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Creating New Files

When you use the New File task pane or New dialog box to select from available templates in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, Office builds the tabbed dialog box on the fly from two (and, in some cases, three) sources:

  • 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 C:\Program Files\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. On a Windows 98/Me machine with user profiles enabled, this is C:\Windows\Profiles\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates; on a Windows 2000/XP machine, it's C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates. The actual location can be changed in Word's File Locations dialog box, accessible by choosing Tools, Options, and, on the File Locations tab, clicking User Templates and then Modify.

  • If you've used Word's File Locations dialog box to specify a Workgroup Templates folder, Office displays templates from this location in the New dialog box as well. If a template in the Workgroup Templates location and one in the User Templates location have the same name, the Office program displays and uses only the one from the User Templates location.


The default Office installation does not install all available templates; instead, you'll find shortcuts to some templates in the task pane and New dialog box. The first time you use one of these templates, Office attempts to install the supporting files. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint templates are covered in Chapter 18, "Using Styles, Templates, and Themes"; Chapter 21, "Excel Essentials"; and Chapter 28, "PowerPoint Essentials," respectively.


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.

For more details on how to install templates and other Office components, see "Adding and Removing Office Features," p. 1069.

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. Choose File, Save As.

  2. From the Save As Type drop-down list, choose Document Template (Word), Template (Excel), or Design Template (PowerPoint). The dialog box displays the contents of your User Templates folder.

  3. To add the new template to one of the existing tabs, click the Create New Folder button and add a folder with the same name as the existing tab. If you want to create a custom tab for the New File task pane and New dialog box, specify a new folder name. If you don't select a subfolder here, your new template will appear under General templates on the New File task pane or on the General tab of the New dialog box.

  4. Type a name for the template and click Save.

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