2005.02.22 09:17 PM

More Word Section Deletion Confusion

Compounding the confusion already surrounding the deletion of Word sections (see my previous post for details), it seems Word 2003 has an unfortunate bug in Normal view whereby deleting a section break fails to update the remaining section's break label, making it look to many users like Word did what they wanted, even though we know that it can't.

Here's our three section document from before, but this time in Normal view:

As we did before, let's try to delete the last section. Move the insertion point to the end of the contents of the second section, just after the section's last paragraph mark but before the section break line that reads "=== Section Break (Next Page) ===", and press the Delete key. Here's what we get:

Whoa, that's not what we got last time while in Print Layout view, even though it is what we wanted, before we learned it was impossible.

So what gives?

It's an illusion. If we switch to Print Layout view and back, or to Print Preview and back, or in any way modify the contents of the first section (which is what I did below), Word refreshes the last section's break label to reflect the correct (but still confusing) information that makes it clear we deleted the second, not the third, section:


Thanks a lot! This explains a lot.

Still have one big Word problem that you could maybe explain too:
my Normal.dot template is not saved anymore when closing Word. I can't make it to save my settings (eg toolbar settings, ...)
It used to work before, and it works on my girlfriends computer. So now I made a Normal.dot template with all my settings on her computer, then transfered this template to my computer, so I am able to get the toolbars and other settings like I want it. But still it is sometimes anoyin that it never saves the Normal.dot
Do you know what could be wrong with this? (using Office 2003 Pro SP1 Dutch)

Thanks again!

VOODOOS!L | 2005.03.14 04:23 PM


Thanks for taking the time to write.

Not sure what might be wrong. I would start by deleting the Normal.dot that won't update. Perhaps it's corrupted. Word will create a new one when it sees it is gone. If it doesn't, let me know.

Next, go to Word's Tools | Options dialog, switch to the Save tab, and check the "Prompt to save Normal template". With this on (temporarily), you'll get a better idea of when Word thinks it needs to be saved (i.e., when a change has occurred that it thinks needs to be persisted). If you never get prompted, let me know.

Good luck!

ewbi.develops | 2005.03.15 07:09 AM

Before posting here, I also thought removing the Normal.dot would be a solution. Indeed, Word made me a new Normal.dot with default settings, but again, changes are never saved to this template. I then also set the option to prompt when saving the normal template, but I never got a prompt of it..and it's never saved :-(

I now found a semi-solution:

I was able now to set all my default fonts, toolbars,... setting like the way I want them, by opening the Normal.dot itself within Word, then setting all my settings that I want to be the default settings, and then explicitly saving by overwriting the Normal.dot file.
Now, the settings are the way I want them, but if I want to change something to it, I again have to open the Normal.dot file itself and make my changes within it.

So the problem is somewhat solved for me, but I still find it very strange that Word doesn't want to save my Normal.dot anymore, so still all tips are welcome ;-)



VOODOOS!L | 2005.03.25 04:10 AM


The fact that you opened, changed, saved, and subsequently saw the effects of these changes to Normal.dot answers a lot of questions. It means you are not inadvertantly pointing at the wrong Normal.dot. It means you do have read/write access to Normal.dot. And it means your Normal.dot is not corrupted.

So, here's all I have left. Open Word (make sure you're looking at a new blank document), right-click a toolbar and select Customize. Switch to the Commands tab and verify that the "Save in" prompt at bottom says Normal.dot. This identifies the Application.CustomizationContext, which denotes the template into which various customizations (i.e., toolbar changes) will be preserved. Just to be sure it's the right Normal.dot, press Alt-F11 for the VBA IDE, press Ctrl-G for the Immediate window, and then type the following (pressing Enter after each):


If these report that you are pointing at the same Normal.dot you manually customized above, then I'm out of guesses. If you ever figure it out, though, I hope you come back and tell us about it.

Good luck!

ewbi.develops | 2005.03.25 09:24 AM

Thanks again for your support.
I took a look at the the Application.customizationContext settings, and indeed, they are pointing to the right Normal.dot template. So everything seems to be correct, but still it is not saved :-(

I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm using Word as my default mail writing application in combination with Outlook. As long Outlook stays open, all my settings are saved, but when closing Outlook, the Normal.dot is not saved (I suppose a part of Word is kept running in the background while Outlook is open, making it remember the settings).
When not starting Outlook at all, Word doesn't save the template settings.

I now tried to set Outlook to not use Word as my "email creator", but this didn't solve it neither.


