If you frequently create documents that contain a lot of specialized formatting but don't always contain the same text, you can save yourself a considerable amount of time if you create Word templates to use as the basis of future documents. By using Word’s template feature, you can focus your concentration on the content of the document and leave the formatting up to the template.
For those who are unfamiliar with templates, a template is, simply put, a style guide for documents. A Word template can contain formatting, styles, boilerplate text, headers, footers, and macros, in addition to dictionaries, toolbars, and AutoText entries.
Before you create your Word template, it is a good idea to outline what you want to include in it. You can always go back and edit your template or make changes to elements in documents created from the template, but the little time you spend planning will save you more time in the long run. Here are some tips on what to include:
- If you're creating a Word template to use as a letter, insert a date field that will update automatically each time the template is opened.
- Again, if the template will be used to create letters, include your address and contact information.
- Headers and footers. Use fields or Autotext for information that may change but will always contain the same type of information (i.e., page numbers, document title, file path, etc.).
- Any text that will be included in all documents based on the template.
- Columns, margins, tabstops, endnotes, footnotes, etc.
- Macros. If you want to use specific macros with the document, include them with the template.
- If your document contains different regions with different formatting, but these regions will not be distinguishable on a blank page, use a descriptive name as placeholder text (i.e. Title, heading, body, or the like). When you open a new document based on the template, you can simply highlight the placeholder text and type over it; text entered in its place will contain the same formatting.
Once you have outline of what you want to include in the Word template and have created a blank document containing all the elements in the outline, you are ready to go on the next step, saving the document as a Word template.
Next: Saving Your Document as a Word Template
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