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Modify an Existing Word Template

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 by | Filed Under: MS Word

Does MS Word have a template that you really like? Well, except for a couple of small things here and there, of course. You know, maybe you always remove the word “confidential” from a footer or there’s a graphic you never keep when you use this template.

What’s your solution?

Most people I know simply use the template and repeatedly make the same changes each time they use it.

While this plan works, it’s quite annoying to make those changes over and over again. I’m all for removing unnecessary repetitive efforts, so let’s see what we can do with this particular dilemma… like creating a new template from the old one. A new template that includes our modifications…

We need to get to Word’s Templates window. Of couse, the process is different based on the version you use so here’s the different instructions…

  • In older versions of Word I was able to accomplish this by clicking on General Templates in the New Document Task Pane.


  • For those of you with Word 2007 you need the Office Button, New choice. You’ll find yourself looking at this:


The New Documents dialog window is actually a couple of things in one. First, using the links on the bottom of the left hand list you can locate and download templates from Microsoft Office Online. If it’s one of these that you are looking to use then you’ll have to get it downloaded prior to proceeding.

The second thing that this dialog box will do is to give you access to your already installed templates. This includes templates that came with Word as well as ones that you’ve downloaded.

If you want to alter one that came with Word then click Installed Templates in the top left. (You won’t switch to a dialog box like the one below, you’ll still be in the New Document dialog box but the necessary settings mentioned in the rest of the directions will be there.)

If you want to alter one that you’ve downloaded to previously downloaded then click My Templates in the top left.

Now everyone, regardless of the version of Word you use needs to locate and select the template that you wish to modify.

But wait! Don’t click OK (Create in portions of Word 2007) yet.

Just above the OK (Create) and Cancel buttons, there’s the Create New section. (It looks slightly different in Word 2007 if you selected “Installed Templates”… but the same choices are there in the same location.)


Be sure to select Template.

Now, click OK (Create).

You’ll be taken back into Word with the template opened and ready for your modifications.

At this point, it’s time to make those adjustments to the template that you want to be permanent. Change all the things that will make the template more useful to you.

When you’re all done with the changes, you’re ready to save it. (File menu / Office Button, Save As choice).

When the Save As dialog box opens, you’ll find that Word has already navigated to the location for saving templates and already has the file type set to a Word Template.

All you have to do is name it something useful and click Save.

Later, when you need to use your template again, you should be able to find it under the General Tab in the Templates dialog box for older versions of Word and under My Templates in Word 2007.

There you have it. Who knew that tampering with Word’s templates could be so useful and easy?!

~ April

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