Creating New Documents

In our past few newsletters, we’ve been talking about templates–attaching them, creating them, and so on. There’s still one area we haven’t talked about: creating *new* documents based on existing templates. If you’re an editor, you may be thinking, “I usually work on documents someone else has created.” True enough. However, as an editor you probably also:

* send letters to clients.

* send invoices to clients.

* write jacket blurbs.

* write manuscript reviews.

* send out an occasional resume.

And so on. If you create such documents using templates that fit your needs, you’ll save time and frustration, and you’ll also look more professional. For example, I’ve created a letterhead template that includes the Editorium logo from our Web site, my business address, and a date field, and I’ve stored it in Microsoft Word’s Templates folder. When I need to write a letter, I do this:

1. Click Word’s “File” menu.

2. Click “New.”

3. Click my letterhead template (Letterhead.dot).

4. Click the “OK” button.

Word creates a new document with the Editorium logo, business address, and the current date. All I have to do is type in the text of my letter. Slick! I’ve also modified Word’s built-in invoice template and created templates for different kinds of writing projects. I seldom need to create a new document from scratch.

When you *attach* a template to an existing document (as explained in previous newsletters), the styles from the template will be copied to the new document. However, any *text* in the template will *not* be copied. You’ll probably use this feature most for documents you’re editing.

When you use a template to *create* a new document, any text in the template *will* be copied to the new document (along with styles). You’ll probably use this feature most for documents you’re writing.

For example, if you write rejection letters to authors, having some “boilerplate” text in a template will save you lots of time. Just create a new document based on your Rejection template, modify the document as needed (inserting the author’s name and some specific comments, for example), and you’re done!

Please note that if you create a document by pressing CTRL + N or clicking the “New” button (on the far left of the Standard toolbar), Microsoft Word won’t let you select a template to use. It will simply create the new document based on your Normal template. Since that’s the case, you should modify your Normal template to create the kind of document you need most often.

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