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A blank document in Word has a default font, font size, margins, styles, and more. If your personal preferences don't match Microsoft Word's basic document, you can change the defaults. There are two ways to do this depending on your needs. If you want every single document from now on to use your preferred elements, you can change the normal .dotx template that every new document is based on. If you want to set the defaults for a specific type of document, take advantage of Word's templates. Let's start by looking at the templates.
Maybe I produce different documents with different needs. My reports may require specific spacing, fonts and margins. But my customer service correspondence such as this one also contains letterhead and boilerplate text. So we can use this basic layout to set up our document defaults. Notice some things about this file. My logo and my company name are up in the header, not in the document itself. And my date is set up, so that it automatically updates, that way I won't have to change the date every time I use the file.
Now do a Ctrl+Home to move your cursor up to the top of the document, and I am going to save this as a template. A fast way of doing a Save As is simply to press the F12 key on your keyboard and the Save As dialog box opens, where it says Save as type: Word Document, click on it and pull down to Word Template. Now on some computers, it will allow you to save it where you want to. On others, as soon as you choose Template, it will go to Word's default location for templates. Personally I prefer that, especially from sharing my template with other people.
In this case, it's going to my Exercise Files folder and that's fine, so I'll click Save. Now, close this document and open up Windows Explorer if you need to so that you can see our files. So here you can see our original 01_10_template, but then this one has a little orange bar at the top. And when I hold my cursor over it, it tells me that it's Microsoft Word Template as opposed to the first one, which is a Microsoft Word Document. Now if I double click on the template, it doesn't open the actual template file.
Look at the file name, it says Document1. So this is a completely blank document based on that template and so when I go to save this, it won't overwrite that file, it will create a whole new blank one. And it's already populated with today's date and all of my boilerplate text ready to go. Let's say you want some of your personal preferences applied to every single new document. Let's start with a blank document, hold down the Ctrl key and tap N for New. So we are going to start with a blank file and then customize it.
The default font is Calibri, 11. Let's say I am not a fan of Calibri, 11, I would much rather use Tahoma, 12. I'll click on my Fonts and I can type TA and it will jump me down to the bottom of the fonts list and there's Tahoma. If it wasn't Tahoma that I wanted, I could scroll down a little bit further. But I'll go ahead and click on Tahoma. And then I'll change my Font Size to 12. Go up to the Font group and click on the launcher button in the right-hand corner, and here I can see Tahoma, 12.
In the bottom left-hand corner, there's a button that says Set As Default, I'll click on it and it gives me a choice, do I want to make this change for This document only or All documents based on the normal template, which will move it into the future, and I'll choose that second option and click OK. Now that same Set As Default button can be found in many windows, such as the Paragraph dialog box. So I'll go up to the Paragraph group and click on the launch button in the corner. Now Word 2010's defaults are different than they were in Word 2007.
By default you have a 10 point paragraph space after and your Line spacing is 1.15. At first people aren't used to it and they don't like it and so your instinct may be to just come in here and change it automatically, but I actually recommend sticking with the new defaults for a little while and see if you get used to it, before you take this step. Let's say I'm in school and all my documents need to be double-spaced. Maybe, I'll change the Line spacing from 1.15 to a Double space and then I'll click on the Set As Default button, again it asks This document only or All documents based on the normal template, and so I do want to edit the template, so I'll click OK.
Now if you want to permanently change a document's margins, for example to accommodate your preprinted letterhead, go to the Page Layout tab, click on Margins and go down to Custom Margins. I'll make my Top Margin 2.5, so that my printing will always start lower on the paper and my preprinted letterhead will look wonderful. I'll do the same thing, click Set As Default. Now this time my dialog box looks a little different, but I'll go ahead and say Yes. And notice now my cursor jumps down 2.5 inches. Last but not least, let's go to the Home Ribbon and maybe you don't like the default heading style and you'd like to change that.
Right click on it and then click Modify. I'll change my color of my heading from blue down to red. And at the bottom of this dialog box, we have the same choices, again it just looks a little different, Only in this document or New documents based on this template, I'll select the second option and click OK. Start a blank document again from scratch, hold down the Ctrl key and tap N. I'm in a new document. Notice that it defaults at Tahoma, 12, my cursor is starting 2.5 inches down and my heading is red automatically.
So if you spend time with every single new document setting it up to your individual needs and personal taste, instead create a template or change the default normal .dotx template, you'll never have to repeat your setup again.
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