What is the normal.dot file?

Updated: 08/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Microsoft Word

The normal.dot file is the Microsoft Word template that is used to store the default settings such as font, font size, content of a file, etc. It is used with each of the Microsoft Word files you open. The normal.dot file can be useful if you find yourself having to adjust the font type, font size, or other settings each time you open Microsoft Word.

Where is the normal.dot file located?

The location of the normal.dot file depends on your version of Microsoft Word or Microsoft Office and how you've installed it. However, this file is always located in the template directory. A common location for the template directory is shown below.

C:\Documents and settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

How do I modify the normal.dot file?

Open the normal.dot file and change the settings you want to adjust. For example, if you want the default font size to be 14 each time you open Microsoft Word open the normal.dot file change the font size to 14 and save the document.

I mistakenly overwrote the normal.dot file

If you've saved another file over the normal.dot, each time you open Microsoft Word, that document will be opened. For example, if you've saved a document with "test" in the contents of the file, each time you open a new Microsoft Word document, "test" is shown.

To correct this issue, delete the contents of the normal.dot file and save the file. Alternatively, you can follow the steps listed in the normal.dot file is corrupted section below.

Is this file a virus?

Most likely no. However, like any file on the computer, the normal.dot file can become infected by a virus. In the past, there were viruses that targeted and infected this file. If you believe your computer is infected with a virus, run an antivirus scan on the file.

The normal.dot file is corrupted

This file can become corrupted because of improper user or software modification. If you believe this file is corrupted, you can follow the steps below.

  1. Click Start and click Search, and select Files or folders.
  2. In the Find window, select All files and folders, if prompted.
  3. In the File name field, type normal.dot and press Enter.
  4. Once the file is located, right-click the file and click Rename.
  5. Rename the file to normal.old and press Enter.
Note

If the Search is not finding any files, it's likely Windows is not searching for hidden files. In the Search window, click the More Advanced Options and make sure there is a check in the Search hidden files and folders box.