WD97: How to Reset User Options and Registry Settings

This article was previously published under Q181471
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This article describes various methods for resetting user options and registry settings in Microsoft Word.
There are two basic kinds of options that the user can define in Word. The first kind affects the way the program operates. The information for this kind of option is usually stored in the Windows registry. The second kind of option affects the formatting or appearance of one or more documents. The information for this option is stored in templates or documents.

When you troubleshoot odd behavior in the program or in a document, first eliminate the possibility that the problem is caused by a combination of options and formatting. If the behavior occurs in multiple documents, it may be useful to reset the user settings to the "factory" defaults either temporally or permanently. To do this, use one of the methods listed in the following table.
   Method                                                   Result   ---------------------------------------------------------------------   Hold SHIFT to prevent automatic macros from starting.    Temporary   Start Word with the /a switch.                           Temporary   Rename the Normal template.                              Temporary or                                                            Permanent   Edit or delete registry entries.                         Permanent				

Holding the Shift Key

Word reserves special names for macros that you can create to automaticallyalter the way Word behaves. These are called "auto" macros. The auto macrosin Microsoft Word are listed in the following table.
   Macro      Storage location                Automatically Runs   ---------------------------------------------------------------------   AutoExec   In the Normal template          When Word is started              or in a global add-in   AutoNew    In a template                   When a new document that is                                              based on the template is                                              created   AutoOpen   In document or template         When a document that is                                              based on the template or that                                              contains the macro is opened   AutoClose  In document or template         When a document that is                                              based on the template or that                                              contains the macro is closed   AutoExit   In the Normal template          When Word is quit              or a global add-in				
Word recognizes a macro with a name that begins with "Auto" as a macro that automatically runs when the situation to which it applies occurs. You can prevent an auto macro from running by holding down the SHIFT key while performing the action that causes the macro to run.

Starting Word Using /A

Starting Word by using /a on a command line causes Word to use the default settings for all options and prevents add-ins from being loaded.

The /a switch allows you to start Word without loading the following components:
  • The global template (Normal.dot)
  • Any add-in templates in the Startup folder
  • Any add-in libraries (.wll files)
  • User settings stored in the Data key in the Windows registry.
NOTE: When you start Word with the /a switch, changes you make in Word that affect any of these components are not written to the hard disk when you quit Word, and the changes are lost.

For the following example, assume that Word is located in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office folder.

To start Word 97 by using /a, follow these steps:

NOTE: Because there are several versions of Microsoft Windows, the following steps may be different on your computer. If they are, see your product documentation to complete these steps.
  1. Click Run on the Start menu.
  2. In the Run dialog box, click Browse.
  3. Use the Look In box to locate Winword.exe, and then select it. Then click Open. This step fills in the Open box in the Run dialog box.
  4. In the Open box, move the insertion point after Winword.exe.

    NOTE: The path to the Winword.exe in the Run dialog box is enclosed in quotation marks. Be sure to move the insertion point to the right of the closing quotation mark.
  5. Type a space, and then type /a.

    The statement in the Open box should resemble the following:
If starting the program with the /a switch corrects the problem, use the following methods to further isolate the problem.

Renaming the Normal Template

To prevent formatting, AutoText, and macros that are stored in the Normal template (Normal.dot) from affecting behavior of the program and documents that are opened, rename Normal.dot. Renaming allows you to quickly determine whether the Normal template is causing the problem or behavior.

NOTE: Renaming the Normal.dot template resets several options back to the default settings, including custom styles, custom toolbars, macros, and AutoText entries. For this reason, Microsoft strongly recommends that you rename the Normal.dot file.

Certain kinds of configurations may create more than one Normal.dot file. These situations include cases in which multiple versions of Word are running on the same computer or cases in which several workstation installations exist on the same computer. In these situations, be sure to rename the correct copy of Normal.dot.

To rename the Normal.dot file, follow these steps:

NOTE: Because there are several versions of Microsoft Windows, the following steps may be different on your computer. If they are, see your product documentation to complete these steps.
  1. Quit all instances of Word, including WordMail.
  2. On the Windows taskbar, click Start, point to Find, and click Files or Folders.
  3. In the Named box, type Normal.dot.
  4. In the Look In box, select your local hard disk drive (or an alternate user template location if you are running Word from a network server).
  5. Click Find Now to search for the file.
  6. For each occurrence of Normal.dot that appears in the Find dialog box, right-click the file. Click Rename on the shortcut menu. Type a new file name, such as OldNormal.dot or Normal-1.dot and press ENTER.
  7. Quit the find dialog box and restart Word normally (without using the /a switch).
If Word starts correctly, you have resolved the problem. In this case, the problem is a damaged Normal.dot template. You may need to change a few settings to restore your favorite options. If the Normal.dot file you renamed contains customizations, such as styles, macros, or AutoText entries that cannot be easily recreated, you may be able to copy those customizations from the old Normal.dot file to the new Normal.dot file by using the Organizer.