VOODOOS!L | 2005.03.29 02:32 AM


Check out this newgroup thread, which includes Word MVP Susan Barnhill:


(You'll have to paste that back into one long URL.)

She describes a similar problem related to Adobe's Acrobat 7:

"[U]nfortunately Adobe's latest dumb idea is to set the Saved property of Normal.dot to True so that it is never saved on quitting Word. Until this is fixed, the only workaround is to save Normal.dot manually by pressing Shift while clicking on the File menu, then selecting Save All."

Do you have Acrobat loaded, or any other Word add-ins?

ewbi.develops | 2005.03.29 07:52 AM

:) :) :)

Indeed, this is the problem!

And the trick to use the menu 'File-> Save All' works good for saving the template!

I hope Adobe will solve this problem soon, but I'm glad I now know where this strange behaviour comes from!

Thank you very much ewbi!!!

VOODOOS!L | 2005.03.29 01:57 PM

That's great news! That's the second time Susan Barnhill has come to the rescue on this blog. I urge everyone to check out her Word FAQs:


ewbi.devleops | 2005.03.30 09:12 AM

Problem: Custom menus with autotexts are not saving properly. It will save for a time then the autotexts will change in the menus and sometimes the adobe acrobat commands will be copied to the custom menu and my autotexts are gone or move to another custom menu. Any help in solving this mystery would be appreciated. It would seem that the normal.dot is corrupt but I do not know how to fix.

Lorrie | 2005.11.02 10:42 AM

Hi Lorrie,

Well, that's tricky. Correctly managing AutoText, which means managing which templates they're stored in, which are loaded and evaluated, etc. can get messy. When you toss in ill-behaved third-party add-ins, like Adobe's Acrobat, it gets even worse.

How are the custom menus and AutoText you're having trouble with being created/managed: manually or programmatically?

If programmatically, the problem might be related to inappropriate (or at least unexpected) changes to the CustomizationContext, which controls the target for persisting changes to things like CommandBars. You might want to check out this post of mine for some additional information:


If you've got some additional details you can share, please do and I'll take a look.

ewbi.develops | 2005.11.08 04:13 PM

Evening... I've spent the last 5 hours trying to figure out why I'm having problems with my Word. I'm not able to save a new Normal.dot even if I delete and create a completely new one, load it from my templates folder, have Outlook open, and use the Shift-Save ALL trick.

When I did try Shift-Save ALL there was a moment when I thought it worked because I save a quick imagine of the correct toolbars displayed. But I guess that would have been too easy. I'm completely at a loss. I've removed PDFMaker as suggested by another website and everytime I close word it asks me whether I want to save Normal.dot because changes have been made. Even though it won't really save it.

I have Acrobat 6.0 Professional installed and the only other documents that are somewhat connected to Word are Documents to Go for my Palm Pilot. I've even tried to repair Word using the original software CD. Should I just remove it and reinstall it at this point? I've noticed that Word has been freezing on me as well.

ANY suggestions or new options to try would be so greatly appreciated!!!!

Thank you.
Frustrated Word User

Frustrated Word User | 2006.02.24 06:16 PM

Dear Frustrated,

Hang in there. I'm going to send you a separate email to see if I might be able to help. I'll post anything of interest we discover back here for everyone to see.

ewbi.develop | 2006.02.24 06:53 PM

i am using vb.net for office addin
I am adding menus in the word it is not deleted while closing eventhough we have a seperate function which deletes the added menus.Please help me.

Dinesh | 2006.03.24 01:49 AM

Hi Dinesh,

Sounds like you may want to use temporary Word Commandbars. Also, you probably want to be explicit about the CustomizationContext you target. Here's some more info:


Hope it helps. Good luck.

ewbi.develops | 2006.03.24 03:05 PM

For anyone interested in the outcome for Frustrated Word User above, the problem was tracked down to bad behavior by Palm's Documents to Go. Not entirely sure what this app was doing to Word and Normal.dot, but it wasn't good. They removed Documents to Go and the problem stopped, re-installed it and the problem returned. They eventually removed it for good. They sent me these instructions, which they used to manually remove it:


ewbi.develops | 2006.03.24 03:13 PM

I guess Adobe fixed this problem.
I had the same one, but afer instaling update 7.08 for Adobe Acrobat, the problem went away.

Bostjan | 2006.10.03 12:09 PM

Bostjan, thanks for the update.

ewbi.develops | 2006.10.03 01:07 PM


TrackBack URL:  http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c7bd453ef00d83438b10853ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference More Word Section Deletion Confusion: