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Nothing beats a great visual presentation. A template is like a virtual billboard, visually reinforcing text or data. This article offers a basic introduction to templates, giving you a taste of where to find, and how to customise or create your own.

Types Of Templates You Can Use

Templates are available in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. They range from agendas, calendars, and reports for Word, various presentation backdrops for PowerPoint, to ready-to-use balance sheets, calculators and trackers for Excel. You can choose from thousands of options.

Potential Uses

Are you hoping to make a lasting impression at an upcoming event or presentation? Perhaps you are compiling a brochure for a new product and wish to add the “spark” which will convert an interested reader into a client. Maybe you would like to create a unique birthday card. Choosing the right template will save you a great deal of time, while simultaneously capturing the attention of the reader or audience.

One of the best types of templates to choose is a background that offers a minimal amount of clutter. In this respect, the visual graphics will not overwhelm the text itself. So, a mission statement, funny greeting card or announcement can be clear and uncluttered.  Here’s a catchy example of an image  that could be great for a business presentation:

image1

Many templates are great when you require regular updates. Examples are quarterly financial summaries, scheduling vacations and travel dates or simply assigning different chores to family members around the home each month. Another example is a timeline or calendar as seen below:

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12 Month Timeline

Where To Find & How To Download Free Templates

Office Desktop Templates

If you desire to create a presentation that stands out above the rest, a great way to accomplish this is to add an eye-catching and original background with the use of Office templates.  Not only are there countless options to choose from, but let’s not forget that you can create and customise your very own version to give any paper a much-needed “snap”.  Thankfully, there are some great “how-to” videos such as this one that can help you through the process:

Microsoft Office Online Templates

Obviously, the best way to find the most reliable and quality templates is to browse the official Microsoft Office website. There are countless to choose from and each is separated into discrete categories for your convenience. Some are free.   Others come with a small price tag.

Free Templates for Office Online - Office.com 2014-09-14 00-02-11

You can browse templates by platform (Word, Excel or PowerPoint) or category. They will be saved to OneDrive and open in Office Online. From there you can edit and download templates to your computer. You will need to have an account with Microsoft Office to access these official templates.

Third Party Resources

The other main option is to use third-party template providers. Be wary, for not all are trustworthy and some may even infect a computer with spyware or other issues. One of the most reliable resources is Hloom.

Third party suppliers can be ideal if you do not have an active Office account. The previously mentioned portals are quite easy to use, although you may need to register to be able to download the designs that are offered. Although their products are generally compatible with Office, Excel and PowerPoint, it is a good idea to preview a copy of the completed text to make certain that the image quality and dimensions suit your needs.

Customising & Creating New Templates

Customising an existing template is quite easy with the use of Office. There are a few steps involved. To accomplish this, you will need to:

  • Find the “Format” menu and select the “Templates” option. Then, choose “Add a Page” and select “Category”. You can then see the templates available.
  • Select the “File” menu and click “Page Setup”. From here, you can change the options that you choose. Also, you are able to delete content or templates that you are no longer using from this section.
  • After you have made the changes, select “Save current page as template” at the bottom of the “Page Setup” section. You can choose a unique name for the new template. Note that you can also select to use this new version by setting it as the default template (checking the box).
  • Finally, you will simply save this modification for future use.

If you wish to create a new one from scratch, the process is slightly different. The steps are:

  • Go to the “File” menu and select “New” followed by “Page Setup”.
  • You can add any custom and new content that you desire by uploading it from your files.
  • As before, you will then select “Save current page as template” and type in the name you wish to give the file.
  • Again, this can be your default version by highlighting the “Set as default template for new pages” box.
  • Keep in mind that when creating a new template, each will automatically be added to the “My Templates” section of Office for your convenience.

Thankfully, Office provides you with a step-by-step outline to accomplish this.

Create a template - Word 2014-09-14 00-08-18

Limitations

Editing templates can be a challenge. Changing one element may throw off the rest of the page (unlike in professional design software). This can cause a great deal of frustration if you are on a limited time frame. Moreover, visually rich designs can be tough to achieve with Office templates.

All in all, templates are great at achieving many visually unique designs that are ideal for texts, presentations, brochures and more. While their capabilities may be slightly limited in comparison to modern design packages, many feel that templates are some of the best tools to have been added to Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

Putting it all Together…

We can view Office templates as some of the most visually pleasing vehicles to get your point across. In this case, a picture may very well be worth a thousand words (or more)!

Image Credits: Spray cans Via Shutterstock, Globe via MorgueFile

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  1. Nancy B
    September 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Great info! thanks for letting us know how to save the template as I was only able to save the document I made and not previously the template alone.