For more information about using the Organizer, click the Office Assistant,type "using the Organizer," click Search, and then click "Use settings fromanother document or template."

Deleting Registry Entries

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

Deleting the Data Key:

NOTE: Deleting the Data key resets several options back to the default settings, including the File menu most recently used file list, and many settings you customize in the Options dialog boxes.

Most common options (click Options on the Tools menu) are stored in the Data key. One troubleshooting step is to delete the Data key. Word rebuilds this Data key by using the default settings the next time the program is started.

To delete the Data key, follow these steps:

NOTE: Because there are several versions of Microsoft Windows, the following steps may be different on your computer. If they are, see your product documentation to complete these steps.
  1. Quit all instances of Word, including WordMail.
  2. On the Windows taskbar, click the Start button and click Run.
  3. In the Open box, type regedit, and click OK.
  4. Locate the following key by double-clicking the appropriate folders.
  5. With the Data folder selected (on the left), click Delete on the Edit menu to delete the key.
  6. Click Yes when you are prompted to confirm the deletion.
  7. Quit the registry editor and restart Word normally (without using the /a switch).
If Word starts correctly, you have resolved the problem. The problem is a damaged Data key. You may need to change a few settings to restore your favorite options.

To edit or delete other registry entries:

Use the preceding steps but substitute the correct registry key in step 4, and then use Modify or Delete in step 5.

NOTE: Some keys are automatically rebuilt when you run Word. To rebuild other keys, you must reinstall the program by using the /y switch on the command line to recreate the correct entry. For more information see the following section.


The /y switch prevents Setup from copying files. Setup proceeds normally, including setting registry entries; however, it does not copy any files to the computer. Use this switch to restore registry entry values or to track down process problems without copying files.

This switch may be used when running Microsoft Office 97 Setup in maintenance mode, for example:
\setup.exe /y

Where Settings Are Stored in the Registry

Word 97 stores all of its settings in the Windows registry; Word 97 no longer stores information in an *.ini file or in the Winword.opt file as do Word 2.x and 6.x.This section lists the settings in the registry that pertain to Word 97. The locations are organized into the following sections:
  • Main locations of Word settings
  • Settings in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Word
  • Settings in HKEY\CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Common
  • Settings in HKEY\CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MS Setup (ACME)
  • Settings in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools
  • Miscellaneous settings
  • Using the RegOptions macro

Main Locations of Word Settings

Most settings in Word are stored in the following key:
Changes made to this HKEY_CURRENT_USER key are mirrored in the following key:
The difference between the two locations is that first one applies only to the current user of the system while the other one is the default for all users. However, Word entries are the same for both; so, any change made to one is automatically reflected in the other.

NOTE: For the remainder of this section, all references to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER key apply also to the HKEY_USERS key except where noted.

Settings in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Word

The settings that you may need to examine during troubleshooting are located in this key. The Data key and the Options key are the most frequently changed areas.

Data Key

The Word 97 for Windows equivalent to the Word 6.x Winword.opt file is the Data key. This key contains binary information for most recently used lists, including the most recently used file list and the most recently used address book list. It also contains the same information that is stored in the Winword.opt file in Word for Windows 6.x, such as Track Changes settings (Revision settings in Word 6.x) and Edit settings.

Default Save Key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Word\Default Save
This key sets the default format for saving documents. You can change the default format Word 97 uses by changing the Save Word Files As setting in Word. To locate this option in Word, click Options on the Tools menu, and then click the Save tab.

Options Key

This key stores the options that you can set from Word either by changing menu options or by running the RegOptions macro. These are the editable options.

The settings fall into two groups: default settings and optional settings. Default settings are established during Setup. You can change them by modifying options in Word. Optional settings are not created during Setup; to add them you must run the RegOptions macro.

