Create and customize Word template

Not working with Word templates yet? A shame, because you save a lot of time with such a model where all basic information, logos, address details, style features and cetera are ready. Save time with the tips in this article, in which we create a Word template and explain how to modify (existing) templates.

A template looks like a normal document with pre-formed formatting and structure, but it is write-protected. If you go File, New you will see templates for reports, calendars, resumes, letterheads, invitations, and so on … The choice is very wide. Users often start from professionally designed models because they usually look better than what they can imagine themselves.

Still, you would be very lucky if you found a template that corresponds 100% to what you need. You almost always have to adjust things: the structure, the color scheme, the text columns, the logo …

Fortunately, you can tinker with such a standard template and then save the modified version as a new template. Of course you can also create your own reusable Word template from scratch. By the way, a template is not all about the layout. You can provide each template with macros and toolbars. You can also add controls, drop-down lists, date pickers, and even custom dictionaries.

It is possible to post instructional text in which you give guidelines to everyone who uses the template. You can set protection to prevent someone from deleting or editing a control, and you can even protect the entire template.

To create a new document based on such a template, go in Word via File to the backstage screen and then select via New one of the provided templates. You click on To make and you download the document from the gallery. Then you can complete the document and apply changes. When you’re done, save it as a .doc or docx file for sharing and printing.

Save your own template

To create your own template, start from your own existing Word document or from a template that you have modified. Then you go to in the ribbon File and then you use the command Save as. Give the file a recognizable name and use the drop-down arrow to select the file type Word Template (* .dotx). If the document contains macros, choose Word template with macros enabled (* .dotm).

You will notice the path in the box Save to the Custom Office Templates folder. This is the default location if you want to save custom templates, but this does not mean that you cannot select another location. You can save these dotx and dotm files in any location you want.

For example, if you are working with different people, it is wise to keep such a template in a cloud repository for the members of the group to access.

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You can give such a template extra functionality by adding input controls such as list boxes, input boxes, drop-down lists, rich text boxes, etc. An input control is an element to control the input of data in a certain way. You place these controls from the tab Developers. In most cases you will not see this tab and you have to make it visible first.

Go to File and choose Options. Then you select Customize ribbon. Under the option Customize the ribbon do you use the Main tabs in the list on the right. Select the check box from the list Developers then click OK. Is the tab Developer in the picture then you go to the group Controls and click Design mode. From now on you can add the controls below in the template.

Date in Word template

You often use today’s date in a letter or report. If you want a template that automatically fills in today’s date, go to the tab Insert and there you choose in the box Text the button Date and time. You can recognize the button by the icon of the calendar with the clock. Then select the desired format.

This will cause Word to insert the current date, but not change it when you open this document again the next day. Therefore, tick in the dialog box Date and time the option Update automatically On. Save this document as a template and you will see that today’s date is immediately entered every time you open this template.

Like everyone else, you may have noted a discrepancy in a date at one time or another. For example, you write: ‘Next meeting: Friday, March 7, 2020’ while this is a Saturday. You can avoid such mistakes by inserting a date picker in the template. Place the cursor where you want to place this control. You can also use a text box to place this control in the right place.

Click in the tab Developers in the group Controls on Design mode and select the Date picker. Then click on Characteristics in the group Controls. In these properties you determine the way the date will be written such as 07/03/2020 or Saturday 7 March 2020… Click on OK to confirm.

List box and instructions

Another popular input control is a list box. A selection list ensures that the content added here is always standardized. Place the mouse pointer on the place where the selection list should be and select in the group Controls in front of Drop-down menu. Then click on Characteristics. In the box Drop-down list properties click the button Add. Then type in the box Display name the various options.

When you throw the template into the group, you may want to include instructions to make sure others use this template properly. Make sure the Design mode in the group Controls is enabled.

Then click on the content control for which you want to add instructions. From then on you can change the text of the placeholder. When you are done, click again Design mode to disable this function.

Protect template

Finally, to prevent someone from changing or removing a particular control or a group of controls from the template, you can secure them. Select the controls you want to lock and click the tab Developers in the group Controls on Grouping. Then you use the button Characteristics.

In the window Content control properties are you going to Lock. Then you have the choice. Either you select Content control cannot be deleted, or you choose Content cannot be edited. For example, if you use a disclaimer, this security ensures that this text remains unchanged.

When such a template is completely perfect, you naturally want to prevent others from accidentally screwing up your work. If you assign a password to the template, only those who know the password can edit the template. For that you have to go to the tab To check.

In the group To secure you choose Restrict editing. Click below Start enforcement on the option Yes, start enforcing security. Then type a password in the box Enter new password (optional) and then confirm the password.


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