It is not always absolutely necessary to “install” Office templates in a designated folder but generally it is beneficial and to be recommended.
Ideally, in a corporate environment, template installation and maintenance is performed centrally by the organisation’s IS department. However, individuals and users in small organisations may be need to install and maintain their own templates.
There are two different types of template that we create for Word: global and standard. They must be installed in separate folders.
Not all template installations require a global template and don’t worry if you haven’t got one to install.
Standard templates are the starting points for user documents. For example, a letter, agenda or report template.
Global templates contain such shared things as a common interface, macro code and building blocks (or AutoText) for a suite of templates. A global template is opened every time that Word is started irrespective of what other documents and templates may be open. Word also has it’s own global template; Normal.dotm.
As a convention, we always uses the word “global” in our global template names e.g. ASC_Global.dotm.
Word global templates act like the add-ins used in PowerPoint and Excel.
The template folder paths can only viewed and/or modified from Word but changing folder paths also affects PowerPoint and Excel.
If you want to check (or change) the designated template folder locations, in Word, click File > Options and in the Advanced category scroll down to the General section and click the File Locations button.
In a corporate environment it can be useful to install all templates on a shared server and then reference them by specifying the Workgroup templates folder path. The advantage of this is that everyone uses the same set of templates and updates need only be installed in one place. The disadvantage is that if the network server is not available, for instance, if someone has a laptop that they disconnect form the network, then the user will not have access to the templates.
Individuals managing their own templates are usually best off installing their templates in their own User template folder. The location of this folder is normally in the user’s roaming profile. For example, C:\Users\David\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates where “David” is the user’s profile name. Because this specific path will be different for every user typing the following will always work for every user: %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates.
If you try to find this folder using Windows Explorer it may be hidden. To show hidden files and folder in Windows Explorer, click Organize > Folder and search options and on the View tab click Show hidden files, folders, and drives:
Office 2013 and Office 2016 also requires you to set your default personal templates location as well. See this article for how to do this.
The Startup folder is where any global template must go. Use the path %appdata%\Microsoft\Word\Startup.
Only macro-enabled templates and documents can contain macros. The files should end with the extension dotm or docm for Word or potm or pptm for PowerPoint. Because macros can contain malicious code, Microsoft protects against this by disabling the macros in some situations. Provided the macro enabled templates are installed in a trusted folder, such as the user templates, workgroup templates or startup folder, then they should run without being blocked.
Additionally, macros in macro-enabled templates that have been signed by their publisher with an authenticated digital certificate should also run.
Here at Office Templates we sign all our macro-enabled templates with a certificate issued and authenticated by Sectigo.
If a template contains modifications to the user interface, i.e. a new or modified ribbon tab, as many of our templates do, then when a document is created from the template, saved and then opened again the document may appear to contain the modifications twice. This is a known bug in and the best way around it is to save the template to a trusted folder, such as the user template folder.
Installing from an email
If you have been sent your template by email DO NOT DOUBLE-CLICK the email attachment. This DOES NOT OPEN the template. DO NOT SAVE the temporary document created from double-clicking the template.
What you must do is right-click the email attachment and then click either Save As for a single template or Save All Attachments if there is more than one template attached.
Save the template or templates in the user templates folder, as described above, by typing %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates or %appdata%\Microsoft\Word\Startup if it’s a global template.
To create a new document from a template
Creating a new document from a template is NOT THE SAME AS OPENING the template.
To create a new document from a template in Word 2007 click Office button > New > My Templates.
To create a new document from a template in Word 2010 click File > New > My Templates.
To create a new document from a template in Word 2013 click File > New > Personal.
Other ways to use a template
Save in any folder
Provided the template does not contain any macros then it is possible to save it to any convenient folder, such as the Desktop, and then double-click the saved template to start a New document. Double-clicking the template does NOT open it, it creates a new document from it.
In the event that you want to actually open the template and modify it, then right-click the template and select Open (not New).
One drawback of saving the template to any “random” folder is that if you receive a new and updated version you must be sure to save it in place of the original, otherwise you will end up with multiple versions of the template, some of them out of date.
New from Existing
As well as being able to double-click a template saved in any folder, it’s also possible to use the File > New > New from Existing command. Unfortunately, this command has been removed in Office 2013.
Installation on Mac OS X
Templates are installed and work in much the same way for a Mac as they do for Windows.
If you want to check or change the template folder paths click Word > Preferences… > File Locations.
The default user template path on Word 2016 is:
~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/User Content/Templates.
By default the Library folder is hidden. To show the Library folder in Finder, click View > Show View Options and enable Show Library Folder.
To create a new document from a template in Word 2011 click File > New from Template > My Templates.
If you double-click a template in Finder it will always start a New document. If you right-click the template, the only option is Open but this actually creates a New document! If you really need to open the template to modify it then you must use the File > Open command from within Word.