How to fix 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 software 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 on How to fix Normal.dotm:

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Note: this fix is for Windows users only.

  • Step 1: Turn on “Show hidden files”
    Click here to learn how to turn on “Show hidden files”
  • Step 2: Open MS Word and press Ctrl + O
  • Step 3: Locate Normal.dotm and open it
    Click here to learn how to locate Normal.dotm 
  • Step 4: You will see a pop-up box asking if you should:
    1. Open a Read-only copy
    2. Create a local copy and merge your changes later
    3. Receive a notification when the original copy is available
  • Step 5: Select “Open a Read-only copy”
  • Step6: Make the desired changes to this copy (eg. – change font, font size, line spacing, heading styles, etc)
  • Step 7: Press Ctrl + S and save this copy as “Normal.dotm – New” in the same location as Normal.dotm

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  • Step 8: After saving the file, open the “File” tab on the top left corner of MS Word
  • Step 9: Under “Info”, you will see the path “C: >> Users >> …………” written above “Protect Document”
  • Step 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”.
  • Step 11: Delete the old “Normal.dotm” and rename “Normal.dotm – New” as “Normal.dotm”
  • Step 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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