How to Work from a Template on Your Surface

By Andy Rathbone

In days of old, before the appearance of the Surface, people often started from scratch with a sheet of paper. Yet that paper could probably be called a template: the preformatted lines across the page gave people something to follow as they wrote.

Today’s templates offer much more than simple lines. Microsoft offers thousands of free templates for creating elaborate resumes, reports, invitations, schedules, calendars, or even stock reports that automatically create themselves when you type in a stock symbol.

When you find yourself waiting for inspiration in front of an empty screen, head for the templates. It’s much easier to create something when you need only fill in the blanks.

To start working from a template, follow these steps:

  1. From the Start screen, tap the tile of the program you want to open: Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.

  2. When the program appears, tap the template you want to open and then tap Create to open the template.

    You will see many free templates available, sorted by current popularity. During the holidays, you see more party invitations in Word, for example; in September, you see more templates for school activities.

    To see other popular templates in Excel, scroll down the screen by dragging the scroll bar down the screen. Tap any template’s icon for a quick preview. Tap the X button to close a preview if the template isn’t the one you want or tap the Create button if it suits your needs.

    If the current popular templates don’t meet your needs, move to Step 3.

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  3. Search for an unlisted template by typing a keyword in the Search for Online Templates bar along the top and pressing Enter. When you see a template you want, tap the Create button to download the template and begin working.

    Microsoft offers thousands of free templates online, searchable by keyword. Type Expense into the Search bar (or tap the word Expense beneath the bar), for example, and Excel lists hundreds of expense-related templates.

    Narrow down your themes by choosing from the categories. Tap both Monthly and Personal, for example, to show expense-related templates in the categories of both Monthly and Personal.

    Tap a template to see a preview; tap the Create button to download and open the template.

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Word, Excel, and PowerPoint offer thousands of templates from a wide variety of categories. It’s much faster to adapt a template to meet your needs rather than starting from scratch.

  • To save space, Microsoft didn’t bundle Office templates with your Surface. You must be connected to the Internet to download them.

  • Before beginning a project, spend some time browsing and downloading potential templates. That way you can still work from a template when offline.

  • To choose the right template for you, browse Microsoft’s templates with Internet Explorer. Templates you download await you in your Surface’s Downloads folder, available in the Navigation pane along the left edge of every folder. (The selections available on Internet Explorer are the same as the selections built into the program, and they can be used in the same way.)