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Every Microsoft Word document is based upon a Word template. If you start a blank document, Word uses the template named 'Normal' (sometimes referred to as 'Normal dot dot', ie. 'Normal.dot', its full file name).
Starting a new document from an appropriate template is a much quicker way of working than opening an old document of the required appearance and then changing its content.
Also, significant savings in time and effort result when you come to revise the format of an existing document that is based upon a well thought out template. Instead of hacking through the document, heading-by-heading, paragraph-by-paragraph, making your alterations as you go, you can flip the document to a more appropriate template and let the template adjust the formatting for you.
These are some of the features you can include in your template:
If you are preparing long documents - contracts or reports, say - your templates might include:
If you have an appropriate template, then basing each new document upon that template should save you a lot of preparatory work.
Suites of templates shared by everyone in your business can ensure corporate style, even in documents prepared by relative novices in the use of Word.
But those are not the only advantages: templates can save you a lot of time in reformatting an existing set of documents.
For example, imagine you have many reports for internal consumption set in Times New Roman with Arial used for headings. Then you need to change the fonts when some of the reports are ready to go to to a client which likes them in a Humanist 777 font with double line spacing. You could manually change the styles, but a much quicker way would be to switch the documents from your own company template to one that you have devised for the specific client.
Templates can bring significant savings other than those made in the saving on the time and effort expended on creating and reformatting documents.
Take the example of an oil company, for a subsidiary of which DMW helped create a suite of templates for their letters, with compliments slips, memos, reports and forms.
Prior to DMW's involvement, each department and section head had their own letterhead and with comps preprinted on Conqueror paper.
Each promotion and office reshuffle meant a reprint and unused, now inappropriate, stationery going in the recycle bin. On one occasion we estimated 600 reams of preprinted 120gsm Conqueror were stacked ready for disposal after an office restructuring. That is a few Łks in paper alone, before adding the costs of design and printing.
Once our templates were in use, the only preprinting was of the company logo, in colour. The templates took care of the personalised information. This information was easily altered by office staff to reflect changes—no cause to throw away expensive stationery.
As our client came to appreciate the power of templates, as demonstrated through the new approach to letters and with comps, they abandoned all preprinted forms—invoices, orders, estimates and so on—in favour of template-based documents.
Templates in Microsoft Word can act as containers for macros—Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code. A macro automates a sequence of actions thus saving you from having to repeat the whole sequence step-by-step each time you need to complete it.
Passing others your template will give them access to the macros it contains.