Over the years, Microsoft’s templates for their various programs have improved both in their variety and ease-of-use. The most recent versions of Word, in particular, include an incredible amount of templates that are an instant download away. You probably don’t use them very often, if at all, but you should. Allow me to convince you.
The most compelling reason for why you should use Word templates is that they save a great deal of time and, in the process, give your project a professional appearance (most of them anyway—some are more appropriate for certain occasions than others). Additionally, the massive variety of types and styles of templates that Word now offers all but insures that you can find something that fits your needs, and all of them are just a few mouse clicks away. Furthermore, there are a variety of sources online for additional templates, both from Microsoft as well as from third parties. Basically, if you are trying to create a document any more complex than standard text, there is probably a template that will be of at least some use to you.
Hopefully you’re convinced that Word’s templates can be useful but what specific instances can they be best put to use? Here are some ideas of when templates can be quite handy:
Given the current economy, resumes are currently of prime importance. In many cases, after all, they are the basis by which potential employers (or admissions boards, in the case of college or graduate applications) form their first impression of you. Economy aside, putting together a professional resume can be a challenging task and at least part of that challenge is actually making a resume appear professional and convey all of the information you need it to. Word contains a wide variety of basic resume templates as well as templates for specific occupations, such as chefs or teachers, and academic curriculum vitas. These provide a great starting point as they not only are pre-styled in a professional manner but they contain all of the basic fields that a resume should have, which can help you to avoid leaving out a crucial part.
Word also has many flyer templates to choose from, which can be of great use for everything from garage sales to invitations and the unfortunate cases of lost pets. Especially useful are the inclusion of several designs that contain pull-off tabs of paper with contact information.
There are a variety of newsletter templates in Word that can be very useful. Perhaps you have a quarterly newsletter at work that you laboriously create from scratch that never quite looks just right. Word’s templates can help make that a quick and easy task. You can also use the newsletter templates to create festive holiday newsletters to send out to friends and family (that will look better than the ones you're probably used to receiving).
Word has a variety of templates for planning that can be of great use for improving productivity, both for individuals and groups. There are a variety of daily, weekly, and monthly planner templates, as well as standard calendars and appointment schedulers. Group planning can benefit from meeting agendas and minutes templates so that efficiency in meetings is kept to a maximum.
One of the best features of Word’s templates is the simple fact that you can create your own, either by modifying one that you’ve already found (via Microsoft or otherwise) or you can start from scratch. Saving a document as a template is as easy as selecting ‘Save As’ from the ‘File’ menu and choosing ‘Word Template (*dotx)’ or ‘Word 97-2003 Template (*dot),’ depending on the version of Word you are developing the template to be used for.
“Why would I want to create my own templates?” you might rightfully ask. A template is a great way to standardize a document so that it remains consistent and keeps information organized. Perhaps you’d like to design an application for your business to have applicants fill out or you’d like your employees to fill out their availability in a standardized way. Perhaps you’d like something as simple as a customized to-do list that you can repeatedly use in the future or you’d like to make a schedule of household chores that various family members need to fill out. There are a great deal of possible applications for your own customized templates and, once you invest a minor amount of time to prepare them initially, they are always ready to go and have the potential to save a lot of time in the future.