Fixing Normal.dotm “Read-only” error on MS Word

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Are you trying to change MS Word’s default template settings by making changes to Normal.dotm? By any chance, are you facing a “Read-only” error? We are here to put an end to your worries!

The “Read-only” error is present in about 10% MS Word softwares and currently, even MS Word does not have a complete fix. We expect MS Word to soon release an update which contains a permanent solution to this issue, however, till then we request you to take the following steps to fix the “Read-only” error on Normal.dotm:

Note: this fix is for Windows users only.

1. Turn on “Show hidden files” 

Click here to learn how to turn on “Show hidden files”

2. Open MS Word

and press Ctrl + O

3. Locate Normal.dotm and open it

Click here to learn how to locate Normal.dotm 

4. You will see a pop-up box asking if you should:

    • Open a Read-only copy
    • Create a local copy and merge your changes later
    • Receive notification when the original copy is available

5. Select “Open a Read-only copy”


6. Make the desired changes to this copy (eg. – change font, font size, line spacing, heading styles, etc)

7. Press Ctrl + S and save this copy as “Normal.dotm – New” in the same location as Normal.dotm

8. After saving the file, open the “File” tab on the top left corner of MS Word

9. Under “Info”, you will see the path “C: >> Users >> …………” written above “Protect Document” 


10. Click on the path “C: >> Users >> …………”. A pop-up window will open and you will be able to see the older version of “Normal.dotm”. 

11. Delete the old “Normal.dotm” and rename “Normal.dotm – New” as “Normal.dotm”

12. Now exit MS Word and you should be able to see the changes you made to Normal.dotm in every new document you open

In case you still face the issue – uninstall MS Word and reinstall it. This will erase the read-only error from its root and you will be able to make all desired changes to Normal.dotm

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