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Verbatim Manual
Verbatim version 6 is coming Fall 2022 with major new features, bug fixes, and security enhancements. Make sure to upgrade when it comes out. No specific date, I’m working as fast as I can.


​​Verbatim is a template for Microsoft Word designed to facilitate paperless debating. It’s in use by the vast majority of high school and college debate programs around the US, and has been in active development for over a decade.

Verbatim comes with a built-in tutorial to teach you how to use it. But if you’re looking for more advanced instruction and tips, check out the manual below.

If performing a manual installation, make sure to read the section on Security


Windows – Verbatim 5.1+ will work with Word 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, or Office 365
Mac – Verbatim 5.2+ will work with Mac Word 2011, 2016, 2019, or Office 365

Verbatim requires a “full” version of Microsoft Office (Office 365 or standalone), which includes support for VBA macros. It will not work with the Office Starter Pack, Office Home and Student, Office RT (e.g. for the Surface tablet), Office for iPad, Office for Android, or the version of Office in the Microsoft App Store.


Problems with installation? Check the FAQ.

The automatic installer for your operating system should work for the majority of people. If you’re using a school computer that disallows installing programs, or have other issues with the installer, you can use the instructions below to perform a manual installation. Then, make sure to read the section on Security.


First, download the latest “Standalone” template (Debate.dotm) from the downloads page. Make sure that the file is saved as “Debate.dotm” and not “Debate (1).dotm” if you have accidentally downloaded more than one copy.

Then, move Debate.dotm to your Templates folder, usually located at:
c:\Users\[Your Name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

That’s it, Verbatim is installed! For ease of use, create a “shortcut” to Debate.dotm on your desktop (not a copy of the file itself). Optionally, you can also place additional Verbatim extensions like Timer.exe or NavPaneCycle.exe in the same Templates folder.


First, download the latest “Standalone” template (Debate.dotm) and the latest Script file (Verbatim.scpt) from the downloads page. Make sure that the files are saved e.g. as “Debate.dotm” and not “Debate (1).dotm” if you have accidentally downloaded more than one copy.

To perform a manual installation on the Mac, you just need to put Debate.dotm and Verbatim.scpt in the appropriate folders. Note that these folders may be hidden by default, so you can use Cmd+Shift+G to go directly to the locations listed before.

If you’re using Mac Word 2011, Debate.dotm should be placed in:
~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/My Templates

If you’re using Mac Word 2016, Debate.dotm should be place in:
~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/User Content/Templates

Verbatim.scpt should be placed in:
~/Library/Application Scripts/

Note that you may need to manually create the folder for Verbatim.scpt – be careful to use the exact punctuation and capitalization above!


Because Verbatim is a Word template which relies on Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Macros to function, how you install and run Verbatim has implications for the security of your Office installation.

Verbatim itself is completely safe. It is not a virus, and it contains no malicious code. It is completely open source and has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times with no security issues.

However, depending on how you set up your macro security settings in Word while using Verbatim, you may open yourself to other people’s malicious code. Ultimately, balancing ease of use and security is up to you, and you should be informed about the tradeoffs.

There are 3 types of security settings used by Microsoft Word which impact how you use Verbatim. You can change all 3 settings under File – Options – Trust Center – Trust Center Settings.

Previous versions of the Verbatim installer defaulted to changing these settings for you as part of the installation process unless you opted out. Now, the installer is “secure by default,” so you’ll have to manually opt-in to changing these settings, whether using the Verbatim installer or making these changes yourself.


Macro security & VBOM Access

By default, Word enables “Macro Security” to prevent running macro code by people you don’t know. You may see a warning like this when opening Verbatim:

This requires you to click “Enable Content” on every file containing macros (e.g. every Verbatim file you open). That gets old fast, so many people turn their macro security to “low,” i.e. “Enable all macros” to make this prompt go away. This is more convenient, but means Word will run any macros someone sends to you, even if they have embedded a malicious non-Verbatim macro into a file. If you choose to run Word with “low” macro security, make sure you trust any person sending you files.

Additionally, you can choose to select “Trust Access to the VBA project object model.” This setting is necessary for some Verbatim macros to function, such as the “Verbatimize/Always On” feature. The downside is that someone sending you malicious code could potentially insert macros into your “normal” Word template while this option is enabled.


Protected View

Word has another layer of security enabled by default called “Protected View.” When enabled, you may see warnings like this:

Again, this would require you to click the “Enable Editing” button on every Verbatim file you open that you didn’t create yourself. Because that can be frustrating, many users choose to disable Protected View:

The downside of enabling Protected View is, again, that someone could send you malicious non-Verbatim macro code that would run without any security prompts.

Bottom line, balancing the security and ease of use of your Verbatim installation is up to you. The Verbatim installer and some functions inside Verbatim may give you options to change these settings in an automated way, but you will need to decide for yourself which ones to enable or disable.



I’ve heard the built-in timer has a bitcoin miner?

No timer is included in the most recent versions of Verbatim (v5.1.1). A brand new cross-platform open source timer will be released alongside Verbatim 6.

In earlier versions of the installer package (PC only), Verbatim bundled the “Debate Synergy” timer v. 1.5 created by Alex Gulakov as part of the Debate Synergy template and released for free under the GPL 3. That software was released in 2010 and the version that was included in Verbatim has not been modified since that time. I had nothing to do with its creation.

There was at one point an unsubstantiated rumor that the Synergy timer contained a bitcoin miner. I have no evidence that this rumor has any basis in fact. Alex Gulakov has also contacted me to say that this claim is false. He provided a link to the following code repository:

If you have an older PC version and remain concerned about this, you can uninstall the Synergy timer by deleting Timer.exe in your Templates folder.

