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Document Numbering and Tracking

An indication of what can be achieved using Word templates to keep a track of all documents produced within a business.

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

Custom Templates

For clients, I create suites of Microsoft Word templates — letters, faxes, press releases, memos, contracts and so on — in pursuit of corporate style for all documents.

For many clients an important feature to have incorporated into a template is the automatic stamping of every document with a unique reference. Whatever name the user chooses for a document when they save it, the document always has this reference appended to the file name. Any document can be located on the network simply by its reference.

The template also ensures that the reference appears in the printed document so that a printout can always be traced back to the folder in which it’s saved.

Word's New document screen

Another popular feature is to have the template direct the document file to an appropriate folder when the user saves their work. This ensures that the departmental and workgroup filing systems are adhered.

For documents requiring contact names and addresses, templates can be made to link to user and workgroup address books. Microsoft Word Templates For Business is an example of this applied to a letter template that draws name and address information stored in a database.

Value to Client

This is a summary of some of the advantages of using Word templates as described above:

Links to Databases

I’ve worked with clients to link their Word templates to information stored in their databases. Links provide any information a template is to include in a new document to save the author having to type it.

When the author saves the letter, the template updates the database with who-wrote-to-whom and on which date, and with a document number — such as that appearing as Our Reference of the letter.

As illustrated on Microsoft Word Templates for Business, I’ve incorporated this feature into my own letter template.

“Anyone with an inbox knows what I'm talking about. A dozen emails to set up a meeting time. Documents attached and edited and reedited until no one knows which version is current. Urgent messages drowning in forwards and cc’s and spam.”

Ryan Holmes, Canadian businessman.