Saturday, March 25, 2006

Taming Templates

The objectives of this workshop are, that at its conclusion, you will:

» recognize a template

» understand the use and value of templates

» understand how to find and use programme templates

» know where to find freeware templates on the World Wide Web

» appreciate the wide range of available templates

» be able to download the above templates

» be able to manipulate standard templates for your own personal use

» save, file and recover templates for later use

» be aware of freeware software for creating templates.

What is a Template?

A document or file having a preset format, used as a starting point for a particular application so that the format does not have to be recreated each time it is used: a business card template for a word processing programme.

Use and value of templates

The main use and value of a template is to provide a standard format for a document or file so that it can be easily retrieved and not have to be recreated each time it needs to be used.

Finding and using programme templates

Most programmes used for editing documents or files have either built in or on-line templates. For example with MS Word and MS PowerPoint, templates are opened using the command File/New. If you cannot see the template that you need you are given the option of going on-line to retrieve a wide range of programme relevant templates. Similarly, in photo editing programmes like Serif Photo Plus (used by SeniorNet), using the command File/New will open a window that asks you what size, resolution and background colour you desire for your image.

Where to find freeware templates on the World Wide Web

While there are a massive number of web sites that provide commercial templates there are an equally large number that provide free templates. Many of the free web templates are associated with commercial programmes such as MS Word and MS PowerPoint as noted above. Others - generally of high quality - are provided as a free service by individuals and organisations.

How do you find these templates? The technique is simple. While the most commonly used web search engine is Google, most of what is described here can be applied in principle to all search engines.

By entering the words freeware (or free) templates as keywords in the search box of Google you will retrieve around nearly 17 million sites. You will notice that the key sites that turn up are mainly those related to web site templates.

To make your search more relevant try the above keywords with the addition of the term (minus) website i.e. free template –website. This search will reduce the sites found to (only!) about 7 million. It is not recommended you attempt to trawl all of the above sites! Your most relevant sites are usually found in the first couple of pages retrieved.

To be more specific e.g. to find MS Word templates, use the terms freeware (or free) MS Word templates. This will retrieve about 2 million related templates. A point of warning here is that if you use the word free you may get templates that are free to download but have to be purchased – be aware of this distinction. By using the word freeware it is more likely the template will be free to download and use. What you will notice is that use of these search terms will also retrieve other MS Office suite templates i.e. PowerPoint and Excel.

To be very specific in the case of MS (Microsoft) templates use the terms free MS templates or free MS Office templates. These terms will reveal 4 million and 1 million respectively!

The first site that shows on both the above searches is the Microsoft Office Templates Home Page at It is believed to contain around 3000 MS Office related templates.

A search in the box at the top of the page for a specific template will narrow the search e.g. putting the word card will bring up 100 different card type templates. If you narrow this search to business card you will get a similar number of hits but they will be sorted with the more relevant at the top of the list. By selecting the card you want it can be downloaded ready to manipulate for your own purposes. Saving to the Desktop is the easiest option until you decide the final fate of a downloaded file.

NOTE: The web address above has the term –us in the URL. By changing that to –au you will reach the Australian MS Office template site. This has a different range of templates specifically devoted to A4 page printing (though this is not generally an issue as long as you remember to check before printing!).

Another feature you should note on the above page is that underneath the Templates link at the top left of this page is a link Clip Art and Media which takes you to several thousand downloadable, indexed images.

Another useful site is that of HP templates and images page which can be accessed at The site has e.g. materials such as brochures, letterhead, cards, presentations, job applications, calendars, and more, with easy to use, customizable templates and images.

Downloading templates

Download instructions are generally site specific but simple. The best advice that can be given is that templates should be downloaded to a specific folder that you have established (named Downloads?) or to the Desktop awaiting manipulation.

Manipulate standard templates for your own personal use

Templates are treated as a normal document or file according to the application you are using to manipulate the template, once they have been loaded into the application.

File and recover templates for later use

See downloading templates above. It is suggested that templates be stored in e.g. a newly created Templates folder i.e. My Documents/ Templates folder. MS programmes have a specific templates folder. Its location varies with the version of the programme.

Freeware software for creating templates

A good starting point is at the freeware Serif software home page found at the web site It has free a desktop publishing programme with ads & brochures, business stationery, flyers & forms, invitations, greeting cards and over 500+ free templates. It is equivalent (but free) to PowerPoint. It also has a selection of other free programmes.

Templates on the Web - click to go to the link
Avery - Software - Details
BLOGGER TEMPLATES :: A template for my blog
Download details: Teaching and Learning Template Installer
Download Free PowerPoint Templates
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Education World® : Teacher Tools & Templates
Excel add in ASAP Utilities free MS Excel tools. Add ins for Microsoft Excel 97, XP, 2000, 2003. Numbering, decompiler, add time in excel, statistics, data analysis, statistical, hours excell add in. Excel addin erstellen. XP freeware 2000, 97. VBA addins spreadsheet macros macro. 79
Excel add-ins
Free Download - askSam Database Templates
Free Microsoft Word Templates - Find Microsoft Word Templates and Tutorials
HP Small & Medium Business - Business templates & images
Microsoft Office Assistance: Create party invitations, envelopes, and labels in Word
Microsoft Office Assistance: Four ways to get help with templates
Microsoft Office Assistance: Guide for nonprofits: Free Office tools and tips
Microsoft Office Online: Taming Templates columns from Office Online
Microsoft Office Templates Home Page
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Templates in Microsoft Word - one of the Tutorials in the Intermediate Users Guide to Microsoft Word
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Web Resources for Microsoft Word from the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)