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What is a template?

A template is a document with a preset layout or preset styles for formatting.  They serve as a basic structure for a document and can be used to eliminate the need for repetitive recreation of the same format across documents.  Templates feature prearranged formatting options such as font face, font size, language, spacing, alignment, and more.

Types of Templates

There are two kinds of templates: built-in and custom.

Built-in templates provide preset structures for common documents such as:

  • Faxes
  • Letters
  • Memos
  • Reports
  • Resumes
  • Web pages
  • Documents without custom formatting

Custom templates, on the other hand, are formatting options and layouts that are set up by the user and saved as a .dotx file.  You can modify an existing template or you may set one up starting from a blank document.

How to Apply Templates

Templates in MS Word 2016 and 2013

Instructions can be found at Microsoft's Create a new Office file using a template.

Templates in MS Word 2011 (Macs)

  1. In the Standard Toolbar, click New from template.
  2. In the Navigation pane on the left-hand side under Templates click either All or My Templates (the latter for custom or downloaded templates). 

  3. Select the template you want, then click Choose.

    If you created folders to organize your templates, the folders are displayed under My Templates. You need to click the folder to see the templates.

Templates in MS Word 2010

  1. Under the File Tab select New.
  2. In the Available Templates section, double click the icon that says My Templates.

  3. Select the template you downloaded, then click OK in the New Dialog box.

    You may need to look in the My Documents or Documents folder on your computer in order to find the template file.

  4. Once you've done this, double click the template to apply it to the new document.



Templates in MS Word 2007

  1. Click the Office Button  and choose New.
  2. When the dialog box appears, select Installed Templates (located under the Templates heading).  

  3.  Choose the template you want, then click Create to apply the template to your new document. 

    For custom and/or downloaded templates, look under New from existing...


What is a Style?

A Style is a collection of formatting commands, combined in a single command.  All text in Word has a default Style of Normal which (in 2016) typically has the following settings: 11-point Calibri font, with left-aligned paragraphs, line spacing at 1.08 with an after spacing of 8 pt, and no indenting.

Why Should I Use a Style?

Customize styles in Word (2013 and 2016)

Using Styles in a Document

How do I apply a Style?

  1. First select the text you want to apply the style to.
    1. To apply a paragraph style to one paragraph, put your cursor in the paragraph.
    2. To apply a paragraph style to more than one paragraph, highlight the text you want to format.
  2. Apply your desired Style.

Apply Styles in Word (2013)

Watch these short videos from Microsoft about Using styles in Word.


Applying Styles in Word (Mac)

Microsoft has a tutorial on using styles in Word for Mac 2011.

Can I switch Styles as I type?

  • Yes.  To switch between Styles as you compose your document, simply click the Style you wish to use before you start typing.  When you want to return to normal format settings, select the Style labeled Normal.