Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Managing Corporate Templates.

Managing Corporate Templates

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 2, 2015)

In a corporate environment that uses Word, it is not uncommon that the company has developed a standard set of templates that define the "look" wanted for corporate communications. Unfortunately, if users make changes to the styles within the templates (there are many ways to do this without even purposefully trying) then the original templates can easily become corrupted.

For instance, let's say that Mary uses the corporate template to create a letter, and then saves the letter to disk. Later, Bill creates a letter using the same template, but makes a couple of changes to the styles in the course of creating and saving his document. The next time Mary opens her letter, the style changes made by Bill will affect the look of her letter.

Getting around this problem involves a three-pronged approach. First, you need to save your corporate templates in a protected manner; second, you need to set up Word to access them properly; and third, you need to do some user education.

First, make sure your templates are stored on the company's network server in a special folder you created just for the purpose of storing the templates. Make sure that everyone has access to the folder, but it should be read-only access. In addition, it doesn't hurt to make sure that the templates are saved as read-only. If you have any problems with setting up and storing the templates in this manner, your network administrator should be able to do it quite quickly.

Second, follow these steps within Word:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the Advanced option at the left of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll through the list of options until you see the General section.
  4. Click the File Locations button. Word displays the File Locations dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The File Locations dialog box.

  6. Make sure that the Workgroup Templates specification points to the special network server folder you set up in the previous step.
  7. Make sure the User Templates option is set to a private folder either on the user's hard drive or within their space on the network server.
  8. Click OK.

Third, instruct users that if they want to make changes to a template (so they can use those changes over and over again) they should copy the template from the protected area on the network server to their user template area and give the template a new name. (This copying should take place outside of Word, using the capabilities of Windows itself.) Changes can now be made to the template without affecting anyone else.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9444) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Managing Corporate Templates.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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