Reader Question: The macro that won’t save

An attorney reader (whose employer is using Word 2003) contacted me about a curious macro problem:

I have created a macro for my signature for e-filing, etc., and it works in any document I open.  I want to create a couple of other macros to automate some typing I have to do in documents before saving them.  I have created the macros numerous times, and they work just fine to begin with, but they will not work once I have restarted the computer!  It’s like I can’t figure out how to save the new ones permanently.  I’ve been unable to make heads or tails of the help from Microsoft either.

This is not the first time I’ve heard of macros not saving, but this was a little different. After doing a bit of digging, I suggested these items for him to check:

Adobe updates

Apparently there are some issues with conflicts between Adobe Acrobat (I’ve seen version 7 mentioned specifically) and Word 2003 and earlier.  I suggested he try going to Help and choosing Check for updates now and installing any updates available, or going to to see if any updates are available from there.

Items to check before recording a macro

If macros aren’t being saved from one session to the next, perhaps some Word settings need to be adjusted. Take a look at the following:

  • Go to Tools, Options to see if Prompt to save Normal template is checked (you might try checking this box, recording a macro, then exiting Word to see if it prompts you to save your changes):

  •  Also, check to see if the macro is being stored in the Normal template (not just the current document) by looking at the drop-down below:

Doing File | Save All

According to a Microsoft Knowledge Base article, if all else fails, you can force Word to save all settings to the template to prevent them from being lost. This is done with the Save All command, which is not shown by default in the File menu. To add Save All to the File menu in Word 2003 and in earlier versions of Word:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Customize.
  2. On the Commands tab, click File under Categories.
  3. Under Commands, drag Save All to the File menu with your mouse. When the File menu opens, drag the Save All command to the position in the menu where you want it (say, right after Save).
  4. Close the Customize dialog box.

After you record each macro, do a File | Save All, and the macro should save to the Normal template and be accessible during any future Word session.

The Verdict

As it turns out, this reader had already tried the Adobe updates and the Word settings suggestions I’d made. But here’s what he had to say about the File | Save All solution:

Thank you Deborah, that seems to be the trick that fixed it. … Again, thank you so much.  I’m already saving your regular posts (that tend to deal with Office 2010) to a special folder so that I can go back to them once we have that version.  I have it at home, but I learn better by doing than just practicing, so unless I’m working on something specific, it doesn’t always stick.  Your articles are great, and I will continue to be a regular reader.

Well, glad to hear it helped!

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About the Author

I spend an inordinate amount of my time playing with computers and attempting to explain technology to lawyers and law office staff. It's not always easy, but someone's got to do it.