Files with the DOT extension are Microsoft Word files, but they are used as templates for creating other Word documents through Word for Windows 2003 and Word for Mac 2004. Word 2007 uses a DOTM file format for templates. DOT stands for Document Template.
Other programs which have used DOT extensions include Corel Lines definition files, Bert's Dinosaurs game, Graphviz DOT language files, and Ribbons Molecular surface files. Icons for these files will not have the Microsoft W.
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DOT files may be opened with any of the many programs that will also open Microsoft Word DOC files. These include on the Windows platform Nuance OmniPage Pro X, Microsoft Word Viewer, Nuance OmniPage Professional and Word Pad. On Mac one can use Apple Pages and Apple Works, and Nuance OmniPage Pro X. Open Office on either Windows or Mac will work. StarOffice, AbiWord and Kword will also open DOT files.
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More Info Regarding File Extension Dot
It is difficult for some people to understand the difference between DOC and DOT files, and this can create one of the most common problems with DOT files. In the most basic sense, there is no difference between a DOC and DOT file. However, files saved with the DOT extension may be used as a template for other files. There is a file on any computer using (pre-2007) Word called Normal.DOT. This may be in a hidden folder, but it exists. This file is a generic word processor file. It is the background that one sees whenever one chooses to open a new Word document. Normal.DOT comes with the margins preset at 1 inch top and bottom and 1.25 inches on the sides, the font set to Times New Roman size 12, portrait orientation, etc. When this template opens, one types on it or adds images, charts, etc, and then saves the file, but not with the DOT extension, but the DOC extension. The next time one starts a new document the unchanged Normal.DOT file opens again– a clean slate.
The leads to the most common error encountered with DOT files. When any file is saved using the Save As option, one of the choices in the drop-down box is a Document Template, *.dot file. If the file happens to be saved as Normal.dot, that file will then become the template for all documents created, present or past, with that template. In other words, if one changes the margins of the Normal.dot file, all documents created with that template will have altered margins. This can result in oddly formatted pages that leave one wondering what happened to a carefully prepared file.
The Normal.dot file can also be corrupted from various causes, notably Add-Ins. If Word will not open or close properly, this may be the cause.
If it appears that either of these two things has happened, the Normal.dot file can be deleted and Word will create a new copy with the default settings. It is a good idea to first save the suspected altered file as Normal.old, for example, rather than simply deleting it until it can be verified that this is the source of the problem. If customization of the Normal.dot file had been previously made, this will allow a person to recover those changes by using the Tools / Macro / Macros / Organizer options.
If some unwanted text or image keeps appearing when a new file is opened in Word, it is almost certain that the Normal.dot file has been accidentally changed.
The beauty of DOT files is that one can create a template, and name it xxx.DOT. This can then be opened as the blank page to be the background for specific uses, such as a letterhead, envelope, invoice, etc. DOT files contain a great deal of information, sometimes even small applications like Visual Basic Macros are added.
Other problems such as corrupted registries can affect DOT files the same way that they can affect DOC files. Liutilities.com or fileinfo.net offer a free registry scan and booster to fix errors. This is certified safe by Microsoft. DOT files may also be infected by viruses.