Never replace the normal.dot file. Delete it and Word makes a new one next time it runs. I decline from writing all we know about this file. Research it on google.
Also another lesson is Word as the email editor has be trouble over the years. Why not avoid trouble?
Dell did not write Office 2003 and Microsoft didn't correct a few issues from 2000 to 2003 and I still have the same issue in 2007 so I don't expect a cure for your issue yet. But I will share the common cure for the normal.dot (delete it) and how to not use Word as the email editor for more stable operations.
Periodically when creating an email, a dialog box pops up saying Word has stopped working as my email editor. (It then uses Outlook's email editor.) In addition, I cannot view anything in any Word document. Word will open and the toolbars appear; however, the document is blank/not there.
Under instruction from Dell, I have replace the .dot in hopes that the template was corrupted. This has obviously not solved the problem. Dell believes the only fix is to reformat my hard drive. (I'd sooner hand write a reply to all letters addressed to Santa.)
I am running Office 2003, Vista Home on a Dell inspirion.