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Create It My Way

Thursday, January 19th, 2006 by | Filed Under: MS Excel, MS Office Help

Create It My Way

Do you have settings in MS Excel such as formatting or choices from the Options window that you’re constantly changing because Excel’s blank workbook never seems to have things “the way you left them”? For example, Monday’s setting for accepting labels in formulas. Excel’s default is to not have that option checked.

Wouldn’t it be nice to make these changes just once so that all new workbooks are created exactly as you need them? If you thought this was an impossible dream then you’re in for a treat, because that’s exactly what we’re going to cover today.

Basically, you need to create a template that contains all these elements you want to keep, but it’s not just any template. It’s got to be named and saved a certain way to make it the model for all future blank workbooks.

Begin with a blank workbook. Now modify this blank workbook with the formatting, options, etc. that you want on every blank workbook.

When the Save As window opens, you’ll first need to name your file “book.xlt”, then you’ll have to use the Save as type list to choose Template.


Once you make the change of file type, you’ll be put into the templates folder but don’t save here. Templates saved here are available under General Templates from the File menu, New choice but do not control how new workbooks behave.

You’ll need to locate your XLStart folder. Excel suggests that it may be located at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10\XLStart

It’s here, in the XLStart folder that you should save the template named book.xlt

When you’ve got the right name, file type, and location, click the Save button.

Voila! Now new workbooks should be created with all your required specifications.

If you change your mind and want to go back to the way it was before you made the book.xlt file, just locate and delete it. Excel will revert to the standard defaults.

If you want to make further modifications, just repeat the process, saving again with the name book.xlt in the XLStart folder. When prompted, choose to replace the current file with the new one.

One more impossible dream to cross off the list.

~ April

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