Where important Word 2007 files are stored

November 9, 2009 at 5:47 pm 1 comment

Note: This post first appeared—in a slightly different form—in my book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007.  I’ve updated it as of 8/27/2011 and 8/28/2011.

It can be helpful to know where key Word 2007 files—such as the NORMAL template and the template where Building Blocks / QuickParts (formerly called AutoText)—are stored in the computer. Because some of these files contain your customizations, you might want to create backup copies from time to time (and perhaps save them to a CD, a USB drive, an external hard drive, or a different computer). That way, if something happens to your computer and one of the files is damaged or is inaccessible, you don’t have to re-create all of your customizations from scratch.

What follows is a list of some of the most important files and their typical locations.  Do keep in mind that this list isn’t necessarily exhaustive.  Also, it applies specifically to Word 2007.  Although much of the information is similar to that for Word 2010, there are a few differences.  (For instance, in Word 2010 the generic Building Blocks template is called Built-In Building Blocks.dotx and is stored in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\Document Parts\1033\14 — in all three recent versions of Windows — and the user-specific copy, BuildingBlocks.dotx, is stored in C:\Documents and Settings\<User Name>\Application Data\Microsoft\Document Building Blocks\1033\14 [note the “14” at the end of the path] in Windows XP and in C:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Document Building Blocks\1033\14 in Vista and Windows 7.  In addition, whereas several key Word 2007 files are stored in an “Office12” folder, their Word 2010 counterparts are stored in an “Office14” folder.[1])

NORMAL Template (Normal.dotm)

The NORMAL template (normal.dotm) is the basis for all new documents in Word. Each user has one. Many customizations are stored in the user’s NORMAL template, including his or her default Normal Paragraph style, other styles he or she has created or modified, formatted AutoCorrect entries (unformatted AutoCorrect entries are stored elsewhere — see below), and macros (but not the user’s personalized Quick Access Toolbar or Quick Parts / Building Blocks, which are located in separate files).

Ordinarily you will find the NORMAL template in the following locations:

In Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

In Windows Vista and Windows 7:
C:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

Custom Templates

Each user’s customized templates typically are stored in the same place as the NORMAL template:

In Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

In Windows Vista and Windows 7:
C:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

Building Blocks

The building blocks template is called BuildingBlocks.dotx. Word 2007 comes with two instances of the Building Blocks.dotx template. One is an original that should never be edited directly; the other is a working copy that contains your own custom Quick Parts / Building Blocks.

The original (generic) template is located here in both Windows XP and Vista:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\Document Parts\1033

The user-specific copy is located here in Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Microsoft\Document Building Blocks\1033

The user copy is located here in Windows Vista and Windows 7:
C:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Document Building Blocks\1033

If something happens and the user-customized file becomes corrupted, Word creates a new customizable file based on the original template. (You likely will lose your Quick Parts if that happens, which is why it makes sense to make a copy of the customized file every so often.)

Unformatted AutoCorrect Entries

As mentioned earlier, formatted AutoCorrect entries are storied in the user’s NORMAL template (normal.dotm).  Unformattted AutoCorrect entries are stored in *.acl (AutoCorrect List) files, located here:

In Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\<User Name>\Application Data\Microsoft\Office

In Windows Vista and Windows 7:
C:\Users\<User Name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Office

List Styles Gallery

The ListGal.dat file contains the user’s customized gallery of numbered lists (i.e., it includes the lists that came with the program as well as any list styles you’ve created).

In Windows XP:
C:Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Microsoft \Word

In Windows Vista and Windows 7:
C:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word

Heading Styles

Heading styles ordinarily are stored either in the NORMAL template (normal.dotm) or in the document in which they were created, although you can copy styles to (or create them in) your own custom templates. In fact, most built-in styles typically are saved in normal.dotm.

Note that whenever you create a new style or modify a built-in style, the default setting in the Modify Style dialog is to store the style in the current document. (WordPerfect works the same way). The only other choice available in the dialog box is to save to the NORMAL template, but you can use the Organizer to copy styles to other templates. (And you can copy styles between documents; see page 118 above.)

Quick Styles / Style Sets

Quick Styles and Style Sets are located in the following places:

In Windows XP:

The built-in QuickStyles and Style Sets are found here:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\1033\QuickStyles

User-customized QuickStyles and Style Sets are located here:
C:Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Microsoft\QuickStyles

In Windows Vista and Windows 7:
C:\ Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Quickstyles

Themes

Theme files have the extension .thmx.

Built-in themes are located here in both Windows XP and Windows Vista:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Document Themes 12

Custom themes (i.e., themes that you create) are located here in Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates\ Document Themes

Custom themes are located here in Windows Vista and Windows 7:
C:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Document Themes

AutoRecover Files

Files that Word automatically recovers in the event of a “crash” or other serious problem have the extension .asd. Normally you don’t have to look for them because Word opens them in a separate pane at the left side of the screen after a power outage or similar event. But in the event you might need to locate them, you can find them here:

In Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Microsoft\Word

In Windows Vista and Windows 7:
C:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word

QAT (Quick Access Toolbar)

The QAT file, called Word.qat, is stored in the following locations:

In Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\ OFFICE\Word.qat

In Windows Vista and Windows 7:
C:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\Word.qat

Note that you can create a customized QAT for a particular document. The settings for a document-specific QAT are stored in that document.

____________________________________________________________

[1]  Yes, Microsoft bowed to superstition and moved straight from Office 12 (2007) to Office 14 (2010).

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