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Managing Corporate Templates

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Managing Corporate Templates.

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, within Word choose Options from the Tools menu, and then display the File Locations tab. Make sure that Workgroup Templates specification points to the special folder you set up in the previous step. Then, 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.

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 (9442) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Managing Corporate Templates.

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