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ThumbnailClothes make the man (and always, the woman!) but how much care do you put into dressing up your documents? Is it all title, headings, subheadings, bullets and paragraphs or do you put some more thought into the Word document?

There are a lot of things which can go into creating a professional looking document. But when we are talking about first impressions, then we have to speak about the first thing that catches the eye and that’s the cover page.

The cover page is the very first page of your document. Its purpose right at the beginning is to give the reader the Big Idea about the document. The why and wherefore is communicated through a specific title, the author name, date, a one-liner on the subject and any other bit of important information on the cover page.

If Black Text On A White Page Is A Turn Off”¦

One of the reasons I am writing this post is that Microsoft Word makes it painless to create a professional cover page. Unlike the previous versions, Word 2007 has Building Blocks which are pre-formatted templates for cover pages, headers, footers etc. Learning how to make a cover page in MS Word is as easy as a few clicks.

So let’s move away from the monochromatic black on white to more colorful beginnings.

    1. Open MS Word 2007 in a new document or the document you wish to create the cover page for.
    2. Click on the Insert menu on the ribbon. The very first section, Pages contains the dropdown for Cover Page. Click on Cover Page to open the inbuilt gallery of templates.

how to make a cover page

    1. The inbuilt gallery has about 15 pre-formatted cover pages that you can scroll though. Click on the one you like to select and open it. The cover page appears at the beginning of the document by default.

how to make a cover page

    1. If you want it in any other location, right click on the cover page thumbnail in the gallery and select from the options given.

how to make a cover page

    1. Now, you can click on each pre-formatted field (the square brackets) and the whole thing gets highlighted with a blue field label on top. Type in your version for the given field. The author name might appear by default if the Office installation was in your name.

cover page template

    1. For date fields, you can click the dropdown arrow to select a date from a calendar. You can format all fields as you would for normal text.

cover page template

    1. Building blocks have editable regions which can be customized again. For instance, some of the cover page templates use tables which again can be formatted for size and color of borders or fills using Word’s table tools. Also, some templates have pictures which can be swapped for another or formatted. Think a logo would go better with the page? Just right click on the picture and click Change Picture in the context menu.

cover page template

    1. While working on one cover page, you can change it for another cover page by selecting a new template from the dropdown. The field entries are retained in the new template.
    2. Click on Save to finalize the cover page as a document.
    3. If you would like to save the cover page for later use in another document, select the entire cover page. Click on Insert – Cover Page – Save Selection to Cover Page Gallery. You can use the same menu to remove a selected cover page from the gallery.

sample cover page

Adding a cover page to a document not only helps in stylizing it but it also gives a sketch to the reader about the contents. You can create a generic cover page for your company and save it in the gallery for frequent use. Another use is to create a document in Word with a nicely laid out cover page and save it in PDF. It can add oodles to the way you present your document (and you don’t have to have any designing IQ).

If a book can be known by its cover, so should a document. Most of us don’t commonly employ a cover page with a document. Or do you? Let us know the benefits you find in inserting a well designed cover page.

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