Odd behavior Scrivener 103 with word 2007

I recently updated to word 2007 and now whenever I open Scrivener I get a warning from word that says “this file is in use by anther application or user”
(see attached screengrab)

When I click OK, I am then forced to save my normal .dotm template with changes.
I have no idea what changes this refers to, so I’ve resorted to saving the “changes” as Normal 3.dotm, Then ANOTHER requester box comes up asking if I want to replace my present Normal 3.dotm.

This comes up every single time I open up Scrivener, which is incredibly annoying.

Is anyone else experiencing this. Is there an incompatibility with Word 2007?
Is there anything I can do, other than going back to 2003?

WIN XP, Service Pack 3


Others users have reported this. I believe Lee is currently investigating the issue. Just click ok and the box will go away. I also experience this issue myself occasionally.

Normal.dot is the Word document default template. Why Scrivener would be referencing it, I have no idea. It sounds like the cache isn’t letting go the template file…but why Scrivener would be referencing it, I have no idea. Unless the Template file folder assigned in Word options is the same as the Template file folder assigned for Scrivener?

I’ve seen it come up on a Mac running Word 2003 whenever Word was closed, so it’s not a problem exclusive to the new Word. Word seems to be obsessed with its Normal template.

Unfortunately, the box only goes away after I do a save as. Not before

I hadn’t bothered with installing word 07 since 03 was so easy for my purposes, which is writing (I don’t mail merge, and all the other things 07 seems to be good at)

But then Blurb-- a publishing company I use-- made a plug-in for 07 and up, and I decided to go with it.
Now I’m not sure it was worth it.


I experience exactly the same problem with WORD-2003 (Windows 7 Pro).
Very annoying, because every time after Scrivener starts while having WORD-2003 running, I have to close 4 (four!) warning windows concerning normal.dot access.
I hope, this problem will be resolved eventually.

The same thing has just started happening to me. I use Word 2010 on Windows 7 64bit Home Premium. Everything was going fine until this morning, now I get the error message whenever I start Scrivener.

EDIT: The problem only occurs if I have a Word document open when I launch Scrivener.

I’m just curious if you’ve imported any word documents into your Scrivener project? I also run Word 2010 on Win7 Pro (64-bit). I run both Word and Scrivener often and have not yet seen this issue.

I’ve been successful in correctly importing Word 2007 .docx files if they do NOT contain images. But if a .docx file has images, those images DO NOT show up

However, if I save those very same docx files with images as .doc files, those DO import correctly with images into Scrivener


Eddie Tex,
your hint may prove very helpful. Let me ask you this: Have you imported or pasted anything from Word yet? If not, would you mind doing just that? At your own risk, of course, I don’t want you to mess up your system. (A system restore point may be a good idea before you try)

I experience the problem even when Word is NOT running. Cannot remember whether it started after a paste-operation from Word or not. But it would explain why so many people have this problem (across OS and Word versions) and some don’t.

I actually think this error mi8ght be due to Word itself.

I just opened Word 2007 to retrieve a Word doc, originally created with Office 2003, and the same error message appeared. I haven’t launched Scrivener yet since I booted my computer today.

In all versions from 2003 to 2007 to 2010?

If you ever clicked YES, save, then the word-template might be messed up.
I get the normal.dot message when I open Word (without Scrivener running) and vice versa. This had not been the case before I installed Scrivener. I did experience something similar, however, some time ago with a dictionary software.


I just tried to paste content into Scrivener as well as import a DOCX file. Neither seemed to create the issue described. I’m poking around Google and it appears that this error is an occasional issue with other Word users in general. Whenever Word launches, it looks for the Normal.dotm template file. Now, that does not explain why people are getting it when launching Scrivener instead of Word.

Here’s another question for you all, when you get the error (and Word has not been launched), has any of you checked the Task Manager to see if the process “winword.exe” is listed as an active process? There has been some mention that automation of Word-related tasks or any add-ins can lead to a background task that may have some bearing on this issue.

Additionally, some have mentioned that the document template file (Normal.dotm) is easily corrupted, so you could also try deleting the file or overwriting it with a safe version of that file. Bewarned however that this file contains many (if not all) of your Word customization options.

Here is one thread I found on the Microsoft support forums (pcreview.co.uk/forums/file-u … 31329.html).

One more random thought. My laptop came Office pre-installed (one of those 90 day trials). I already had licensed Office Pro so it was a simple matter of entering the unlock key. Strangely enough, I ran into a series of issues with saving and opening files (though I don’t recall exact details around the errors I kept running into). I ended up uninstalling Office and then installing from my Office DVD. Since then, it started working.

If someone has the time, you may want to consider uninstalling and re-installing Office to see if the issues with the standard template file goes away.

Thanks for giving it a shot, Eddie
guess we’ll have to wait passively for the developers here to figure this out.

Confirmed. Winword.exe gets fired up. Seems like Scrivener is doing things in the background, so Word feels compelled to warn us about the normal.dot change.

Make a back-up. Deleting Normal.dot did not solve the issue on my PC. Neither did re-installing Word or Scrivener.

Yes, but compared to genuine Word-bugs which trigger floods of complaints (consider the worldwide user-base!) the normal.dot issue is rare. In the posts I read it always turned out to be related to 3rd party Add-ins.

If I am wrong and this is indeed a Microsoft bug, let’s hope L&L has enough clout to get MS to fix it. Soon.

One more question. Is “winword.exe” already running in the background prior to launching Scrivener? If so, the problem could be rectified by disabling whatever is causing Word to run as a background process. That said, it doesn’t explain why Scrivener is touching the template file. My guess is that there might be a shared library in Windows that Scrivener is accessing that connects to Word for some reason.

Here’s another shot in the dark. Are you guys using Outlook? I believe there’s a feature or option in which Outlook can use the Word engine to compose emails. While I have Office installed on my PC, I do not use Outlook myself. That might be why I haven’t run into this issue.

I’ve never used Outlook, use Thunderbird as my email program

Same here: Not using Outlook, it’s not even installed.

Winword.exe it not running until I open Scrivener. Check it yourself by keeping Windows Task Manager open to watch it happening. Or with a monitoring tool like Sysinternals (free) to see what else is going on when you fire up Scrivener. This may explain its somewhat sluggish start-up procedure.

That’s very strange indeed. For me, Word is never launched when I open Scrivener, though this is clearly a Scrivener issue. My suspicion now is that there is a random setting somewhere within Scrivener that is mistakenly tripping off Word. Have you guys specified a citations manager within Scrivener that could be somehow communicating with Word?

Would you please check if Scrivener is also dumping thousands of files in your system, as described in the topic “Temp files”? Just curious if there’s a connection.

9 projects, 974 files, consuming about ~30MB for me. I’ve been using Scrivener regularly since about a week or two prior to the official release.