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Fix: Word cannot open the existing global template ‘Normal.dotm’

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If you are using Office 2016 on Mac then you might see the error Word cannot open the existing global template. (Normal.dotm) message. This message can appear when opening the Microsoft Office 2016 or upon closing the Microsoft Office 2016. If you are seeing this error when trying to open Office 2016 then you won’t be able to open the files successfully. There are some variations of this error message that you might see. Examples of these variant error messages are “Do you want to replace the existing Normal.dotm” or “Changes have been made that affect the global template. Do you want to save those changes?”

The reason behind this issue is your Normal.dotm. Normal.dotm is a template which is used as the basis of creating new blank documents. If you are seeing this message then the most likely scenario is that the Normal.dotm is corrupted.

Method 1: Deleted Normal.dotm

Since the most likely cause of the error is corrupt Normal.dotm, deleting the corrupted file resolves the issue. Microsoft Office 2016 looks for this specific file every time you open the Microsoft Office. If the Microsoft Office can’t find the Normal.dotm file then it creates a new one automatically. So, simply delete the corrupt file and it will automatically be recreated the next time you start Microsoft Office.

Follow the steps given below to delete Normal.dotm file

PRO TIP: If the issue is with your computer or a laptop/notebook you should try using Restoro which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Restoro by Clicking Here

  1. Close Microsoft Office
  2. Press Command + Shift + G keys to open the Go To Folder window
  3. ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/ and press Enter
  4. Locate a file named Normal.dotm and select it
  5. Press Command and Delete key (Command + Delete) to delete the file.
  6. Delete any other files that have Normal in it but make sure you are in the User Templates folder.

Note: If you find multiple normal.dotm files or a ~normal.dotm file then delete those too.

Now simply open the Microsoft Office and everything should be fine.

Note: If you can’t find the normal.dotm file at the location given in step 2 then enter the location ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/User Content/Templates in step 2 and look for the normal.dotm file in there.

Method 2: Update Microsoft Office

Make sure you download and install the latest updates by Microsoft Office. The latest updates have resolved the issues for a lot of users.

Here are the steps for updating your Microsoft Office

  1. Open Microsoft Office
  2. Click Help then select Check for Updates. Note: If you can’t see Check for Updates option then click here, scroll down and click Microsoft_AutoUpdate to download the Microsoft AutoUpdate. Once downloaded, run the downloaded file and the Check for Updates option should be available

  1. Click Check for updates and follow any additional on-screen instructions

Once the Office is updated, you should be good to go.

Note: If you have Zotero, a citation program, then update Zotero as well.

PRO TIP: If the issue is with your computer or a laptop/notebook you should try using Restoro which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Restoro by Clicking Here

Kevin Arrows


Hi! I'm Kevin. Thank you for reading the article above. I am a certified CCNP/MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) with over 10 years of experience having worked mainly in the NOCs.

Expert Tip

Fix: Word cannot open the existing global template ‘Normal.dotm’

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Restoro which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Restoro by clicking the Download button below.

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