Ever get tired of creating the same document type, over and over, from scratch?  Then don’t.  Build a template instead.  A template will have all the basic elements of your document in it (a signature block, a custom header/footer, whatever you need), saving you repetitive effort every time you create a new document.

What’s that?  You don’t know how to create a template?  You’re in luck.  I’m about to build one for myself.  And I’ll even let you watch over my shoulder while I do it.

Here’s how I’d proceed:

  • I’d start a brand-new document.  (You can also take a previously-saved document if you’re looking to make a template for, say, a certain type of discovery requests, etc.  Just remember to strip out anything client-specific.)
  • I’d put in whatever form elements I want to use as “boilerplate.”  I could, for example, put in bare bones of a federal court pleading header, my special table-based “footer trick,” and a form Certificate of Service.

The trick to making a Word document into a template is how you save it. A Word template has the extension .dotx in Word 2007 and up.  To save a document as a template, here’s how you do it in the various versions of Word:

  • Version 2007: Click the Microsoft Office Button (the round button in the upper left-hand corner) and choose Save As.  Choose a location for your template, then choose Word Template in the Save As Type box.
  • Versions 2010 and up: Go to the File tab and choose Save As, then proceed as with version 2007.

Now, the next time I create a new federal court pleading, all I have to do is create a new document (File tab, New), choosing the template I’ve just created so that I start with a basic layout already in place.

What sort of templates will you be building, now that you know how?

(P.S.: By the way, this trick is also good in any Microsoft Office application.  So go forth and build!)

Similar Posts