How to Create and Change Templates in Word 2013

By Lois Lowe

Every Word 2013 document has a template that it references. The template provides such basics as the margin settings and the definition of the Normal paragraph style. The template also may provide a list of styles. In addition, some templates provide sample content, including text, graphics, text boxes, and hyperlinks.

Many templates are available via Office.com; you can select one by choosing File→New and then browsing the list. You can also customize templates to meet your own needs and even create your own templates.

Template files use a .dotx extension, rather than the regular .docx for documents. Word 2013 can also use templates from Word 2003 and earlier, which have .dot extensions, and macro-enabled templates, which have .dotm extensions.

How to modify an existing Word 2013 template

Templates provide great shortcuts to document formatting, but if a template isn’t exactly what you want it to be, you waste time each time you use it, making the same modifications over and over. For example, perhaps you find yourself changing the colors each time or filling in the same placeholders with your company’s data. It is often easier to make changes to the template itself once.

  1. Open a template.

    The template opens for editing.

    image0.jpg

  2. Choose File→Options, click Save, and note the location in the Default Personal Templates Location text box. Then click OK to close the dialog box.

    image1.jpg

    If no entry is in the Default Personal Templates Location text box, enter a location that you would like to use for your templates. For example, you might create a Custom Templates folder in your Documents folder for this purpose. You won’t be able to access your saved templates unless a location is listed in this text box.

  3. Save the template file in the location you noted in Step 2.

  4. Triple-click the a placeholder, [Your Jr. High School] in this example, to select it and then type in the information, i.e., Dayton Junior High School.

  5. Save the template and close it.

  6. Choose File→New and then click the Personal heading. Then click your template.

    A new document opens that uses the customized version of the template.

    Note: If the Personal heading does not appear, go back to Step 2 and make sure you set a location in the Word Options dialog box for your personal templates.

    image2.jpg

  7. Close the new document without saving the changes to it.

How to create a new Word 2013 template

You can create your own templates whenever you like. These might contain sample content you’ve created, plus special margin settings, extra styles, or anything else that you want to reuse.

  1. Press Ctrl+N to start a new document based on the Normal template (a blank document with default settings).

  2. Choose Page Layout→Margins→Moderate to change the document margins.

    image3.jpg

  3. Choose Design→Page Color and select Blue, Accent 1, Lighter 80%.

    image4.jpg

  4. Choose Insert→Header→Motion (Even Page).

    image5.jpg

  5. Choose File→Export→Change File Type→Template.

  6. Click the Save As button.

    The Save As dialog box opens, with the appropriate file type already selected.

  7. Navigate to the location where you store your personal templates.

    See Step 2 in the previous exercise for assistance in determining that location if needed.

  8. In the File Name box, type a template name, such as Blue, and then click Save.

    The new template is saved.

  9. Choose File→Close to close the template.

  10. Choose File→New and then click the Personal heading.

    Your new template appears as a thumbnail image.

  11. Click the Blue template to create a new document based upon it.

  12. Close the new document without saving.