Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video What is a template?, part of Word 2013: Templates in Depth.
- Before we begin creating templates, let's have a common understanding of what templates are and how they function, broadly. A template is a pattern. That isn't just a computer term or computer definition, it's a term in general use. So, if I want to be able to make 27 copies of a particular kind of wood cut, I'll begin by creating a pattern. If I want to be able to stencil the same drawing somewhere, I'll create a pattern. And in Word, we do exactly the same thing. And, in fact, not just Word, many, many types of applications including all of the Office products.
One way to think about this is that a template is a document that each time you open it it creates a new instance, or a new copy, of itself. And, if you think you haven't used a lot of templates, you're probably wrong because every time you create a new document in Microsoft Office, even if you're creating one in Microsoft Outlook, you are using a template. Templates are the place that we store settings. So, for example, a template could contain text. If you open up a template it may have information about your organization, like letterhead, or it may have information that you could fill in, like a form.
It can also include images and those items can be formatted. In more advanced templates, we may have things like controls and code that does things with those controls that we add. When we save a template, we're saving them, that text. We're saving formatting, font formatting. We're saving paragraph formatting. We're saving page formatting, things like margins. All of that is saved in a template. That's why each time you open up a new document, you still have the same types of formatting that you did the last time you created a new document.
We can save Building Blocks. And, if you're not familiar with these, Building Blocks are a way to save sections of formatted text, formatted content, which can include images. Very powerful feature that you're gonna love. We can also save the code that we would write, macros. And we can save changes that you and I make to the User Interface. For example, if we want to be able to have a button that runs a macro that we add, then we can put that button on the ribbon and save that as part of the template.
There are two Global Templates in this version of Microsoft Word. The first is called Normal. And if you're a Word user from prior versions, you're used to having the Normal dot template. This is where all kinds of defaults are saved. And every time you and I create a brand new document in Word, if we don't choose any other template, it's based on Normal. There's also a template full of Building Blocks. Now, initially what's in there are the built-in Building Blocks, headers and footers, cover pages and so on, that come with Microsoft Word. But you and I can create Building Blocks and store them in the Global Template for Building Blocks.
We can also store them in Normal. And, if they're stored in either one of those places, every single document we create will have access to those items. Let me say that again because this is a key concept. Anything that's stored in a Global Template, either one of these, is available to every single document that we create, because every document relies on these two templates. But we don't want to have everything that we want to customize go in Building Blocks or Normal Global Templates. For example, if you and I created a really complex form and made some customizations to the ribbon for that form, we would not want every single document to have to use those customizations.
So, how do we create a template to be able to save things that aren't global? That's the role of Document Templates. And they're specific to a particular document we want to create. I have an annual report, so I create a template for it. Each year I pull it up and I have everything that I've saved with that template. And while I'm using it, I also have access to Normal and the Building Blocks in the Global Templates. I have some letterhead. Each time I create a new document based on the letterhead, I have access to everything in the letterhead Document Template, but also all of the tools that are available in Normal and Building Blocks Global Templates.
And the same is true if I create a template for a newsletter or a template for a form. And each and every one of these is specific, not to a type of document, but to a particular document. If I have three different newsletter types I wish to create, then I'll create three different newsletter Document Templates. If I have 50 forms, I'll probably end up with 50 different form templates. Each will be a Document Template. Each time we save a template, we'll be asked where we want to put it. And each time we create a Building Block, we'll be asked where we want to save it.
So, we'll want to pay attention to whether the functionality we're creating is something that we want to have available 24, 7, 365. That would have us save it in the Normal template or the Building Blocks template. Or if it's specific to a kind of document that we are creating, in that case, it's going to go into a Document Template. Now that we understand a little more about templates, let's move on.
- Opening, customizing, and saving templates
- Converting an existing document to a template
- Best practices for template creation
- Styling your templates
- Restricting editing to certain areas
- Modifying the Normal template
- Sharing templates via email and SharePoint
- Using building blocks
- Using content controls
- Using field codes
- Creating and attaching add-ins