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Once in a while, we all need a specific document. It may be a business plan, presentation, rental contract, non-disclosure agreement, or even a name change request form. Rather than creating the document from scratch, however, you’ll want to start with a blank template that you can customize.
In most cases, searching Google will find what you need. This search, however, can be both time consuming and frustrating. Why not start with a dedicated template resource right away?
Here we present 5 excellent sites that offer the professional document or form template you need for free.
Formats: Microsoft Office and PDF
With over twenty thousand documents in almost three thousand categories, TidyForm — previously TidyForms — is one of the biggest document template repositories on the web. And all forms and templates are free to download. Whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s a professional resume template, an Excel spreadsheet template, or a project management template, you’ll find it here.
You can search TidyForm for what you need straight from the start page. Alternatively, you can browse by the major categories (Business, Education, Finance, Legal, Life, and Miscellaneous) or go through the most popular sub-categories linked to from the start page.
You can preview each template by clicking on its thumbnail or View Details for a bigger screenshot, download links, and related downloads. Under View Details, you can either Download the document or click Email me to have it mailed to you. In both cases, you have to enter a CAPTCHA to unlock the download.
Formats: mainly Excel, but also Word, OpenOffice.org, and Google Sheets
Vertex42 is the leading resource for free Excel spreadsheet templates. You’ll also find a small selection of resumes and letters in Word format and calendars in PDF format.
Use the search bar in the top right if you know exactly what you’re looking for. Otherwise, start from one of the major categories in the menu or the more granular template categories in the right-hand sidebar.
Each template comes with a screenshot, a detailed description, and a license. Most templates are free for private use and available in multiple document file types.
Should you ever run into issues with Vertex42, try Sheets123, which appears to be Vertex42 clone. The site’s organization is almost identical, but the selection of templates may differ slightly.
Formats: Word, Excel, PowerPoint
This list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention Microsoft’s official resource for Office templates.
In case you didn’t know, Microsoft Office comes pre-loaded with a huge selection of templates. Whenever you open Word, Excel, or PowerPoint (or when you go to File > New), you can create a blank document or start with a template that came with your Office suite. In addition, you can search and download thousands of templates from Microsoft’s online repository.
If you don’t have Microsoft’s Office suite installed, you can search those same templates from templates.office.com. At the website, type your keyword into the search bar in the top right or scroll to the bottom of the page to browse by category. Once you’ve landed on a category page, you can also browse categories from the left-hand sidebar.
Click on a template’s thumbnail to see a brief description, similar templates, and links to Download or Edit in Browser. The latter will launch Office Online.
SlideHunter features PowerPoint templates only. You can download free shapes, diagrams, slides, 3D designs, and charts. All templates come with a Creative Commons license that allows you to share and adapt the material as you like, even commercially.
Search the site by keywords or narrow down by using one of the categories in the right-hand sidebar. You can also refer to the Popular Topics word cloud to discover what you need.
When you see a thumbnail you like, click on View to see a full description, potentially further screenshots, and the Download link. A few templates are hosted externally by Presenter Media (free) or SlideModel (paid), meaning they may also come in different formats, such as Keynote with the former. To further expand your search, you might also want to visit those sites directly.
Formats: Microsoft Office
Start here whenever you need a professional project template. Certified and experienced project managers have designed all templates at Project Management Docs. This means you can’t go wrong. You can, however, customize each template to your needs.
Conveniently, you can browse templates by process group, i.e. initiating, planning, executing, controlling, closing, project documents, and Agile. You’ll also see a list of the most popular templates on the right-hand side and a search bar in the top right-hand corner.
Every process group features a small number of templates with a brief description for each. Unfortunately, you won’t find a document preview. When you visit a template site, however, you’ll see an outline of the document with detailed explanations and examples of what each section should cover. You’ll find that the templates here are actually small project management tutorials. Click on the black Download Template button right below the template rating to obtain a copy of the document.
If you need to prepare a project timeline or Gantt chart, try the free templates at Office Timeline.
Your Document Templates Sorted
Between the templates that come with your Office suite and these online resources, you should have everything you need to meet every document demand in your life.
Where did you find the last document template you downloaded? If you know of a great resource we missed above, please share it in the comments!
Originally written by Aibek Esengulov on November 6, 2007.