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 has some formatting in place, such as fonts, logos, and line spacing. Templates exist for many types of documents, for example, 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.

Instructions in this article apply to Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013.

How to Open a Word Template

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

  1. Open Word. Go to the ribbon, select File, then select New.

    Word with the New item highlighted
  2. Select a template style.

  3. In the template preview screen, select Create.

    MS Word with new template displayed
  4. 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.

    The New screen in Word with the search bar highlighted
  5. 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 type your own text. To replace an image, right-click the image and select Change Picture.

    MS Word with newsletter template displayed
  6. Save the file with a descriptive name.

How to Create a Word Template

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

  1. Open Word, then go to the ribbon and select File.

  2. Select New > Blank document.

    New screen in Word with the Blank Document option highlighted
  3. 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
  4. Once you have the document formatted the way you want it, go to the ribbon and select File > Save As.

    The File menu in Word with the Save As option highlighted
  5. Enter a descriptive name for the template, select the File type drop-down arrow and choose Word Template (*.dotx), then select Save.

    The Save As screen in Word with the Word Template option highlighted
  6. 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