MS Word

Prevent Word from Creating a Blank Document at Startup

The Problem:

When I start Word, the last thing I need is yet another blank document based on the Normal templateI'd rather have one based on my template. Actually, what I really want is for Word to open the document I need to work with.

The Solution:

Word offers you a blank document based on the Normal template as a token of its continuing devotion, rather like your cat might lay out the occasional eviscerated rabbit for your early-morning dining delight. (Well, by now you should know better than to walk around barefoot without switching on the light, shouldn't you?)

Instead of continuing to dispose of the useless blank document by clicking the Close button (and wishing you could dispose of the rabbit with similar ease), you can prevent Word from creating the document, make it create a document based on a template of your choice, or have it open a document for you. To do so, use Word's startup switches (startup options) in the shortcut that you use to start Word.

Create a suitable shortcut for a startup switch

Depending on the version of Word and how it was set up, you may not be able to use the Word shortcut that appears on the Start menusome of these shortcuts don't let you edit the command used to start Word. To check, right-click the Word shortcut and choose Properties, then look at the Shortcut tab. If the Target text box is grayed out, you need to create a new shortcut.

To do so, locate WINWORD.EXE (usually in a folder named some variation of "Office" in the Program Files folder, which you can access by choosing Start » Run, typing %programfiles%, and pressing Enter) and create a shortcut to it wherever you find most convenient. For example, right-click WINWORD.EXE within its parent folder and choose "Create shortcuts here," rename the shortcut from "Shortcut to WINWORD.EXE" to a snappier name, and then drag the shortcut to your Start menu, if that's where you want it.

Right-click the new shortcut, choose Properties, and then click the Shortcut tab. The next sections discuss the switches you can use. Enter the switches on the Target line of the Shortcut tab after the final double quotation marks. For example:

"D:\Program Files\Office 2003\OFFICE11\ WINWORD.EXE" /n

Prevent Word from creating a blank document

If all you want to do is to prevent Word from creating a blank document at startup, add the /n switch to the shortcut that starts Word (as shown above).

Open a document based on your preferred template

If you want to open a document based on a template other than the Normal template, use the /t switch and specify the template name:

"D:\Program Files\Office 2000\OFFICE11\ WINWORD.EXE" /

If the template name contains spaces, enclose it in double quotation marks. You may need to include the full path.

Open a document on the Most Recently Used list

To make Word always open one or more of the documents on its Most Recently Used list (the list that appears at the foot of the File menu), use the /m switch, the word file, and the file's position. For example, /mfile1 opens the document at the number one position on the list.

Open a specific document

Opening a recent document can be useful, but it'll often stick you with a document you don't need. What's usually more useful is to open one or more specific documents when you start Word. To do so, enter the full path and filename of each file after the program file, with a space between each name, and all in the same line:

"D:\Program Files\Office 2000\OFFICE11\ WINWORD.EXE" "c:\Docs\Book1.doc"