Change the default settings for new documents

You can change the default settings for new documents by making changes to the Normal template (Normal template: A template that you can use for any kind of document. When you start Word or click New Blank Document, Word creates a new document that is based on the Normal template. You can modify this template to change its formatting or content.) upon which new documents are based. You can modify the Normal template to change its default formatting or content so that any new document that you create will use the new settings.

 Important   If you mistakenly modify the Normal template, you can easily restore the default behavior by deleting, renaming, or moving it. The Normal template is automatically recreated the next time that you open Word. However, the same cannot be said for other templates. You should always create a copy of any other template before you change it.

Do any of the following:

ShowChange the default font

Changing the default font in any template means that the font is used in every new document that is based on that template. For example, the default font for new blank documents is based on the Normal template.

  1. Open the template or a document based on the template whose default settings you want to change.
  2. On the Format menu, click Font, and then click the Font tab.
  3. Make any changes that you want, and then click Default.

 Note   Most of the styles in Word are based on the Normal style. Changing the default font also changes the Normal style, which affects any other style that is built on the Normal style.

ShowChange the default character spacing

Changing the default character spacing in any template means that the settings for scale, spacing, position, kerning, and other typographic features are used in every new document that is based on that template. For example, the character spacing for new blank documents is based on the Normal template.

  1. Open the template or a document based on the template whose default settings you want to change.
  2. On the Format menu, click Font, and then click the Advanced tab.
  3. Make any changes that you want, and then click Default.

ShowChange the default margins

Changing the default margins in any template means that the margin settings are used in every new document that is based on that template. For example, the margins for new blank documents are based on the Normal template.

  1. Open the template or a document based on the template whose default settings you want to change.
  2. On the Format menu, click Document, and then click the Margins tab.
  3. Make any changes that you want, and then click Default.

ShowChange the default layout

Changing the default layout in any template means that the section breaks, headers and footers, and other layout attributes are used in every new document that is based on that template. For example, the layout attributes for new blank documents are based on the Normal template.

  1. Open the template or a document based on the template whose default settings you want to change.
  2. On the Format menu, click Document, and then click the Layout tab.
  3. Make any changes that you want, and then click Default.

ShowChange other default settings in the Normal template

You can customize the Normal template and change default settings for many aspects of a document, such as text formatting, paragraph formatting, document formatting, styles, text, pictures, AutoText entries, and keyboard shortcuts. To make changes to Normal.dotm, you must open the file from Word. If you open Normal.dotm from the Finder, Word will create a new blank document based on the template.

  1. On the File menu, click Open.
  2. In the Open dialog box, browse to the folder /Users/ username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/, and then double-click Normal.dotm.

The Normal template opens.

 Note   If you are using Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), the Library folder is hidden by default. To browse to the Library folder from the Open dialog box, press COMMAND + SHIFT + G , and in the Go to folder box, type ~/Library.

  1. In the Normal template, make the changes that you want.
  2. Save and close the Normal template.

 Tip   

  • If you make extensive changes to your Normal template, we recommend that you periodically back up the file. To back up your Normal template, copy the file and rename it, or move it to another location.
  • You can quickly and easily format a whole document to give it a professional and modern look by applying a document theme. A document theme is a set of formatting choices that can include a color scheme (a set of colors), a font scheme (a set of heading and body text fonts), and an effects scheme (a set of lines and fill effects). To apply a theme, on the Home tab, under Themes, click Themes.

See also

Create and use your own template

My new documents are not blank

 
 
Applies to:
Word for Mac 2011