4 ways to simplify your life and show your style with templates
For most people, templates are the poor cousin of computer applications. They’re overlooked altogether, ignored as boring, or thought to be good only for the occasional party invitation. But templates are valuable workhorses that can save time and add style to your personal, school, and work life.
Using templates can help you avoid the frustration of the blank page, build study skills, make your documents impressive and appealing, express your creativity, and much more. All you have to do is select an appropriate template and customize it. If you are looking for help using templates with Microsoft Works, read our article, "Express yourself with Microsoft Works 9 templates." Where do I find a template? Microsoft Word comes with several templates already installed. To find them, click the File tab, and then select New. All of the templates currently installed are listed under Available Templates. If you don’t find the template you’re looking for there, you can download one from Microsoft Office 2010.com. Browse more than 40 template categories to find the perfect schedule, receipt, contract, worksheet, certificate, card, or other document. Word 2010 and Word 2007 make it easy to access this array of templates. You can preview all of the Office.com (called Microsoft Online in Word 2007) templates in the Available Templates window and download the one you want without leaving Word. At Office.com, you can find templates for coloring and other activities for kids, plus catalogs, planners, meeting minute forms, labels—and almost anything else you can think of. Check the available templates at Office.com often; new ones are being added all the time, like this graduation album design set. Use the new Office 2010 graduation template to create an album as unique as your graduate. After you’ve created or downloaded a template, it’s easy to access. Under Available Templates, select My Templates, and then select the template from the Personal Templates window. Why spend your time reinventing the wheel? Use templates. Here are some fun and helpful ways to use Office Word templates to create personal, school, and work documents designed just for you, your family, and your community. 1. Get organized, and stay in communication Some people like making lists and writing thank-you notes to teachers and others. Some people just don’t have the time. Office Online has Word templates for many of these everyday tasks. Browse the templates to see what you can find. Templates can help you simplify common tasks like these, stay organized, communicate more effectively, and keep track electronically—and neatly!—of all your necessary information. Here’s just a sampling of the list, schedule, form, and letter templates available: Youth sports snack schedule Youth sports emergency contact list Student attendance record Generic music staff Electronic teacher grade book Student database College costs calculator College comparison worksheet Notification to school of upcoming absence Letter to legislator urging action, to an official expressing concern, or to volunteers in thanks And don’t forget templates to help you create a unique calendar for your family, team, workgroup, or business. Lunar, retro, photo, Christmas planner—there are many choices available. 2. Build good study habits, and help improve your reports and research papers Sure, you can buy or write out your own flash cards. But you’ll be memorizing and studying faster if you use a template, and you might have a little more money in your packet. You can use basic vocabulary lists or create your own list of words associated with a specific book, topic, or language. With electronic notebook, research paper, and book report templates, you can make sure to keep track of all the information you gather, present it in the proper academic format, and make your final presentation appealing. Elementary school Multiplication table Multiplication flash cards Vocabulary flash cards Zebra print border for 4-by-6-inch lined note cards Middle and high school Base 12 multiplication, Excel periodic table, and square root sheets Electronic school notebook You can use OneNote notebooks to collect notes, gather research content and citations, keep track of your project’s schedule, and organize all of your information, including URLs, photos, videos, and more. Research paper in Modern Language Association (MLA) style Report cover with divider pages 3. Get noticed when searching for jobs Today, it’s especially important to make a good impression when you’re applying for a job. It’s also critical to impress colleagues and bosses with your qualifications, experience, and professionalism after you’ve landed that job. Microsoft Word offers many customizable templates for job seekers who want to get noticed—from résumés and business cards to correspondence and scheduling worksheets. Customize your cover letter and résumé The first thing a prospective employer or client sees is your cover letter and, of course, your résumé. These documents should both be professional, specific, and polished until they shine. Cover letter. Using a template as a guide, you can create a professional letter that helps distinguish you from the competition and a résumé tailored to both the job you’re seeking and to your own personality. Word has templates for a wide variety of situations you may need to include in your letter—jobs you’ve seen in ads or those that were referred by a mutual acquaintance, an explanation for an employment gap, a reminder of having met at a college career fair—in addition to templates that coordinate with specific kinds of résumés (chronological, technical, or entry-level, for example). Want to follow up with a prospective employer, thank someone for referring you, or thank an employer whose company you are leaving? There are templates for those letters, too. Résumé. No matter what kind of application materials you need—a basic résumé, a résumé for a specific profession or situation, or an academic curriculum vitae—Word has a template you can use as a starting point. Just select the appropriate template and then customize it to best represent your qualifications and express your unique qualities. There are templates for recent high-school and college graduates, transfers within a company, medical assistants, and ESL teachers, just to name a few. Using a job-specific template can help you best describe your strengths and experience. Selecting an appropriate professional-looking résumé form and personalizing it with specific color, design, and other choices can help make your job application stand out in a crowd. If you prefer to submit a digital portfolio, an Office PowerPoint template can get you started. Track your job search Applying for jobs is just the first step. After you’ve applied, you have to organize and keep track of your applications, follow-up correspondence, and interview schedules. To help you manage all of your job-related activities, use the Office Excel job search template. It can save you time, help you make sure you don’t forget anything essential, and guide you as you plan your next steps. Use the job search log template to track your résumé submissions, employer responses, interview dates, and more. 4. Express your creativity, and show others you appreciate their uniqueness Just because you’re using a computer application and a template to save time, get organized, and be professional doesn’t mean you can’t inject a little of your own unique personality into the documents you create. Using templates can actually make it easier for you to create documents that express your creativity and acknowledge the uniqueness of others. You might not be a painter, a poet, or an actor, but don’t let that keep you from being creative. With a template as your guide, it’s easy to express your individual style, no matter what kind of Word document you’re creating—a party invitation, a soccer game or household chore schedule, or even a gift certificate. Show your style on business cards. Business cards are often the most visually interesting and creative part of a job search or sales package. Whether you’re a student who wants to paint houses for the summer, a freelance writer, or an experienced retail sales person, printing creative, personalized business cards to hand out to contacts and prospective employers is a great way to show off your personal style. From subtle and elegant to hip and colorful, Word has more than 150 business card templates you can use to quickly design and print a card that is uniquely you and that prospective employers won’t soon forget. The painted business card and the photo business card templates are just two of the many ways you can use Word templates to communicate your unique personality. Show others you appreciate them for who they are. Students and team members always appreciate personal attention. You can use a Word template to create an award certificate customized for each student or team member, with images and colors that reflect their unique personality and contributions. Watch a video that shows you how. Show others you appreciate them with customized certificates. The personal touch, whether on a gift certificate, a greeting card, a party invitation, or even newsletters and stationery, is always welcome. Find a Word template to help you express yourself. Get to know Word templates! Far from boilerplate boring, they’re the first step in organizing, improving, and expressing yourself with your computer.
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