Templates can be used in a wide variety of Office Software such as Spreadsheets, Word Documents, Open Office Documents and Spreadsheets, Powerpoint Presentations, Database reports and merge documents such as used in MS Access, and even Online Office tools such as those supplied by Google.
Using a Template in MS Office, Open Office, Google Docs or other office type software, allows a pre-formatted design and layout to be quickly imported or opened ready for text and/or data to be inserted, manipulated and analysed immediately. Templates can be edited and customised to match a standard house style within a business, or to incorporate different purposes, layouts, designs, or output to a specific media.
Good templates will have a clear layout and purpose, with features such as charts built in, placeholders for adding your own photos or illustrations, customisable colour scheme and themes and adjustable fonts.
Microsoft Word Templates
Microsoft Word has a number of templates built in already to get you started. There is also the ability to create your own template from scratch. See our section on creating templates for more information. Microsoft also has the Office Templates website where you can download a large range of templates for the most popular document types.
Template files for use in Word use the extensions .dot or .dotx (depending on the MS Word version), and .dotm if it is a macro-enabled template.
When a Template is opened in MS Word it creates a new document based on itself, which can then be filled in with individual document information. A typical use might be for a standard letter where fields for the name, address etc are ready to be filled in and the rest of the document is a set text. Invoices also benefit from using templates as they contain a range of formulas to add up amounts, add tax and provide a total.
Microsoft Excel Templates
Templates for use in Excel are available from the Office website for free, as well as some other sites. Just do a search for free excel templates and see which ones have templates in the style or format you need. Some sites will have premium excel templates available for a small charge, as well as some free templates to get you interested.
Excel templates cover a wide range of uses, from formal accounting spreadsheets and business uses such as invoices, receipts or payslips, to home and family organisers, budgeting spreadsheets, and calendars for specific purposes.
Google Docs Templates
Google Docs has its own Template Gallery where a number of popular templates are available for download. Simply go to the Google Docs Template Gallery and browse the templates. Clicking on a template opens it in Google Docs ready for editing and saving.
There are a number of categories in the Google Docs Template Gallery:
- Human Resources
- Freelancer Engagement
OpenOffice has a dedicated site for templates for the applications Writer, Calc, Draw and Impress. They can be found and downloaded from the Apache OpenOffice Templates website. They are categorised under Business, Education and Private.
Tips for Downloading Office Templates
- Start at the default Templates galleries, such as Office Templates for Microsoft Office products, and OpenOffice Templates for OpenOffice.
- Once the most relevant templates have been downloaded rename them to something that will make it obvious what use is intended.
- Store downloaded templates in folders that group them by intended use, department or style.
- Keep the original downloaded template un-edited, and make a copy that can be changed to reflect the individual use, the company house style, or other changes and additions. This way the original template is still available for reference, or if errors are made in future edits to the template.
- Check where the templates are being saved. Word has a default location in which templates are stored, and this can be used as it is, or changed in the personal template location setting in Word preferences.
Some Example Templates to Download
- Timesheet Template
- Daily To Do List
- 2021 Calendar (Clean)
- 2021 Calendar (Shaded)
- 2022 Calendar (Clean)
- 2022 Calendar (Shaded)