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Word offers several ways to create a letter. You could simply open a blank document window and start typing like I've done here or if you wanted a fancier look you could use the Word Document Gallery to choose one of several pre- formatted letterhead templates. Let's take a look at how this works. In Word, I'm going to pull down the File menu and choose New from Template or press Shift+Command+P. Word brings up the Word Document Gallery. Now, we could scroll through all the templates that are in here, but there is a quicker way.
We can click Stationery under Print Layout View and it will display only Stationery Templates, which are basically letters and envelopes. The one I want to work with is called the Plaza Letter. So I'll select that. Over here on the right-hand side, you could set options for it ,including the colors, just pick a color theme, and the fonts. You could pick a different collection of fonts. I'm going to leave this set as default and I do want to point out that if you're not seeing this pane, you can click this button up here to hide or display it.
Once you've got this set the way you like, click Choose. Word creates the document, providing whatever information it has such as your company name and address. In this particular document, it put my company name up here. I could zoom in a little bit to see it better. So, it's up here on the header and if I scroll down, this information down here in the footer is my company address and phone numbers and all this other information that I've provided. Now, you might wonder how Word knows this information.
The way it knows it is because it's in the User Information pane of Word Preferences. To set this information up for yourself, pull down the Word menu, choose Preferences or press Command+Comma, and then click the User Information button. And what you can do here is type in your name and your initials, the company name, your address, phone number, email address, all this information. Word will use this in templates when it needs to. If you make changes in there, be sure to click OK to save them.
Now it's your turn to do some work. Your job is to replace placeholder text with real text. You want to just select the placeholder, for example the date up here, and then type in the new text. You can do that for each field in the document. The recipient name and title, if there is a title, and then just go through each one and just fill it in with some information.
If there's a field that you don't need, you could just select it and press Delete. Make sure you get the recipient name in here and you can put your title in here as well. Now, the whole middle of the document is placeholder text. So you'd select it, press Delete, and then start typing. You get the idea. Now if you have trouble dealing with the placeholder text, you can use the Letter Wizard to fill in most of that stuff for you.
The Letter Wizard takes templates to the next level. It enables you to choose a template to get the overall style of the letter and then it prompts you for the information you need to include. When you click OK, it puts that information into the template. All you do is provide the body text and you're done. So let's give this a try. We'll pull down the Tools menu and choose Letter Wizard, and you'll see the Letter Wizard appears. The way you use the Letter Wizard is you select these buttons one at a time and then you provide the information you need in each field.
Now, it knows that we currently have a document type displayed, but we don't have to use the same one. We could choose a different one from here. So maybe I want to use the, let's scroll down a little bit more, maybe we want to use the Forefront Letter. So I could select that. You can then choose a letter style. It could be Full block, Modified block, you could look in here and see what it looks like, or Semi-block. I'm going to go with Full block. If you want the date to appear, make sure that top checkbox is turned on and you've typed in the date.
You can use this menu here to change the date format. This option here enables you to include the header and the footer with the page design. What that means is that this little block up here and then the footer with the information in the bottom of the footer, with this turned on that'll appear. If you turn that off, that won't be included in the letter. If you're using pre-printed letterhead, you would turn this option on and then you'd tell Word how far the letterhead came down into the top of the document. That doesn't apply to us, so we can turn that off.
For recipient, you would click on the Recipient button and then you can either use your address book to find somebody. You can just pick anybody in here. I've inserted that person in here, or you can type the information in. Word will also keep track of the last bunch of people that you used this for and it'll display it in a menu here. That's not working now, because it's the first one we've done. For the salutation, you could choose the type of salutation you want. Informal, just the first name, Formal, Business, or Other. I'll use Informal.
Next, I'll click Other Elements and I can put other lines into this document. For example, if I wanted to put a reference line in here, I can select different options from here and then type more information in. So I've typed in Marketing Proposal, and you could do that for any or all of these fields. If you want to send courtesy copies to someone else, you can click this button here and you can choose one or more people to add courtesy copies to. So, I'll just put these two people here and close this.
Next, you can have your sender information. If the sender is not you, you can enter the information in here or you can also use the address book. Now, the sender is me. So I'll just put myself in here. You can also specify what kind of closing you want. So it could be Sincerely, Thank you, Cordially, whatever you like. Maybe I will do Best wishes. Then I can include my job title if I want, just type that in. Every time I add something to this, it'll come down to the bottom here.
I'm not going to put my company name in, because that should be included automatically. You can put the weiter or typist's initials, this is kind of an old throwback to the old days, and if you have enclosures, you can say how many you've got. Now, when you click OK, what it does is it creates this letter and I'll zoom back out so you can see it. It's used that letterhead. It's got the address information in here, and it's got the name of the person it's going to. The opening, the body letter it took from the last one we did, and then the closing and some other information.
Now, what I want to point out here is that the formatting of this is not quite right. There's a lot of extra spacing in here and that's just the way Word does this. If you wanted to clean this up, you might want to strip out the paragraph marks and put them in as line breaks. So for example, there's too much space in here. What I can do is I can click in front of the address, press Delete, and then if I press Shift+Return, I get a new line without a new paragraph and I can do that again here. That eliminates all the extra spacing that you might have in here.
So, as you can see the Letter Wizard isn't perfect, but you can edit its results to get a document that looks the way you want it to. Whether it's worth the bother of dealing with the Wizard's forms and then modifying it afterwards is really up to you. In general, Word's letter templates are handy for creating attractive letters that take full advantage of Word's styles and formatting features. You might find them useful when a plain letter just isn't interesting enough.
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