These default settings are the following:
   AutoSpell              Turns Automatic spell checking on or                          off   AutoGrammar            Turns Automatic grammar checking on or                          off   AutoSave-Path          Sets default folder for "autosave"                          documents   BackgroundPrint        Turns background printing on or off   BackgroundSave         Turns background saving on or off   EnableMacroVirus       Turns macro warning on or off   NoEditTime             Turns on and off recording of edit time                          in statistics   Picture-Path           Sets the path for clip art   PlainTextAutoFormat    Sets Autoformat for WordMail documents   ProgramDir             Sets the Word program folder   Startup-Path           Sets the path for the startup folder   StartWhatIsNew         Turns What Is New screen on and off at                          startup   Tools-Path             Sets alternative locations for proofing                          tools   Wordmail-Path          Sets WordMail directory path   WPHelp                 Turns WordPerfect Help on or off				
The optional settings are the following:
   Bak-Extension          Sets default extension for backup files   BitMapMemory           Sets memory for internal graphics cache   CacheSize              Sets internal document text cache for                          Word   DateFormat             Sets the default date format for Word   Doc-Extension          Sets the default extension for Word                          documents   Doc-Path               Sets the default path for documents                          saved in Word   Dot Extension          Sets the default extension for templates                          in Word   OleDot                 Sets the default template used to create                          document objects in Word or other OLE                          applications   SlowShading            For printers with special drawing                          function, allows shading of graphics   TimeFormat             Sets the default time format for Word   UpdateDictionaryNumber Sets the default order for custom                          dictionaries   User Dot Path          Sets the default path for User                          templates   Workgroup Dot Path     Sets the default path for Workgroup                          templates				

Help Key

This key contains the paths for the Word Help files. Word Help, WordPerfect Help, and Visual Basic Help paths are found here.


This key contains the default settings for the Web Authoring feature. The default settings are the following:
   AutoUpDate           Sets the date to check the Web for updates   AutoUpdateAddress    Sets the Web address to check for Web                        updates   Bullet Path          Sets the path for Web graphical bullets   Clipart URL          Sets the Web address for new Web clipart   Dlg Bullet Path      Sets the path for basic Web bullets   Dlg HorizontalLine   Sets the path for basic Web lines   HorizontalLine Path  Sets the path for Web graphical lines   LocalContent         Sets the location for documents containing                        default content used by the Web page                        wizard   LocalPageStyles      Sets the location for .gif files, backgrounds,                        and templates used by the Web page wizard   WebArt Path          Sets the path for local clipart				

Stationery Key

This key contains the default location for the template for WordMail and the links to find the template.

The four settings are the following:
   Cfg File Location    Sets the path to the WordMail folder   Default Template     Sets the path to the template (by default,                        Email.dot)   DlgDefTpl            Shows a link to the default template   Option               Shows a link to the default template				

Text Converters Key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Word\Text Converters
This key contains registration information for text converters for Word. Itincludes the keys for import and export converters. Each converter registers its extension, name, and path in this key.

NOTE: Three uncommon converters registered in this key are the Schedule Plus converter, the MSPAB converter, and the Microsoft Outlook converter. These converters allow you to import contact lists through an Address book.

The paths are the following:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Word\Text Converters\Import\Splus
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Word\Text Converters\Import\MSPAB
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Word\Text Converters\Import\OUTLOOK

Wizards Key

This key replaces the Wordwiz.ini file from earlier versions of Word. All wizard defaults are stored here. These setting are created the first time you run a wizard.

WordMail Key

This key contains the window position information for WordMail.

Settings in: HKEY\CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Common

This key is used by other Microsoft programs, such as the Office programs. Likewise, these settings are shared between programs. Changes made in one program's settings also appear in the other programs' settings.
   Assistant    Sets information about the chosen Office Assistant   AutoCorrect  Sets the path to the .ACL file (which contains the                AutoCorrect list) and lists the current settings for                AutoCorrect   FileNew      Sets paths for local and shared templates   Internet     Stores settings for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites and                icons   Open Find    Stores default setting for Open and Save dialog boxes in                Microsoft Word, including current view and file name and                most recently used lists   Toolbars     Turns ToolTips on or off and sets button sizes for toolbars   Userinfo     Sets user information including address, name, and initials				

Settings in: HKEY\CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MS Setup (ACME)

This setting refers to the user's name, which you are prompted to fill in during Setup.
   User Info      Sets the user name and company name for Setup usage				

Settings in: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools

This key contains paths for all Windows applets (programs such as Equation, WordArt, and MSGraph). Paths for graphics filters and text converters are also registered in this location. There are two keys that pertain to Word. One is the Graphics Filters key, which registers the import and export filters, and the other is the Text Converters key, which registers import and export converters. In addition, each filter and converter is registeredindividually. A list of clients that use a filter, converter, or applet is listed under each tool.

