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Word 365: Finding your own templates

August 10, 2019

Since Word 2013 (Word for Windows), Microsoft has hidden your own templates fairly well, seemingly trying to force you into using theirs. However, every organization I’ve ever worked for uses its own templates, not the Microsoft ones, so when users in those organizations want to create a new document, they need to choose from the organization’s templates.

You used to be able to click File > New and then My Templates, but that disappeared from Word 2013 onwards.

And even if you’ve put your templates into the Templates location on your computer (C:\Users\<your_username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates), you still can’t find them when you click File > New. There are a few things you can do to get them back. First, you have to tell Word twice to look in that location. Then you have to know how to find your templates when you click New, and I’ll show you two ways to do this.

Tell Word where your templates are (you do this in two places—Save and Trust Center settings)

  1. Open Word 365.
  2. Go to File > Options > Save.
  3. Go to the Default personal templates location, and enter the file path where your templates are stored. NOTE: For some reason, there’s no Browse button, so if you’re using the default location (as above in the intro), just copy that, changing the <your_username> bit to your own name. Alternatively, if the AutoRecover file location field in the same window has the default location of C:\Users\<your_username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word\, just copy that and paste it into personal templates location field, changing ‘Word’ in that file path to ‘Templates’.
  4. Go to File > Options > Trust Center.
  5. Click Trust Center Settings.
  6. Go to Trusted Locations.
  7. Click on the row that has Word default locations: User templates as the Description.
  8. Check the path—it should be the same as you entered in Step 3. If it’s empty, click Modify, then click Browse and navigate to and select the folder where your templates are stored (by default: C:\Users\<your_username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates).
  9. Click OK as many times as necessary to close the Options windows.

Now that you’ve told Word where to find your templates, you need to know how to get to them easily when you click File >New. There are two ways to do this—the Word 365 way, and the ‘old’ way via a Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) button.

Method 1: Start a new document based on your template (Word 365 way)

  1. Open Word 365.
  2. Go to File > New.
  3. Click Personal (or Custom). (The screenshot below shows Featured and Personal but in some later versions of Word 365 this may be Office and Personal, or in a corporation it may be Office and Custom, or some other variation!)
  4. Click the template you want to use.

Method 2: Add a button to the QAT

  1. Open Word 365.
  2. Go to File > Options > Quick Access Toolbar.
  3. Change the selection at the top of the left column to Commands not in the ribbon,
  4. In the panel below that selection option, scroll down to New Document or Template and select it.
  5. Click Add to move it to the right panel and thus onto your QAT.
  6. Optional: Use the up/down arrows to move it where you’d like it to go on the QAT.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Test that it works by clicking this new button on the QAT—the old-style dialog box for choosing a template should open.

14 comments

  1. Thanks that worked


  2. Thank you – this is really helpful


  3. My small organisation has a 365 account and I want to put our standard templates in the account and not just the users’ own view of the account, so all users can access them. Any tips?


  4. This (along with a lot of other things) has been bugging me since my institution jammed this set of programs down my throat. THANK YOU for this simple and effective fix!!!


  5. Very helpful, while other sites didn’t provide all the steps needed.


  6. The option of “Featured” and “Personal” doesn’t appear on my version of MSword 365….is this something that can globally be set by organization administrator?


  7. Hi Cindy – I’ve just modified Step 3 in Method 1 as your comment got me to check. Sometime between 2019 when I wrote this blog post and now, a Microsoft Office update had changed ‘Featured’ and ‘Personal’ to ‘Office’ and ‘Custom’.

    –Rhonda


  8. Awesome….been searching for this and only place I found the info. We didn’t have a Personal option until having done the first bit of the process above which was also confusing. Thanks very much.


  9. Adding this to the QAT works but now the Preview pane on the right does not have the option to make the view in list format like the old version. It’s much easier and faster to see it in a list than it is in icons. Any idea how to change that?


  10. Hi cw

    I’m using Word 365 for Windows, and I still get the list option in the icons above the ‘preview’ panel on the right. I have 3 icons there — large, list, and details. What version of Word are you using? is it Word for Mac?

    –Rhonda


  11. We are running Office 365. Not a Mac.


  12. This was amazingly helpful. Thank you.


  13. OMG! You’ve saved my sanity! I can’t believe that Word makes it so hard to use your OWN templates. To say I am not happy about it is an understatement. Thanks very much for your instruction



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