If you constantly write documents and want to use similar formats, such as the same line spacing, same indentation scheme, same page numbers, you can do yourself a big favor by creating a template to use. This is fairly easy to do with MS Word. Here is how:
- Create a master document, with all the major components, styles and other standard features you want to use in other documents. You can reduce the length of this file to the bare minimum, with text mainly as place holders, to make it easier for future work.
Here is an example of a template I created, with the indentation, spacing, page numbering schemes I need. As you can see, I cut out the paragraphs to nothing but a place holder to replace with in the future. There are some generic information you may want to keep in every document, such as your name, institution’s names, if these are what you include in every document you want to create. (papertemplates)
- “Save as” a template by selecting the file type as “template”. This will create a template file with the file extension “.dot”, or “dotx”, depending on which version of Word you use. Remember where you save it (ideally under something like “my templates”, or “templates”, depending on the computer configuration you have. This is not so essential, you can actually save it anywhere in your computer so long as you remember where to find it. Better keep it organized though. Don’t be like me.
- When you want to start to create a new document using this template, instead of selecting “create new document”, choose instead to click on the “Open” icon of word;
- Find the template file you saved (you’ll need to set your file extensions as “all readable documents” (Mac) or “all files” to be able to make the template file visible for selection;
- Open this file as “copy” if you are using MS 2008. If you are using another version of word, just open the template file and save it as a new copy, as described below;
- Choose “save as” to resave this file into your new word file, make sure you save it as a regular Word file this time with “.doc” or “.docx” file extension.
You can now start to replace the text of the template with new content.