How to Find Microsoft Word Templates Online

Screenshot of Microsoft Office online templates


Microsoft Office includes many ready-to-use templates built right into the software. However, if you’re looking for a particular style or layout for your document but can't find it among the templates included with Word, don't worry — you don't have to create one from scratch.

The Microsoft Office Online site is an excellent resource in your search for the right template. Microsoft offers a variety of additional Word templates on the Office website.

What Is a Template?

If you're new to Word and unfamiliar with templates, here's a quick primer.

A Microsoft Office template in a pre-formatted document file type that creates a copy of itself when you open it. These versatile files help you to quickly create documents users commonly need, such as flyers, research papers and resumes with no manual formatting. Template files for Microsoft Word have the extensions .dot or .dotx, depending on your version of the word, or .dotm, which are macro-enabled templates.

When you open a template, a new document is created with all formatting already in place. This lets you get started right away on customizing it as needed with your content (for example, inserting the recipients on a fax cover sheet name). You can then save the document with its own unique filename.

How to Access Online Templates

Access to Microsoft Office's online templates is built into Word but is not immediately saved in the software itself. Follow these steps to find and download templates (note that you may need to update your version of Office to access templates from within Word):

Word 2010

  1. Click the File tab in the top menu.

  2. Click on New to start a new document.

  3. In the section under Templates, select the template or folder for the template type you want.

  4. When you have found a template, click on it. To the right, click the Download button below the template you've selected.

Word 2007

  1. Click the Microsoft Office button in the upper left of the window.

  2. Click on New to start a new document.

  3. In the New Document window, under Microsoft Office Online, select the type of template you are looking for.

  4. To the right, you will see a gallery of templates. Click the template you want.

  5. To the right of the gallery, you will see a large thumbnail of your chosen template. Click the Download button at the bottom right of the window. Your template will download and a newly formatted document will open, ready for use.

Word 2003

  1. Press Ctrl + F1 to open the task pane on the righthand side of the window.

  2. Click the arrow at the top of the task pane to open a drop-down menu, and select New Document.

  3. In the Templates section, click Templates on Office Online*.

Word on the Mac

  1. Click the File tab in the top menu.

  2. Click on New from Template...

  3. Scroll down to template list and click ONLINE TEMPLATES.

  4. Select the category of template you want. To the right, you will see the templates available for download.

  5. Click the template you want. To the right, you will see a thumbnail image of the template. Click Choose in the lower right corner of the window. The template will download and open a newly formatted document ready for use.

Downloading Templates from the Office Online Website

Depending on your version of Word, your web browser will either display templates within Word or open the Office templates page in your web browser.

If you have on an older version of Word that is no longer supported by Microsoft, such as Word 2003, you may get an error page when Word attempts to open the Office Online page in your web browser. If this is the case, you can go directly to the Office Online templates page.

Once you're there, you can search by Office program or by theme. When you search by program, you’re given the option of searching by document type.

When you find a template that suits your needs, click the Download Now link. It will open for editing in Word.