Recently a reader wrote in to ask about the best way to save her Word settings because her company is planning to upgrade their computer systems. She knew that most settings in Word are saved in the Normal.dot template, and (correctly) figured that saving that file aside is a good idea. But she wasn't sure if her macros would be saved too.
Because I never throw anything away, I still have templates that I created in Word 6 long, long ago. Saving your templates aside is actually easy. The hardest part is finding out where Word stores your templates. So before you get your new computer, on your current computer, open Word and choose Tools|Options. Then click the File Locations tab. Next to Templates, you see the full path that tells you where your templates are stored on your hard disk. In new versions of Word, the path may be rather long deep within the Documents and Setting folder. You can just use Windows Explorer to navigate to that folder and save the template files or even the entire folder off to a floppy or CD. All your templates are now backed up, which is definitely a good thing. After you install Word on the new computer, you can just copy them to the Template folder there. (Again, you can just look in the File Locations tab to figure out where it the templates have been installed.) Macros are stored in templates, so if you save aside your templates, you get your macros too.
If you don't like the direct approach, and you have a recent version of Office, you also can use a built-in tool that comes with Office, which backs up the settings for all your Office applications. The Save My Settings Wizard saves the settings for the elements of Office you choose. Before you start, close any Office applications you might have running. Then click Start|Programs|Microsoft Office Tools and click the Save My Settings Wizard. Go through the wizard by clicking the Next button and tell it to Save the settings to a file. Click the Browse button to find a (preferably memorable) location on your hard disk to store your settings. Give the file a name and click Save.
Again, you can use Windows Explorer to copy this file off to a floppy or CD. Then you just take it to your new computer, copy the file onto the new hard disk and use the same wizard to restore the settings.