Posts Tagged ‘templates’


Word: Can’t open a template in Office 365

February 15, 2019

I installed Office 365 on a test Windows 10 machine and wanted to change the language setting in the normal.dotm template from US English to Australian English (this determines which autocorrect [*.ACL] file is used for any documents based on that template).

But when I right-clicked on normal.dotm and selected Open, I got a message telling me that a default app hadn’t been associated with this file type and to do so in the Default Apps settings. When I went to those settings, I found that Word was already associated with *.dotm files, and there wasn’t anything more I could do about that. I also noticed that some usual document file types weren’t associated with Word and I couldn’t associate them either, no matter what I did in the Default Apps settings.

I thought something might have got scrambled when I installed Office 365 and then (on the advice of my IT guys) uninstalled Office 2016, which was already on that PC. So I contacted my IT guys, and they told me to run a quick repair of the Office installation to see if that fixed it. It did! Once the repair had been run, I could open normal.dotm and all my other Word templates without a problem.

Just a quick note about repairing Office 365—you don’t get a Repair option in the list of programs, despite the user interface text telling you so. Instead, you have to click on Change, say Yes to allow the app to make changes (if asked), then choose Quick Repair from the list. It only takes a few minutes. Once the repair was done, my IT guys told me to reboot the PC, which I did, then I tested the repair by successfully opening normal.dotm.

Windows 10 steps for repairing Office 365:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Select Programs and Features.
  3. Select Microsoft Office 365.
  4. Click Change at the top of the list of programs.
  5. If asked, say Yes to allow the app to change the program.
  6. Select the Quick Repair option.
  7. Click Repair.
  8. When finished, restart your machine and test that what you were trying to fix has been fixed.

Update May 2019: This happened after a Windows 10 and/or Office 2016 update on my laptop too. Running the repair fixed it. But it should never have broken in the first place!

[Links last checked February 2019]


PowerPoint: Apply a template

April 15, 2015

Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT) doesn’t use templates like Microsoft Word does. You can’t just ‘apply’ an existing template to a deck of PPT slides and assume that all the styles and formatting will automatically update. Sure, you can do things with Master Slides and format painter for individual slides (see the links at the end of the article for some of these techniques), as well as some global things with themes, colors, fonts etc.

But if you’re working in an organization and they have dictated that you now have to use a new ‘template’, how do you easily convert your legacy PPT slide decks to the new ‘look and feel’? I was asked this question and went looking for an answer, and in the process I found a ‘reuse slide’ feature in PPT I didn’t know existed, which, for the most part, applies the new look and feel to an existing slide deck with almost no effort on your part.

Before you start, you should have the organization’s new PPT ‘template’ loaded onto your computer, or know where to find it on the network. In the instructions below, I’ll use a sample template provided with PPT, and one of my own slide decks. In your case, you’ll use your own template and your own slide decks.

  1. Open PowerPoint.
  2. Go to File > New.
  3. I then opened Sample Templates (you will likely open ‘My templates’), and selected one of the samples.
  4. Once the slide deck is open in PPT, click the drop-down arrow next to New Slide and select Reuse Slides.
  5. A panel opens on the far right of the PPT window. Click Browse, then select Browse File.
  6. Navigate to the old slide deck you want to ‘convert’ to the new template, and click Open. The slides are shown as thumbnails in the right panel.
  7. Right-click in the right panel, and select Insert All Slides.
  8. All your slides are immediately added to the new PPT presentation and that presentation’s ‘template’ is applied to them all. You can compare thumbnails in the panels on either side of the main window to see how your presentation has changed.
  9. Delete any unwanted slides, then save your ‘new’ presentation.


  • As with any such conversion, please check ALL slides after you have changed them to the new look t make sure everything has been captured correctly. I noticed a couple of slides that didn’t convert — I’d added a graphic as a background to these ones, so would have to fix that.
  • Don’t forget to delete all the unwanted ‘placeholder’ slides from the template you used, and then save your work.

See also:

[Links last checked April 2015]