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How to change text-direction default in Word

  1. Jun 29, 2016 #1
    I have Windows 2010 with the corresponding Microsoft Word. Both left-to-right and right-to-left text directions are available upon click (the paragraph sign pointing one way or the other), because I live in a country where both are common. I use both directions, but mostly I use the left-to-right; unfortunately, it came with a default right-to-left. Yes, I can change this every time I open a Word Document, but I would prefer to re-set the default. Going to Settings, I cannot find any way to do this. The Microsoft Word web pages do not seem to tell me how to do this. Does anyone have a clue?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2016 #2


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    Word 2010 is supposed to allow you to apply changes to future documents but if that doesn't work, you will need to change the .dotm template.
    Change the Normal template (Normal.dotm ) - Word - Office Support
    In Windows 7, the file is located at C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Normal.dotm. If I remember correctly, I had previously had trouble modifying that file directly so I saved my template with another .dotm name, closed Word and then replaced the .dotm file after it was closed. Be sure to back it up.

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  4. Jun 29, 2016 #3
    Thanks. I tried first the link, and got as far as

    "Click the Microsoft Office Button , and then click Open." OK

    "Click Templates next to File name." (Not applicable)

    "If no templates are listed in the Open dialog box, click the arrow next to the Files of type box, and then click All Word Templates." Done, but

    then nothing happens except that the blue circular cursor revolves endlessly. Including that

    "To be certain that you're working in the default template, check to see that Normal.dotm appears in the Word title bar." does not appear.

    So, I entered AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Normal.dotm in the Command Prompt window (after C: etc.) and received the message
    "This process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process."

  5. Jun 29, 2016 #4


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    Sorry about that. My first link refers to an earlier version of Word.

    The template problem is expected. When you open Word, it uses that template so you can't modify it or access it at the same time. Try opening Word from the Start menu, modify your settings and then save it with another name like AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\MyNormal.dotm. Then close Word, rename Normal.dotm to Normal_Backup.dotm and then rename MyNormal.dotm to Normal.dotm. Then reopen Word and it should have your changes.
  6. Jun 29, 2016 #5
    Thanks very much, Borg. With your help, the problem has been successfully resolved. :smile:
  7. Jun 29, 2016 #6


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    Awesome! Glad I could help. :woot: :partytime:
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