MS Word 2003/2007/2010/2013: How to share a template over the network

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Whether you are a starter, novice, intermediate or advanced user os MS Word, you might learned about MS Word templates already. If not, then templates simply means "a pre-formatted Word document that can be used to quickly create an instance of the document." In the template, everything such as Font, Size, Color, Background pictures are pre-formatted but users can also edit them.

Word templates

For MS Word 2007 and 2010, template files have DOTX or DOTM file extensions. A DOTX document is a basic MS Word template file while the DOTM document is a Macro-Enabled Template. This means that the document can be saved with a macro.

If you already created a template file, for instance, a DOTX file, every time you open the file, it always creates an instance of the template file named Document 1. All elements in the DOTX file are there and you can begin adding changes to the file and you can then save it as a separate DOCX file without affecting the original DOTX template file.

If you are in a network environment like a small business computer network or a corporate network, you can share your MS Word template across the network. This is useful if other people in your office are required to use the template the you created. Instead of copying the template file to EACH of the user's computer, sharing the template across the network will be an easy and logical approach. This means that you just store the template file in a SHARED folder in the server or in any workstation and grant other people access to the template folder. When you need to modify the template, you just overwrite the template file in the shared folder and users will then be able to access the updated template.

To share your MS Word template across the network, here are the steps:

Steps 1: Prepare your MS Word template and make sure that it is saved as a document template with a file extension of DOTX or DOTM for MS Office 2007 and later.

Steps 2: Depending on your network setup or preferences, you can share the template from ANY computer connected to the network, or you can store it in the server.

Steps 3: Either way, you store the DOTX or DOTM file in a folder, then SHARE that folder. Once shared, please take note of the location of the shared folder. For instance, here is a sample of my shared folder showing a network path:

sample shared folder path

Steps 4: When done, try to use another computer and access the shared folder across the network. When you are able to access the shared folder, you shall be able to view the DOTM or DOTX file. This is to ensure also that MS Word will be able to access the shared resources.

Steps 5: When the shared resources are accessible, it is now time to configure MS Word to use the shared template. NOTE: The steps that follow need to be done in all computers in the network who wants to use your shared template. Thus, if your office has seven (7) staffs who need to use your template, you need to configure the MS Word programs  of these seven computers.

Steps 6: Open MS Word 2007 or 2010, whichever is installed in the computer.

Steps 7: For MS Word 2007, click on the Office Orb then click on Word Options button. For MS Office 2010, click on File menu then click on Options.

Word 2007 options

Word 2010 options

Steps 8: In the Word options dialog box, click on Advanced link in the left panel. Then scroll down to the middle part and locate the General group. There click the File locations button.

File locations

Steps 9: In the File locations dialog box, locate and click on Workgroup templates then click on Modify button.

Workgroup templates

Step 10: Then navigate to the shared network resources and point to the template that you stored in the shared folder. Click OK three (3) times to close all dialog boxes.


In order to use the template, open MS Word then click on File => NEW. In the New Document dialog box, the shared network template shall be listed there.

MS Office Software: