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We've created this fabulous form template and now we'd like to share it with other people, either by giving them a copy of the form that they can fill out or by giving them access to the template so that they can create their own documents based on that template. There are two primary methods of distributing templates. One is to send it to someone by email and the other method is to post it somewhere where they can actually retrieve it. If we are going to email the document we have a couple of choices. If for example one of my co-workers says, would you send me a copy of the template so that I can keep it myself and create new documents based on it, then I'll email them the actual template.
If on the other hand, I need to send a copy of the document to someone so they can fill it out personally, I'm just as well-off to send them a copy of the Word document which I have in front of me. So if I have a colleague who says, could you send me this document so I can fill up my pledge form, then I would simply open the document or open a new copy of the document based on the template and do Save & Send and send it as an attachment so that they could open it, fill it out, and send it back to me. However, let's say I have a number of people in my office who are also going to be distributing these pledge forms.
I could share this with them by sending them the template. Here is the problem. Let's say I emailed this template and say "make as many of these as you want" to 15 people in my office. And then later this year the group of people who work at the foundation, employees who decide how we'll strengthen the communities where we live and work, say we're going to add another health initiative. Now I need to change the form. Easy enough for me to do. I developed it. However there are 15 copies of this form sitting out there and those are only the ones that I know about.
It might be that there are 30 copies of this form and so until I can track all of those down, I'll have users using the old form, offering the choices that don't include the newest updated choices. Because of this, it's best if I can set up a centralized form repository, a template resting spot, where every single person who wants to use these forms will simply go there, create a form based on the newest template, and keep going. They won't store the templates locally on their computer, so when I need to add that new health initiative to this pledge form, I simply change the one template that everyone uses from the template repository and everybody has a new template automatically.
To do this in Microsoft Word, we'll simply go create a new workgroup templates location and then we'll connect to it and tell other users to do the same. I'll choose File > Options. In the Word Options dialog box, I'll click the Advanced category and scroll all the way to the bottom and click this File Locations button. Now this is an interesting thing. This is actually saving the file locations not just for Word, but for Excel and PowerPoint as well.
So once I've set up this template location, we can share templates that were created in any of the Microsoft Office application. I'm going to choose Workgroup template. User templates by the way is where the template was stored when I saved it myself as a template. That's a location on my computer only accessible to me. Workgroup templates is going to be out on a network share that other people have permission to. I'm going to click the Modify button and now I need to go identify that network folder that already exists or that I need to set up.
If you want to work with your IT folks on this to set up permission, so it's a good idea. So while I navigate to my shared network location and then I'm going to create a new folder here called Workgroup Templates. Good enough name, easy enough name. And I'm going to click to open that. Now, I want to just stay here for a moment and give you a couple of thoughts about this. If I am the person who's in charge of templates for my workgroup, I am the template queen or template king where I live, then this Workgroup Templates folder should probably be set up so that it's read-only for most users and I'll be the person who owns it and will be posting new templates to it.
On the other hand if there are other people in my organization who also create templates that they want to share, I simply give them permission to also create and save templates in Word and Excel and PowerPoint in this location. That's set at the folder level, what are the permissions for the Workgroup Templates folder that I'm pointing people to. So I've chosen my folder, have or have not set permissions by working with my information technology group, and I'm going to say OK and notice that that Workgroup Templates folder is now listed here in my File Locations in Microsoft Word Options.
This is the same process that every person in your workgroup will need to go through once, only once, to be able to get to these templates. Let's just go ahead here and say OK and say OK again. Now I want to save this template in that workgroup folder so that other people can access it. So I'm going to say File > Save As. Now I could scroll up and choose Templates, but it doesn't really make a lot of sense because that takes me to my personal templates folder. Instead I need to go back to the location where I created the Workgroup Templates folder. Because I just did that, it shouldn't be hard to find.
It will be on my Recent Places list down at the bottom. Okay so I can just go open that and here's my folder. If I wish, I can create sub-folders in here. There's only one Workgroup Templates folder that I can use. However, I might want to have hundreds of templates in here because my entire workgroup is using it. We simply separate those by creating a folder for each of the groups of workgroup templates. So I am going to call this Forms and go ahead and press Enter.
Now I have a Forms folder in my Workgroup Templates. I'm going to save my pledge form as a template in the forms folder and say Save. I'm going to go ahead and exit Microsoft Word and start it all over again. So now, I am a new user in the office coming in to these workgroup templates and I want to choose File > New > My Templates and when I do, here are my personal templates, but here's my template that was saved in the workgroup template location.
One other thought. If you're going to be saving a lot of templates and don't want to have to navigate over and over again, it might be worth your time to simply say File > Open, open the Open dialog box and navigate your way back to the file folder that you created for Workgroup Templates, and then let's add it to the Favorites list here. Simply take it and drop it. So now when I want to go save a workgroup template it's as easy to get to as the Templates folder here in Microsoft Word 2010.
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