Join Aaron Quigley for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating assignment templates, part of Office for Students.
As students, it's very important to make sure we have a properly formatted paper. One way we could always make sure that our papers are properly formatted is to take some time and do it correct once, and then create what's called a custom template. When you first open up Microsoft Word, you have a template browser. On the left-hand side, there's a spot for My Templates. Currently this section's empty. In this video we're going to talk talk about how we can format a research paper to have all the proper elements. And then save it as a template. That way in all future classes, I can simply open up My Template, and already have a pre-formatted paper to start with.
To get started, let's go ahead and open a regular Word document. The first thing I notice is that my margins need to be adjusted. Most professors and instructors are going to want you to have a one inch by one inch margin. Microsoft Office by default creates a document with a one and a quarter inch margins on the left and the right. Now this may seem like a nice thing, because it's going to make your paper look longer. Some professors and instructors are very strict about the actual margins on a paper. To make sure you don't get graded down, let's go ahead and move those margins back to one inch all around. We can do this by coming up to the blue section in the margins and double clicking.
This will go ahead and open up our Margin Dialog Box, and we can go ahead and use the down arrow next to Left and Right to reduce these margins to one inch. I'll go ahead and click the OK button. Now that our margins are set, let's go ahead and add a really basic paper header. I'm going to use my name. The date, I'm just going to put the word date to remind me to replace it. And now I can go ahead and add the class information. Now if you want, you can create a custom template for each of your classes and refresh them every quarter or semester. So for example, if I was taking Journalism 101, and that was being taught by Dr. Miller I might go ahead and format this to say Journalism 101 with Dr. Miller.
Now every single time I open this, I need to make sure to go and change that date. So, one thing I'm going to do to remind myself is I'm going to go ahead and highlight the word date. I'm going to make it red in color. Now that I've got a heading done, I am also going to add a couple spaces, and go ahead and write title. This is a very simple way that you can start any paper, with your name, the date, and the class. A little bit of space. You can go ahead and put your paper title in. And then you're going to have some space again, and you'll actually start the paper. Now, I'm just putting text here as a place holder. I also want to remind myself to indent the start of the paper.
So, I'm going to go ahead and put that indent in. I have a title section and I have the start of the paper indented. What I'd like to do is go ahead and format the header and footer sections. To access the header sections, I'm going to put my cursor up in the header until I see the Small Header icon appear, and I'll go ahead and double click. When I'm in my header section, a great practice is to put your last name followed by the page number in the upper right hand corner. This way, as a professor's going through and grading your papers, he'll always know that it's your paper, as well as the correct page order. To do this I'm going to go ahead and click the Right Justification icon in the ribbon.
I'm going to type out my last name, put a dash, and then in the Header and Footer Menu, which is currently being highlighted purple since I'm in the header and footer, I'm going to go ahead and add the page number. Now it just puts a number one in there because I'm on the first page. However, because this is a page number placeholder, as I continue to add to this document, more and more pages will become available. I'm going to go and click the Close button. So there we have the start of a very basic paper layout. At this point, what I'd like to do is go ahead and save this as a template. To do that, I'm going to click on File in the upper left hand corner, and instead of choosing Save, I'm going to choose Save As.
Here, I have the opportunity to choose where as well as the format. The first thing I want to change is the format. I'd like to come down and save this not as a Word document, but as a Word template. You'll notice there's a different in extension. Regular Word documents are dot DOC or DOCX. And Word templates are dot DOT or DOTX. I'm going to go ahead and choose the Word Template Format. And you'll notice that it automatically updated the Where to be My Templates. If I don't save this in the My Templates section then I won't have access to it. I'm going to title this Research Paper, and then go ahead and click the Save button.
So at this point, we've created a research paper template. Now to access this template, I'm going to go ahead and close the document we created. I'm going to go to File, and I'm going to choose New From Template, and now when I click on the My Templates section on the left hand side, I can see that my Research Paper Template's ready to go. So every single time I want to start a research paper, I can simply double-click on this template. It'll automatically open up to this spot. I can start adding information, and I'll always be sure that my paper's formatted correctly.
Are you a teacher? Try our companion course, Office for Educators.
- Creating assignment templates
- Tracking changes and adding notes
- Creating bibliographies and citations
- Presenting in PowerPoint with SlideShare
- Using Excel to manage data
- Keeping school and personal email organized in Outlook
- Setting up a calendar
- Using SkyDrive to back up papers and assignments