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Workgroup Templates in Microsoft Word

Workgroup templates are templates set up to be shared by placing them in a separate folder. There is no difference in the structure or content of the templates themselves, merely in the location they are stored. They are intended to be shared by different users of the same computer or on a network. For instance if there are form documents used throughout an office, department, household, or business, they are best stored as Workgroup Templates. Generally the workgroup templates are prepackaged templates for use by more than one user, often company-wide. They can be used by an individual to distinguish work templates from personal templates or finished templates from development templates.

Personal templates are kept in the User Templates Folder. The default location for these is described in Normal Template in Microsoft Word - How to Open. The Normal Template is not stored in the Workgroup Templates folder but in the User Templates Folder.

For more about templates and their location, see Template Basics.

The location for Workgroup templates is set in Word's options. It can be any folder but should probably be in the User Profile folder rather than in the Documents Folder. There is no default.


In Word 97-2003 this location is found/set under Tools > Options > File Locations.

Word Workgroup Templates file location dialog


In Word 2007 this location is found/set under the Office Button > Word Options (button) > Advanced > File Locations (button near bottom)

Workgroup templates word 2007


In Word 2010-2021/365 this is found/set under File > Options > Advanced > File Locations (button near bottom)

File Locations Microsoft Word 2010 workgroup templates

When a template is in the Workgroup templates folder it will be available as a template in Custom under File New or "on my computer" or in "My Templates" to create new documents. If it is in a folder within the Workgroup templates folder, the name of that folder will show up as a tab to sort out templates into categories. Again, see Template Basics.

When workgroup templates are shared on a network, it is often advisable to copy them to the local computer as a part of the login process rather than share them directly. Otherwise, if a template is being used by any user it cannot be edited by support personnel without locating the user and asking them to close their work. This also gives laptop users access to the workgroup templates.

If the Workgroup Templates location has already been set, once you've clicked on the Modify button you can find the actual location.

Once you have the Modify dialog open, go up one level to see the folder that holds the Workgroup Templates folder. Right-click on the Workgroup Templates folder to get its properties. One of those properties is the location. This will probably be a longer line than you can read in the properties box. You can select it with your mouse, though, and copy it.

With that address copied into the Clipboard, close and cancel your way out of the Word Options. Do not modify this location without a good reason.

Paste the address into the address box in a Windows Explorer window to get to the Workgroup Templates folder.

Macro to find Workgroup Templates folder

If you want, use the following macro and it will tell you what the setting is for the workgroup templates on your computer. It works in all versions of Word from Word 97 on.

Sub ShowWorkGroupFolder()
' ShowWorkGroupFolder Macro
' Macro written 11/04/2000 by Charles K. Kenyon
' Displays currently set WorkGroup Folder location for application
' If this is being run with the file containing the code as the Active Document,
' it will further instruct the user that the
' startup folder is the location to hold this file.
' Otherwise, it just gives the information.
  On Error GoTo ErrorHandler
  Selection.Collapse ' to keep from deleting macrobutton by a keypress after running macro
  MsgBox Prompt:="Your WorkGroup Templates Folder location is " & _
    Options.DefaultFilePath(wdWorkgroupTemplatesPath), Buttons:=vbOKOnly, _
    Title:="Current WorkGroup Templates Folder Setting Information"
  On Error GoTo 0
  Exit Sub
ErrorHandler: ' No Workgroup Templates Folder Loctation set
  MsgBox Prompt:="The location of the WorkGroup Templates Folder has not been set on this Computer." _
    & Chr(13) & Chr(10) & Chr(13) & Chr(10) & _
    "You can set a folder location now.", _
    Title:="No WorkGroup Templates Folder Location Set", _

  On Error GoTo 0
End Sub

You can download a document containing this macro from my downloads page. Otherwise, see Graham Mayor's page on Installing Macros.

Recent versions of Word have really changed up the File New methods. See File New Variations in the Versions of Word.

Deployment of Workgroup templates in a corporate network is considered in more depth in Templates in Microsoft Word.



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