Annoying normal.dot error in Word XP (2002)
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:35
English to French
+ ...
Apr 14, 2008

I have been using Office XP for a while now, and I used Office 2000 for years before. Both have been giving me a headache. Sometimes, when I close a document and/or close the program, I get an error message saying the normal.dot template was modified and asking me if I want to save the changes. I choose not to save the changes (I used to, but ended up with dozens of different copies of the template) and then I get another error message which then prevents me from closing Word and I often have to force it to close by terminating it through the task manager. I know this is a kind of bug and I know there are ways to fix this - but could not find a resource that would guide me through the process.

What I am interested right now is understanding the normal.dot template and its purpose, and how it relates to the operation of the program. I just read a post in another thread, written by SDL Support, which recommends deleting the template. Is this safe? If it can be safely deleted, then that would mean that I don't really need it, right?

Can somebody briefly explain what normal.dot is all about, or perhaps point me to a resource on the net that explains this and maybe even gives some tips and tricks on dealing with it?

Thanks in advance!


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 03:35
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
I have the same problem since a week or two Apr 14, 2008

Can somebody briefly explain what normal.dot is all about, or perhaps point me to a resource on the net that explains this and maybe even gives some tips and tricks on dealing with it?


Dot files are templates for documents. They include such useful things like the fonts you want to use in the document, page setups, language(s) used etc. The mother of them all dots is the normal.dot: if you dont specify, which dot you want for a new doc file, you will get normal.dot served (note, every doc created anew has some dot file, 99% of cases the normal.dot file, standing in for a template).

I'll refrain from speculating on what causes your problem, I'll describe my suspicions about my case: I have several plug-ins, one of them maybe ten days old (Im testing some software actually). It's quite probable this plug-in is adding things on its own to my normal.dot - so when I am exiting word, the program notices the dot file has changed and wants to know my opinion about it ("save it?").

Deleting normal.dot? Oh well, why not (copy it away to some safe place, you may want it back later on).

Regards

Vito

[Edited at 2008-04-14 15:16]


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Antoní­n Otáhal
Local time: 03:35
Member (2005)
English to Czech
+ ...
normal.dot Apr 14, 2008

1. When you delete normal.dot, Word will create a "fresh, clean one" from the MSO installation files; but (nearly) all your customised settings will be lost!

2. I have to say that I have hardly had any problems with normal.dot in MSO 2003 (there used to be some with MSO XP, even if not very often)

3. I customise the Word a lot, especially VBA procedures, so I save my normal.dot with a datecode from time to time, to be able to get back and/or renew the older ones if anything goes wrong

4. When saving normal.dot is offered and you do not want it, you can just save with a descriptive name (such as killme.dot) and delete later

In general, Word templates are quite useful files. For example, when you copy your customised normal.dot to another machine, you will get all your settings there (except for AutoCorrect options, whose "out of the box" selections - in my opinion - rank among the worst defaults one could think of).

Antonin


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:35
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Wizzad for saving your settings in Office Apr 14, 2008

Antoní­n Otáhal wrote:
...
In general, Word templates are quite useful files. For example, when you copy your customised normal.dot to another machine, you will get all your settings there (except for AutoCorrect options, whose "out of the box" selections - in my opinion - rank among the worst defaults one could think of).

Antonin


I fully agree with you - keeping a copy of working Normal.dot is a very good habit.
But you can also save your *.acl files somwhere (acl files are those with auto corrections) and also customized dictionady files - but it is not necessary.
Using the wizzad mentioned (I'm not sure how it is called in different languages, but in German it is "Assistent zum Speichern eigener Einstellungen...") you can save all your customized settings for Office. It works very well, I've used this feature many times, when migrating my PCs.

Best regards
Jerzy


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:35
Member
English to French
It can be safely deleted unless you've "customised" it Apr 14, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
Is this safe? If it can be safely deleted, then that would mean that I don't really need it, right?...

The normal.dot file loads when words loads, and if Word can't find it, it creates a brand new default normal.dot file. So deleting it won't prevent Word from loading, but you may lose some custom functionality you created into it.

As far as I can gather, this file gets "customised" when you change styles, toolbar layout, templates to load, macros to load, etc.
If you change any of these items (by creating a macro and a custom toolbar button, changing the Normal style...), you will be asked to save your normal.dot template. Choose yes.

Also I had an awful time using the Word spellchecker in Tag Editor: Word would crash or hang very often. Now that I use the Wintree Spellchecker in SDL Trados 2006, Word crashes less often. Maybe you could explore this possibility.

You may find some reliable info on http://support.microsoft.com/search/ about this template's role.

Good luck,
Philippe

Edit: it looks like everything had already been said... sorry for being redundant

[Edited at 2008-04-14 18:17]


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