Both Word and Excel are powerful programs for creating forms and other “reusable” documents. However, unless you take care to lock these documents down, they can easily be overwritten.
Have you ever opened up an existing document on your computer, meaning to Save As a different file, but after changing a bunch of information, you accidentally hit Save instead, overwriting the original file?
It’s a pain, but it happens, all the time. Even to the best of us. But, you can protect yourself from problems like these by turning your document into a template.
Reasons to Create a Template
- When you are creating a reusable form
- To lock the form down so it can’t be overwritten
- If you want your document to automatically Save As when you hit save
How to Create a Template
Creating a template out of a Word or Excel file is extremely easy. All you have to do is change one setting when you’re saving the file.
First setup your form. When you’re ready, go to File > Save As. In the File Name field, type in the name of your template. Then, from the Save As Type dropdown (underneath the File Name field) select Word Template (or Excel Template).
Important Note: Be mindful! Sometimes when you select Template, the Save As location changes, so make sure you are still saving the file in the proper location prior to hitting Save.
How to Edit a Template
Editing a template is easy, but does require a few extra steps. If you open the document by double clicking on it, it will open a new instance of the document, and when you hit save it will ask you where you want to save the document. This is NOT the same as editing it, and any changes made will not be saved to the main template.
Instead, to edit your template you have to open it slightly differently. Navigate to your template file, and right click on it. Then click on Open (older versions may say Edit). Now you are editing the main template, and any changes made will be saved to the template.
(Note: Changes only apply to future uses, and will not update past forms created with outdated template.)
Creating, editing, and using templates are so easy that once you start to use them, you’ll wonder how you got along without them.