Maybe, every few months, you send out party invitations, plan out your budget or create a flyer for some event. Sometimes you may not even realize how often you repeat the same repetitive document design tasks in the course of a month or a year, and how much using Microsoft Word templates could free up much of that wasted time.
In an effort to help MakeUseOf readers streamline their schedules and open up more time to spend with family or having fun, I wanted to put together the top five websites where you can find an entire library of the best Microsoft Word templates you’ll find anywhere. Aibek previously listed 3 great resources for document templates, and don’t forget Karl’s list of free resume templates.
I wanted to offer readers even more awesome resources for free Word templates. In fact, if you’re looking for free templates for other Microsoft Office products like Excel or Powerpoint, you may want to check these out because many of these websites offer entire collections of those templates as well.
The Extensive Microsoft Collection
Considering that they created these software packages, it should come as no surprise that Microsoft is king of the hill when it comes to offering free templates for Word, Excel and more. What may come as a surprise is that Microsoft offers these free templates for absolutely free. You can find these at the Free Templates section of Microsoft Office Online.
At first I was searching for the pricing information, because just based on experience, anything offered by Microsoft usually comes with a price tag. I was very surprised and pleased to discover that this particular area is more of an online community where people who develop some of the most innovative and useful Microsoft Word templates and documents offer their document template for absolutely free. In fact, if you’re a good designer, you could even offer your own.
If you search by category and then list Microsoft Word as the product, you’ll discover a whole assortment of amazing free Microsoft Word templates, including invitations (as shown above), budgets, calendars, an assortment of letters and much more. If you find yourself writing the same letters or creating the same sort of documents each week – you would benefit greatly from this collection.
The Paper Mill
Now, many Word users just stop at Office Online for their free template needs. But there are a few other websites there you’ll find some high-quality, creative designs that are worth mentioning. While you won’t find the extensive database of free templates that you’ll find at Office Online, you will find very high quality ones that could serve your needs better than any other.
The free template area of The Paper Mill Store is one of those sites that I would recommend to anyone who may need a free Microsoft Word template.
The site lays claim to hundreds of free templates, and they aren’t exaggerating. Here you’ll find newsletter templates, postcards, brochures and even bookmarkers.
Just choose the style you want, and then click on the download for your system. Formats are available for PC or Mac, and not only for Word. You’ll also find identical templates in PDF, Illustrator CS or InDesign. There aren’t many places online where you’ll find this many free Microsoft Word templates compared to Office Online, so this site is a must stop if you’re on the hunt for good templates.
An interesting clash of two worlds is the site called Mactopia – a site for Mac users of Windows products. The fact is, there is a significant base of Mac users who use Office products, but the irony surely isn’t lost on MakeUseOf readers. Mactopia is actually a useful resource for Mac users who are looking for additional high quality Word documents.
I should note that while the quality is high, the selection is somewhat limited. However, in addition to Microsoft Word templates, you’ll find templates for Excel, Powerpoint and other MS products.
I place Mactopia at the top of the pile, not so much because of the volume of templates available, but because of the quality of those templates and how easy it is to navigate through and use the website. You just click on the product you want templates for, and then scroll right or left through the options, just like an image gallery.
For example, the newsletter template above would take a fair amount of time to design and put together in Word from scratch. You have to get the fonts and sizing right, the images, colors and shades all correct. Download this template, and you’re off and running. Just change the imagery and add the content and you have a high quality newsletter ready to roll. Now that’s called saving time.
Final Two Free Template Sites
I almost made this a top 3 article, because most other sites are out to sell professionally made templates rather than offering free ones, but there are two more that do have free areas, so I thought they were worthy of mention. Stock Layouts is one of those sites that offers templates for sale, but you’ll also find a Free Template area.
While you’ll find only about a dozen or so free templates here, they are fairly high quality and could come in handy if you can’t find the template you’re looking for elsewhere. You’ll find postcards, a flier and even a restaurant menu here.
Another site of free templates is Wordtemplates. The site is drowning in ads, but the list of free templates is fairly extensive. Unfortunately it appears that a majority of the templates are identical to Microsoft’s free ones at Office Online.
With that said, after sifting through I did notice that the site is essentially a blog, with each template category a blog category – and I did discover a few amusing and unique Word templates available, such as this Halloween mask word template.
It comes complete with a template to punch out string holes on the sides. Just pop heavy stock paper into your printer and you’ve got a funny Halloween mask for your little one. There are plenty of other interesting MS Word templates throughout this site, so it makes the list.
Do you use Microsoft Word templates to increase your productivity and save time? What are your favorite resources for free templates? Do you stick with Microsoft or have you discovered your own treasure trove? Share your insight in the comments section below.