Templates Take II: Word, Plus Excel and PowerPointExcel and PowerPoint templates offer worksheets and presentations.
Jim Welp, PCWorld.com
You can use templates to quickly create formatted documents or to override Word's default settings. In a nutshell, a template is a boilerplate document that contains settings, formatting, and styles you use frequently for various tasks. When you base a new document on a template, you don't have to re-create all those elements.
Last week I wrote about Word templates. This week I'll look at how templates work in Excel and PowerPoint. But first, I'd like to point out a neat new feature in Word 2002 that improves the whole template creation process.
Another Word About Word Templates
If you already have a highly customized Word document you'd like to use as a template, you don't have to re-create all its settings to make a new template from scratch. Word 2002 lets you create a new file based on the existing document, then save it as a template:
- If the Task Pane isn't on screen, open it by choosing View, Task Pane.
- In the middle of the New Document Task Pane you'll find a section labeled "New from existing document." Under that heading, click "Choose document."
- When the "New from Existing Document" dialog box opens, find your document, select it, and click Create New.
- Make any changes appropriate for a template, then click the Save icon to open the Save As dialog box.
- In the "Save as type" drop-down list, choose Document Template (*.dot). Word automatically switches the file destination to the Templates folder.
- Give the template a file name (being sure to keep the.dot extension) and click Save.
Now your new template will appear when you click General Templates on the Task Pane (under "New from template"). Just double-click its icon to open a new document with the template's settings.
Excel Gets Into Templates
Custom templates can save a lot of time in Excel, particularly if you often create routine worksheets like invoices or purchase orders. To check out Excel's built-in templates, open the Task Pane by choosing File, New. In the Task Pane's "New from template" section, click General Templates. In the Templates dialog box, click the Spreadsheet Solutions tab to display the templates that come with Excel.
Excel has templates for a balance sheet, an expense statement, a loan amortization, a sales invoice, and a time card. Double-click any of them to open a new worksheet, then customize it as you wish, and save it by clicking the Save icon. In the Save dialog box, choose a destination for your file, name it, and click Save.
If the prefab templates don't meet your needs, you can easily create your own, either by creating a new worksheet to serve as your template or by using an existing one:
- To use an existing worksheet (the easiest option), open the Task Pane by choosing File, New.
- Click Choose Workbook in the "New from existing workbook" section of the Task Pane.
- Find and select your worksheet, click Create New, then customize the file as you as you wish.
- Choose File, Save As.
- In the "Save as type" drop-down list, choose Template (*.xlt). Excel automatically switches to the Templates folder.
- Name your file, making sure to keep the.xlt file extension.
- Click Save and you've got yourself a template.
To use your new template, click General Templates on the Task Pane, then click the General tab in the Templates dialog box and double-click the template's icon.
By now you get the idea, so it would be redundant of me to repeat the whole process for PowerPoint. So here's the "Cliff's Notes for Dummies" version: On PowerPoint's Task Pane, click General Templates to open the Template dialog box. Here you'll find three tabs: General, Design Templates, and Presentations. The Design Templates tab offers a slew of slide designs. If you can't find something you like, well, you're picky. The Presentations tab offers a plethora of complete presentations, ready for you to fill in the blanks. There are templates for everything from a business plan to a company meeting to a marketing plan. Just double-click a design or a presentation to launch a new presentation using the template's settings.
Even with all of those built-in templates, you still might want to create your own, particularly if you have company logos or other graphics you've created especially for your presentations. Here's how:
- To create a custom template, open the file you want to save as a template by clicking "Choose presentation" from the Task Pane's "New from existing presentation" section (or create one from scratch).
- Choose File, Save As.
- In the "Save as type" drop-down list, choose Template (*.pot). PowerPoint automatically switches to the Templates folder.
- Choose a name for your template, making sure to preserve the.pot file extension, and click Save.
You'll find your new template on the General tab in the Templates dialog box.
Even though Office XP provides dozens and dozens of templates, you'll naturally want more. No problem. In Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, open the Task Pane and click "Templates on Microsoft.com." This links you to a page on Microsoft's site where you'll find more templates than you could ever possibly use. Click a template to preview it; if you like it, click the link called "Edit in Word/Excel/PowerPoint" (this depends upon the application it was created for). Quicker than you can say "cheat sheet," the file downloads and automatically opens in the proper application, where you can save it.
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