I use multiple computers (Windows and Mac) and want to sync my MS Office 2016/365 templates across all of them so for example I can create a new Invoice or PowerPoint from anywhere using the same layouts, colour schemes etc.

I thought I had found a nice solution to this by using a OneDrive folder to store my templates. Office on Windows allows me to select a different location for my Personal templates, and although Office on Mac doesn't have this there are plenty of folder syncing tools that fill the gap.

That seemed to be working great - all my templates show up in Office apps, and if I adjust one the changes get synced.

But then it turns out Word stores its Normal.dotm template in the same location as the other templates and usually thinks OneDrive has locked the file, so throws errors whenever I open any Word doc.

Has anyone here found a better way to sync Office templates across multiple computers that doesn't suffer from this problem?

1 Answer 1


Generally, the global template(Normal.dotm) is a personal scratchpad that stores the settings you use while creating documents. It is not designed nor intended to be shared (nor locked against changing). Normal.dotm should never be a shared file.The location of the normal.dotm file is the user templates folder. You can't change this location.

In your case, I suggest you sync your personal templates instead of user templates with OneDrive. You can save your templates to OneDrive, such as a folder named "templates" of the root folder. The path should be like "C:\Users\username\OneDrive\templates". enter image description here

In each computer, you can open Word/PowerPoint/Excel, go to File > Options > Save to change the "Default personal templates location path" to somewhere of your choosing.

enter image description here

Then you can click File > New > Personal > select a personal template to create a new document. If you want to modify a personal template, you need to click File > Open > OneDrive to locate the template and save back after editing. Your changes will be synced across computers.

enter image description here

  • Thanks - that is helpful. I had actually done exactly what you suggest. I must have created a copy of Normal.dotm in the Personal Folder at some point, but I've checked and Word is using the version at C:\Users\me\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates. So I guess the OneDrive thing is a red herring and something else is causing the error messages relating to my Normal.dotm template being read only. I have deleted the copy of Normal.dotm in my Personal templates to avoid confusion, and will create a new problem if I can't figure out what is causing the errors on my own.
    – dunxd
    Nov 14, 2019 at 9:41
  • 1
    I have found a major caveat with this method. If you open a saved document from a computer with a different username (but synced with your OneDrive) the document will lose its attachment to the template. I am trying to find a workaround for this issue at the moment but haven't come up with one yet. Aug 25, 2022 at 9:32

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