup folder. Many add-ins, including commercial ones, are mistakenly installed there. While they can run from there, they will trigger macro warnings or be disabled by macro security because this is not a "trusted location." This will annoy or disappoint your users. Don't put your Word global templates there.

Finally, do not store Normal.dot(m) in the Startup folder. You will confuse Word which will retaliate by sending you confusing error messages.

Sharing your custom global template with others on your network.

You can share your global template (and the non-style customizations that it contains) with others on your network by saving it in a network folder that others can read. The network login script for each user should be set to copy files in that folder to the user's own Word startup folder. How this works depends entirely on your network setup. Talk to your local area network supervisor about it. Normal.dot (Normal.dotm) should never be a shared file.

For more on this, see Distributing Macros to Other Users by Jonathon West on the MVP site.

Do not attempt to share QAT or Ribbon modifications created from within Word with other users. Doing so will erase any customizations they have made to their Word installation. See Modifying the QAT and Ribbon in Microsoft Word for ideas on more flexible solutions.

 

Copy your Styles

Use the Organizer:

(Tools => Templates and Add-Ins... => Organizer (button) => Styles (tab)) to copy your styles to a document or document template. I recommend making the copies three times. That is: Copy all of the styles you are going to copy once. Then copy all of them again, then copy them all yet a third time. This is so any styles based on other styles will "take." Failure to do this may mean that your styles don't transfer properly. If any of your macros apply your styles, you should copy the styles before the macros.

Styles are in some ways the hardest customizations to share. That is because a global template containing them doesn't make any difference. (You can still copy them to your global template if you wish.)

Available styles are contained in:

bulletthe document
bulletthe attached template (if not used in the document) and
bulletNormal.dot(m) (if not used in the document or the attached template) (Normal.dot(m) may be the attached template).

Once a style is used in a document (even if the use is deleted) it lives there and changes to the attached template will usually not change the style in the document. Changing it in the document usually won't change it in the attached template. See Understanding Styles for more on styles. That chapter includes instructions on copying styles from one document / template to another.

Putting a template containing your styles in the workgroup templates folder is a good way to share styles. See Template Basics for more on templates and templates folders.

You can construct a global template with macros and toolbars that copy styles from the global template to a target document but that is beyond the scope of this web page. See Global StyleSheet in Microsoft Word? for instructions on how to do that. See Templates Menu for information on how to construct a custom toolbar to use macros.

Copying Customizations not stored in templates

How to copy/move AutoCorrect entries

AutoCorrect entries are stored in *.acl files and in Normal.dot(m). The *.acl files are language-specific. The best way to do this is to use the macro you can find at How can I import and export all my AutoCorrect entries, so they can be transferred to another machine? There is a macro included with Word that is supposed to do this, but it has several bugs that are fixed in this one available on the MVP website. Utilities for Ribbon versions of Word may be found at AutoCorrect Utility Manager and as AutoCorrect2007.zip on Jay Freedman's site: The Macro Zone.

How to copy/backup user preferences that are stored in the Registry's Data Key.

This requires a simple macro, which you can record! Start up Word for a fresh session and record a macro called "MyUserSettings." The action to record is opening the Tools => Options dialog box and clicking on the tab for every page on that box. Then close that dialog and open the Tools => AutoCorrect dialog and do the same thing - click on each tab and then close the dialog box. This is based on instructions by Beth Melton in the article What exactly does the Data Key in the Registry store. I also include the Customize dialog box and Keyboard button from that box in this but am unsure that it actually helps. Stop recording. You now have one method to return to these settings: Just run the macro. Unfortunately, this won't save all of your user preferences, just a lot of them!

To save all of them, you can use ResEdit (Start => Run => ResEdit). Do not change anything in the Registry without (1) making a backup, and (2) having a good idea what you are doing! That is not for the faint-at-heart! I am suggesting making a specific backup of the Data Key for Word. The article by Beth Melton explains how to find the Data Key. If you right-click on it you can export it (make a copy) of your Word settings. This is a good idea because the Data Key seems to be easily corrupted. Doing this will not make any changes to the registry itself.

How to copy / backup custom dictionaries and exclude files.

Where these are stored depends on both your version of Word and your operating system. You can find the location using your menus to create a new dictionary (without creating one).

Tools =>  Options => Spelling and Grammar => Dictionaries => New

The default custom dictionary is named custom.dic. The exclude dictionary's name will depend on your language settings. See How to “remove” a word from Word's main Spelling Dictionary for more on the exclude dictionaries.

How to copy / backup Ribbon and QAT modifications

Word 2007 does not provide any means within the user interface (from Word) to modify the Ribbon.

Word 2010 - 2016 do provide limited ability to do this. Modifications done through the interface can be exported and imported, but only as a whole, overwriting any existing modifications upon an import.

Modifications to the Quick Action Toolbar (QAT) are stored in either a separate file or in a template or document.

Modifications to the Ribbon from within Word (2010-2016) are stored in separate files.

See Modifying the QAT and Ribbon in Microsoft Word for information on the names and locations of the files holding QAT and Ribbon modifications that you created within Word as well as suggestions for more flexible handling of such modifications.

See Template Basics for more on templates (user and workgroup), global templates and Normal.dot(m).

See also Assigning Custom Button Faces to Your Toolbar and Menu Buttons.

See Distributing Your Macros to Other Users by Jonathon West, MVP.

For more on where customizations are stored see What Files Do I Need to Backup? by David Rado and Brenda Hutton and Word 2007 & Later Key Data File Locations by Paul Edstein.

 

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Using Date Fields in Microsoft Word
Calculated Dates
Booklet Formatting and Printing in Microsoft Word
Changing the Default Font in Microsoft Word
Document linked to Printer in Microsoft Word
Fonts Missing from Menu in Microsoft Word
How can I get a different header / footer on the second page?
Heading? Header? Microsoft Word Help
More on Headers and Footers in Word
Letterhead
Mapped Content Controls and Document Properties
Weird Lines and Borders
Macros and VBA
Master Documents Feature in Microsoft Word
A Back CoverPage in Microsoft Word
Normal Template in Microsoft Word - How to Open or Find the Normal Template
My docs open in the wrong program! Re-registering Word using the commandline.
Moving (Sharing) Customizations in Microsoft Word
Global StyleSheet?
MVP means?
Naming Files - A System is the Key
Posting tips in the Microsoft Word Forums
Getting rid of that (*)#"@^ paperclip! - Taming the Office Assistant
Page X of Y doesn't work in Microsoft Word!
Save Changes to the Global Template? Keeps Popping Up
Templates in Microsoft Word
Global Templates
Too Many Icons on the Taskbar in Microsoft Word 2000
Getting Rid of the Web Toolbar in Microsoft Word
Word for Word Perfect Users
Favorite Documents Menu
Work Menu in Microsoft Word
Templates Menu in Microsoft Word
What books have been recommended about Microsoft Word?
Where can I find more templates?
Word Links

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