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Microsoft® Word Templates for Business

An introduction to the advantages of templates in the creation of Microsoft Word documents.

Last updated on 2020-05-26 by David Wallis.


A Word template is a type of Word document that contains elements of formatting, layout and content. You can call on a template to deliver these elements to a new document when you start writing it, thus saving you the time and effort in creating those elements afresh.

Each Microsoft Word document you create is associated with a Word template, even if you do not specifically make that association. Even as you start a blank document, Word makes an association for you — with the template known as the Normal template.

Features of a Word Template

These are some of the features you can include in your template:

If you’re preparing long documents — contracts or reports, say - your templates might include:

Advantages of Word Templates

Already mentioned, basing each new document upon a template will save you a lot of preparatory work. Here are four other advantages.

First Suites of templates shared by everyone in your business will ensure corporate style, even in documents prepared by relative novices in the use of Word.

Second By switching the template assigned to a document to an alternative one you can reformat the document in a couple of mouse clicks.

For example, imagine you have a Review template for internal drafting of a Monthly News Update document. It’s set in Times New Roman with Arial used for headings, and with very simple formatting. For publication you choose to customise the Update with different fonts, line spacing and other formatting tweaks.

The quick way to achieve the customisation is to switch this month's draft Update from the Review template to your Publication template.

Third Most businesses have forms for internal and external use. Set up a template for a form and you save on the cost of having it pre-printed.

Fourth You can have your template communicate with other applications in your business. For example, my Letter template dips into my Contacts database for name and address information.

This is a screen shot of the custom dialog box my Letter template presents when I start a new letter:

Custome 'New Letter' dialog box

The Contact combo box retrieves an alphabetical list of names from the database. Selecting one from the list retrieves the appropriate address and creates an Our Ref. for the letter.

Dialog box for new letter in Microsoft Word

I choose a salutation style from the Dear options, edit the address, if necessary, fill in the other boxes and click OK to have the information input into my letter document ready for me to type it.

Methods of Creating Word Templates

These are some of the methods of creating a new template:

Where to Find and Save Word Templates

To learn where your template files are stored, open a document — a blank one will do. Go to the File tab and from the side menu choose Options to display the Word Options dialog box. Now click on Save:

Location of templates in Microsoft Word

The entry under Default personal templates location points to your templates folder.

Telling Your New Document Which Template to Use

If you don't tell Word which template it should asign to a new document, Word will assign the Normal template. This is what you do to direct it otherwise:

  1. From the side menu on the File tab, choose New
  2. Under the heading New you'll see links like Office and Custom. Use these to navigate your folders of templates
  3. New document screen in Microsoft Word
  4. Double-click your template of choice to open a new document based on that template.

Templates and Macros

Templates in Microsoft Word can act as containers for macros — VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) 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.

Macros furnish the DMW's New Letter form illustrated above, and place the information in the form within the letter document itself.

Help With Your Word Templates

You may have templates that were created in a version of Word that is older than the one you are using now. Please email if you need these upgraded for you in order to take advantage of new features in Word.

Also, please contact me to discuss any aspect of training that would increase your Word users’ efficiency in the production and maintenance of any type of document.

Significant time savings in authoring, editing and formatting all types of documents — letters, specifications, reports, forms and so on.