The Word cannot open the existing file is an error that happens on the Mac computer. The full error message is Word cannot open the existing global template. (Normal.dotm). To solve this issue, you need to delete the corrupted Normal.dotm file or update your Microsoft Office. In this post, MiniTool Software will show you the guides.

About Word Cannot Open the Existing Global Template (Normal.dotm)

When using a Word file on your Mac, you may receive an error message saying Word cannot open the existing global template. (Normal.dotm).

This is an issue that always happens to Office 2016 on Mac when you want to open or close Office 2016. The error message can also be Do you want to replace the existing Normal.dotm or Changes have been made that affect the global template. Do you want to save those changes?

What is Normal.dotm? What does this error message mean? Is it possible to solve this normal.dotm error on Mac issue?

What Is Normal.dotm?

Now, let’s first talk about Normal.dotm.

Normal.dotm is the template on which new blank documents are based. It includes the default styles and customizations that control the basic look of the document. When you open Microsoft Office Word 2013, it will also open.

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What Does This Error Message Mean?

This Word cannot open the existing file error means that the Normal.dotm file is corrupted. If so, you will be unable to use the Word document as normal. You can delete the Normal.dotm file from your Mac. Then, when you open your Word document, a new Normal.dotm file will be created. Besides, you can also update your Microsoft Office to have a try.

Solution 1: Delete the Normal.dotm File

You can follow these steps to delete the corrupted Normal.dotm file from your Mac computer:

1. Make sure your Microsoft Office is closed.

2. Press Command_Shift_G to open Go to the folder.

3. Copy and paste the following path to the search box and click Go:

~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/

Tip: If you can’t find the the Normal.dotm file from above location, you can try this location: ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/User Content/Templates.

4. Find the file which is named as dotm and then delete it. If there are also some files like ~$Normal.dotm whose names contain Normal.dotm, you need to delete them too.

After these steps, you should open your Word document successfully.

Solution 2: Update your Microsoft Office

The latest Microsoft Office update has solved this issue. If you are not using the new update, you can update it to have a try:

  1. Open Microsoft Office.
  2. Go to Help > Check for updates.
  3. Click Check for updates from the newly pip-out window to start the updating process.

When the updating process ends, you can open one of your Word document to see whether the Word cannot open the existing file issue is solved.

Bonus: How to Recover Your Mac Data?

You may delete or lose some important files on your Mac by mistake. To recover your lost data from your Mac, you can try Stellar Data Recovery for Mac, a free Mac data recovery software. This software can your Mac data under different situations like Mac won’t turn on, MacBook Pro black screen of death, USB Accessories Disabled, and more.

software main interface

It has a trial edition. You can use it to scan the drive you want to recover data from on your Mac. You can get this software from the MiniTool official download center. If this software works to find your needed files and you want to recover all your needed files using this software, you need to use a full edition.

Bottom Line

When you encounter word cannot open the existing file normal.dotm, don’t worry. Just try the two methods mentioned in this post to solve the issue. When you delete your important documents by mistake, you can try Stellar Data Recovery for Mac to get them back. Should you have any related issues, you can let us know on the comment.

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