As a small business owner you are probably always looking for ways to improve efficiency, whether you’re dealing with customer inquiries or developing reports. Here is a handy way to use the template feature within Microsoft’s ubiquitous word processing software, Word, to increase efficiency, consistency, and even save a little time while you’re at it.
Every time you start a new, blank document, you’re actually using a template. Word offers a number of premade templates to choose from, but they’re not really designed for business users. Instead, you can create your own custom templates. Here’s how.
How to create a Word template based off a current document
If you’ve created a document and would like to use the same layout and styling in other similar documents, you can turn the document into a template by following these steps:
- Open the document in a new window. Be sure that you’ve saved any changes to the final document.
- Now you need to update the document so that it is more like a “form” that you might fill out online. That is, instead of having an individual’s name and address in your template, you want to fill those spaces with indicators of what information should be placed there. For instance, you might use
and instead of “Jane Doe” and “1234 Main Street.” Note: don’t save the document at this point, as any changes will be made to your original version.
- Once you have made the updates, click File followed by Save As. Be sure to save the document in the Documents subfolder of the Libraries directory. This can be found on the left side of the Save As window.
- Give the document a name that matches its purpose. It’s a good idea, but not necessary, to put “template” in the title. For instance, you might use “Sales Invoice Template” or “Monthly Newsletter Template.”
- Finally, select Word Template from the Save as type field and click Save.
Your template will now show up as a selectable template when you start a new Word document. Click on My templates to access it. Be aware that whatever text and other content you have in the document when you create the template will be in every new document you create using the template.
If you realize you’ve made a mistake, open the template, make the changes and select Save As. Instead of entering a new file name, locate the original template, and click on it. Word will automatically apply the name of the file you’ve clicked. Press Save and confirm the overwrite. You can use this method to any template, including the premade ones. If you do make changes to a premade template, the updated version will be located in the My templates section.
There are many ways you can tweak Word to meet your needs, and templates are a great way to ensure similar documents will look the same, while saving you time. If you’d like to learn more ways you can customize Word, or any other program in the Office 365 suite, please give us a call.