How to Create and Use Microsoft Word Templates

Make your word processing tasks easier with this handy feature

Woman drawing in sketch book at desk in tattoo studio.

Westend61 / Getty Images

 

A template is a Microsoft Word document that already has some formatting in place, such as fonts, logos, and line spacing. Templates exist for many types of documents, such as party invitations, flyers, and resumes. They can be used as a starting point when you want to create a specific type of document without starting from scratch. Word offers hundreds of free templates for you to use, or you can create your own. This guide offers directions for both.

This article applies to Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word for Office 365.

How to Open a Word Template

You can have a template open using just a couple of steps.

  1. Open Word. On the ribbon, select File. In the left rail, select New.

    MS Word with New screen displayed
  2. Select a style you like from those shown on this screen. You may be shown a secondary screen where you should select Create.

    MS Word with new template displayed
  3. If you don't like any of the options shown on the main screen, choose one of the categories at the top of the screen, or use the search bar to perform a search.

    MS Word with New screen displayed
  4. After you open a template, replace the placeholder text with your own or start from scratch in blank areas. You can also add pictures to replace the image placeholders.

To replace existing text, select it and start typing your own text. To replace an image, right-click it and select Change Picture.

MS Word with newsletter template displayed

How to Create a Word Template

You can also create your own custom Word template. Here's how:

  1. Open Word. On the ribbon, select File. In the left rail, select New > Blank document.

    MS Word with New screen displayed
  2. Add any elements you like, such as a business name and address, a logo, and other elements. You can also choose specific fonts, font sizes, and font colors.

    MS Word document with custom template design
  3. Once you have the document formatted the way you want it, on the ribbon select File > Save As. From the dropdown menu, choose Word Template (*.dotx). Continue saving the document as you normally would.

    MS Word with Save As dropdown menu displayed
  4. When you want to create a new document based on the template, open the template, give it a new name, and edit the document to include the new information.

    MS Word with new document based on template displayed