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Creating New Files

When you click the Office button and choose New in an Office 2007 program, the New Document, New Workbook, or New Presentation dialog box opens (the exact name varies depending on the Office program in use). As Figure 3.2 illustrates, these dialog boxes are well organized and fairly self-explanatory.

Figure 3.2

Figure 3.2 Every Office program except OneNote offers a variation of this dialog box, which gives you options for creating a new blank file or one based on a template.

In each Office program, the New dialog box is divided into three vertical sections. On the left is a category list that allows you to filter the list of available templates, which in turn appear in the center section. The pane on the right shows a full-page preview of the template selected in the center pane. Use the search box above the center pane to find a template that contains the search term in its name or description.

The choices available in the Templates list are similar in all three file-based Office programs:

  • Blank and Recent—The Blank Document/Workbook Presentation option creates a new file using the default template for that program. This category also includes the last few templates you've used when creating new documents in that program, on the theory that you might want to create another one just like the previous one.
  • Installed Templates—This list shows all templates for the current program that are installed on your computer. The templates in this list are stored along with the program files in the Microsoft Office\Templates subfolder and are available to all user accounts on your computer.
  • Installed Themes—You'll find this option in PowerPoint only; it has the same effect as creating a new blank presentation and then applying a theme from the Design tab.
  • My Templates...—This option opens a dialog box like the one shown in Figure 3.3. Its contents include all templates you have created and saved or downloaded from Microsoft Office Online. This list of templates is stored in your personal profile and is not shared with other users of your computer.
    Figure 3.3

    Figure 3.3 Templates you save or download are stored in your personal profile and are available for use via this dialog box.

  • New From Existing...—The last choice in the list gives you the option to turn any document into an instant ad hoc template. Browse to the document you want to use as your model and then click Create New. The Office program opens a copy of the selected file without disturbing the original; give it a name and you're ready to get to work.

Creating and Saving Your Own Templates

The default collection of Office templates is stored in a subfolder that corresponds to the system's current language settings; on a default U.S. English installation, this is %programfiles%\Microsoft Office\Templates\1033. All users of the current system see these templates. Each user's custom templates are stored in the location specified for User Templates. By default, this is %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates.

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If you're having trouble finding templates that you've saved, see "Putting Templates in Their Place" in the "Troubleshooting" section at the end of this chapter.

Although you can manage the contents of template folders in an Explorer window, the easiest and safest way to make new templates available to an Office program is to save the file in Template format. After creating the Word document, Excel workbook, or PowerPoint presentation that you want to use as a template, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Office button and then click Save As.
  2. From the Save as Type drop-down list, choose Word Template, Excel Template, or PowerPoint Template. The dialog box displays the contents of the Templates folder in your user profile.
  3. To add the new template to an existing tab in the New dialog box, click Templates in the Favorite Links list and then click the matching folder. To create a new tab, click the New Folder button and add a folder with the name you want the tab to use. If you don't select a subfolder here, your new template will appear on the My Templates tab in the New dialog box.
  4. Type a name for the template and click Save.

Downloading Templates from Office Online

At the bottom of the Templates list is a long series of categories representing templates available from the Microsoft Office Online website. Because this list draws its content directly from the web, it requires an Internet connection to work properly.

To browse through all available choices in a particular category, click the category name; in some cases, as in the calendars shown in Figure 3.4, you might have to select a subcategory first.

Figure 3.4

Figure 3.4 The Office Online template collection offers a particularly rich collection of ready-made calendars.

Before you can download and use an Office Online template, you have to go through a validation process that verifies that your copy of Office is not pirated. After you successfully pass the validation test, you can download the template you selected.

The Office Online collection is interesting because it includes templates created by other Office users, not just those from Microsoft. If you'd prefer to hide templates created by other users, click the Hide Customer Submitted Templates button just above the contents pane.

Templates available from Office Online are also rated by users, giving you another option to help you make your selection. The ratings (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars) are displayed in the preview pane for each template. A button above the templates list lets you sort by rating instead of alphabetically.

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