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19 Use a Template

tick.jpg Before You Begin

arrow.jpg See Also

2.gif Create a New Document

37.gif Use AutoCorrect to Improve Your Typing

16.gif About Styles, Themes, and Templates

Templates almost make you think you’re cheating when you want to create great-looking documents because they are so simple and they do so much. Just a couple of mouse clicks puts ready-made, preformatted documents at your fingertips. You still must supply the details because a template is only an outline (also called a skeleton or model) of a document, but by using a template, you hardly need to apply any formatting or design considerations to the documents you create.

Starting with a completely blank document might be a good idea for simple, text-only letters, and you’ll certainly do a lot of that. But for all else, start with a template if one exists that you want to use. If you find yourself creating rather complexly formatted documents routinely, you’ll create your own templates, so you must generate all the formatting and document layout just the first time.

Templates contain formatting for complete documents. All the Microsoft Office programs support templates. If you create a new document without specifying a template, Word uses the Default template style to create the empty document and to set up initial font, margin, and other formatting-related details.

square_1.gif Request a Template

Click your Office button and select New. (You can also press Alt+F, N.) Word displays the New Document window.

In the window’s left pane is a scrollable list of template categories that contain several templates in each category. When you select a template category such as Business Cards, Microsoft looks online (and on your computer if any templates from that category are stored there) and displays a list of business card templates from which you can select.

square_2.gif Specify Which Template to Use

Scroll until you locate a template you want to start with, click to select it, and then click Create. Word displays that template.

square_3.gif Type the Details

Sometimes data will be filled in, so in the case of some business card templates, you will have to change the name and contact information. Other templates will not contain specific sample data or might offer placeholder text such as “[Type Last Name Here]” that you can replace with your specific information. Finish the document by filling in all the details.

square_4.gif Get Extra Template Help

Some templates are complex, such as the contract templates available online from your New Document window.

When you select some templates, Microsoft might display a window that explains more of the template’s purpose and how to use it. Also, you may see an Internet link you can click to see additional information about the template or company that provided it.

square_5.gif Create a New Template

Feel free to create your own templates! For example, you might write many memos, so you can create a memo template. Create the model for the template, including the title, recipient, and subject areas, but don’t add memo-specific text. Keep the text general. Feel free to include instructions to the user of this template, such as “[Type Body of Memo Here].”

When you click your Office button and select Save As, click to open the Save as Type drop-down list and select Word Template from the available items. Word saves your document as a template and uses the .dot filename extension to distinguish the template file from a regular Word document.

When you subsequently create a new file and click the My Templates button, you’ll see your template from the list that appears.

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