Miscellaneous Settings

The .doc file name extension is registered in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT in several ways.


Equation Editor options outlined in the RegOptions Macro are registered in the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Equation Editor\3.0\Options\General
Note that the Options\General folders do not appear unless options are set.

Using the RegOptions Macro

The RegOptions macro can be used to examine the Windows registry or to makechanges to Word settings stored there. To run the macro, follow these steps:
  1. On the File menu, click Templates and Add-ins.
  2. Click Add.
  3. Select the "Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Macros" folder.
  4. Select the Support8.Dot file and click OK. This step adds the Support8 template to the "Global Templates and Add-ins" box. Click OK.
  5. On the Tools menu, click Macro.
  6. In the Macros In list, click Support8.dot (Template).
  7. In the Macros list, click RegOptions, and then click Run.

Alphabetical List of Options and Where They Are Stored

NOTE: In the following table, "Template" refers to either the Normal.dot template or to a custom template. The "Qxxxxxx" reference refers to a Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article where you can find additional information about the setting.
   Setting name                    Storage location         KB Article Q#   ----------------------------------------------------------------------   Active Window Prop              Registry Data            Q157464   AutoCorrect-Cap info            Registry Data            Q157464   AutoCorrect-Formatted text      Normal.dot   AutoCorrect-Path                Registry Data            Q157464   AutoCorrect-Shared Entries     .ACL files <user>.acl   AutoSave Path                   Registry Data            Q140097   AutoText                        Template   Bullets & Numbering Palette     Registry Data            Q157464   Common Office                   Registry                 Q157464   Company Name                    Winword.exe   Confirm Conversion Options      Registry Data            Q157464   Custom Keystroke Assignments    Template   Custom Label                    Registry Data            Q157464   Default View Mode               Registry Data            Q157464   Default View Zoom               Registry Data            Q157464   Drawing Object Prop             Registry Data            Q157464   Edit                            Registry Data            Q157464   Envelope                        Registry Data            Q157464   File Locations                  Registry Data            Q157464   File Routing Slip               Registry Data            Q157464   Font Substitution               Registry                 Q163813   Format Style List               Registry Data            Q157464   General                         Registry Data            Q157464   Grammar                         Registry                 Q157464   Help File                       Registry Data            Q157464   Help for WP                     Registry Options         Q135872   HTML                            Registry Data            Q157464   Macros                          Template/Document   Mailing Address Name, Initials  Registry Data            Q157464   Most Recently Used File List    Registry Data            Q157464   Most Recently Used Font List    Registry Data            Q157464   Picture Editing                 Registry                 Q112199   Print                           Registry Data            Q157464   Print data forms                Document   Proofing Tools                  Registry Data            Q157464   Revisions(Track Changes)        Registry Data            Q157464   Save                            Registry Data            Q157464   Screen Location                 Registry Data            Q157464   Shared Tools                    Registry                 Q157464   Show Tips                       Registry Data            Q157464   Snap to Grid                    Registry   Sort Options                    Registry Data            Q157464   Spelling                        Registry Data            Q157464   Styles                          Template/Document   Table of Authorities            Registry Data            Q157464   Templates and Add-ins           Registry Data            Q157464   Text Converters                 Registry Data            Q157464   Toolbar Docking                 Registry Data            Q157464   Toolbars                        Template/Document   Tools/Options View              Registry Data            Q157464   User Info                       Registry   View Options                    Registry Data            Q157464   View Toolbars                   Template   View/Ruler                      Registry Data            Q157464   View/Toolbar                    Template   Virus Protection                Registry                 Q157464   Wizards                         Registry                 Q157464   WordMail                        Registry                 Q157464				
AutoCorrect lists are shared between Office programs. Any changes you make to the AutoCorrect entries and settings while in one program are immediately available to the other programs. In addition, Word can store AutoCorrect items that consist of formatted text and graphics.

Information pertaining to AutoCorrect is stored in various locations. Theselocations are listed in the following table.
   This AutoCorrect information                Is stored here   ---------------------------------------------------------------------   AutoCorrect entries shared by all           .acl file in the location   programs                                    specified in the registry   AutoCorrect entries used only by            Normal.dot   Word (formatted text and graphics)   AutoCorrect settings (correct two initial   Registry   capitals, capitalize names of days,   replace text as you type)   AutoCorrect settings used only by           Registry   Word (Correct accidental usage of CAPS   LOCK key, Capitalize first letter of   sentences)				

Article ID: 181471 - Last Review: 12/05/2015 08:25:09 - Revision: 2.3

Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition

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