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: Understanding Templates.

Understanding Templates

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 19, 2016)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


A template is nothing more than a pattern used by Word to describe how your document looks and how you interact with the document. Templates contain formatting information, a style sheet, macros, toolbar and menu modifications, and boilerplate text.

In Word, templates all end with the DOT extension (this stands for DOcument Template). If you want to create a template, you follow these steps:

  1. Start a new document.
  2. Make your changes to formatting, macros, and the toolbar and menus.
  3. Save with Document Template (*.dot) selected in the Save As Type drop-down list.

That's all there is to it. Generally, selecting Document Template in the Save As Type drop-down list will move you to your templates directory. However, you should make sure that you save your new template file in the same directory with all your other template files. That way it will be available for future use.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (466) 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: Understanding 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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