I'm getting a message that Debate.dotm doesn't exist after installation.

You’re most likely using the version of Office in the Microsoft App Store, which doesn’t fully support VBA Macros. Try installing a full version of Office.

Mac – My document keeps jumping to the top of the page

This is due to a bug in Mac Word, not in Verbatim. It occurs if you’re in Web view, with the Navigation Pane turned on. The easiest fix is to switch to Draft view, or turn off the Navigation Pane. You can set your default view to Draft in the Verbatim settings.

Mac – The Verbatim/Add-Ins toolbar doesn't open with older documents.

This is a problem/limitation with how Mac Word handles global templates, not a problem with Verbatim.
The bottom line is there is very little you can do – if you want Verbatim to work on all your documents, consider using Boot Camp/Paralells. PC Word doesn’t have this problem.
There are some things you can try, but your mileage may vary. Mac Word’s support for global templates is very spotty, and it’s unlikely to work perfectly with files produced on other computers, especially files
originally produced on a PC. The usual workaround is to open a new Verbatim doc, then cut and paste the contents.
Other things you can try:
1) Make sure the Verbatim.scpt file is installed in this directory:
~/Library/Application Scripts/
2) Try deleting your Verbatim.plist file in ~/Library/Preferences, and
your Normal.dotm template in:
~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/User Content/Templates
Then, repeat the “Verbatimize Normal” steps in the Verbatim Settings.
If your hard drive isn’t named the standard “Macintosh HD” you can also
try changing it back to the default and see if that helps.

My Debate ribbon is collapsing into sections

You have “Touch Mode” turned on in Word. Turn it off by following the directions here:

What versions of Word work with Verbatim?

Windows – Verbatim 5.1+ will work with Word 2010, Word 2013, or Word 2016.
Mac – Verbatim 5.2+ will work with Mac Word 2011 or Mac Word 2016.
Verbatim requires a “full” version of Microsoft Office (Office 365 or regular), which includes support for VBA macros. It will not work with the Office Starter Pack, Office Home and Student, Office RT (e.g. for the Surface tablet), Office for iPad, Office for Android, or the version of Office in the Microsoft App Store.

Why does Gmail mark my Mac Verbatim files as having a virus?

Gmail recently changed their virus scanner, and are now reporting false positives for files produced in Mac Verbatim. There is unfortunately nothing I can do – Gmail is in complete control of what they mark as a virus and what they don’t. The files being sent do not contain any macros or code (all code lives inside the master template on your computer), so it’s impossible for them to have a virus. That is, there’s no way to modify Mac Verbatim to avoid this issue.
Your best bet is to use something other than email to transfer your files, or to copy and paste the contents of your verbatim file into a new non-Verbatim blank Word document before sending via email.

Will Verbatim work on my tablet?

Only if your tablet runs a full version of Microsoft Office with support for VBA macros.
That means it won’t work on an iPad or an Android tablet, but should work on a Surface Pro. It also won’t work on a Surface RT – the version of Office that runs on the RT doesn’t include VBA macro support.

Will Verbatim work on a Chromebook?

No. Verbatim requires a full version of Word with support for VBA macros, which currently doesn’t run on a Chromebook.

Will Verbatim work in OpenOffice or Pages?

No, Verbatim is built as a template for Microsoft Word, so requires a full version of Word to function.

How do I completely uninstall Verbatim?

Just run the uninstaller from Add/Remove programs. If you were using Verbatim’s “Always On” mode, you can use the “Unverbatimize Normal Template” button in the Verbatim Settings before running the uninstaller.
Alternately, to perform a manual uninstall on Windows you just need to delete the Debate.dotm file and your Normal.dotm file from your Templates folder. Word will automatically regenerate a new Normal.dotm file. The Templates folder is usually located at:
c:\Users\[Your Name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates
On the Mac, you can uninstall by deleting Debate.dotm and Normal.dotm from your My Templates folder.
If you’re using Mac Word 2011, the files are located at:
~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/
and in the My Templates subfolder.
If you’re using Mac Word 2016, they’re in:
~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/User Content/Templates
You can also delete the Verbatim.scpt file (if present) in:
~/Library/Application Scripts/
You can use Cmd+Shift+G to go directly to the folders above.

Mac – I can't run the Verbatim Installer.

Usually, this is because your security settings prohibit running installers from the internet. To fix, try running the Verbatim installer package, then go to the Apple menu – System Preferences – Security & Privacy. You’ll see a notice asking whether to allow installation to proceed.
Alternately, you can follow these instructions to change your system settings to allow installation.

Mac – The Setup Wizard opens every time I open Verbatim.

If the Setup Wizard opens every time you open Word, it’s likely due to a permissions issue with your Verbatim preferences file, usually from a previous installation.
To fix, just delete your Verbatim.plist file, which is usually located at ~/Library/Preferences/Verbatim.plist
If your Library folder is hidden by default, you can press:
Cmd + Shift + G to open the “Go” menu, and paste:
Then, delete Verbatim.plist

Why do I get a virus alert when I download Verbatim?

Some virus scanners (especially Microsoft and Norton/Symantec) may give a false positive virus alert when downloading or trying to use Verbatim. Recently, Microsoft in particular has gotten much more aggressive at flagging false positives with files that contain VBA macros.

Don’t worry, it’s completely safe – there is nothing harmful in Verbatim. False positives are just due to auto-detection rules when an installer contains a file with macros. If you’re still concerned, Verbatim is open source – you can read every line of code in it if you’re so inclined or perform a manual installation rather than using the installer package.

Each new release of Verbatim is submitted to antivirus companies for approval, so the alerts usually go away.
In the interim, you’re best off using your antivirus settings to “whitelist” Verbatim. You may need to reinstall Verbatim after doing so.