How to Create Templates

computer image by Hao Wang from

Creating a template either in Microsoft Word or OpenOffice is not hard. You can choose from a variety of templates such as academic papers, business cards and correspondence, budgets and presentations. Both Word and OpenOffice have already created templates that you can modify for your own purposes or you can create templates with your specific and customized designs. Word and OpenOffice have similar capabilities but there are minor and negligible differences between the two word processing software programs.


Download template packs from the OpenOffice extension repository. OpenOffice, when first installed, has a limited number of templates. There are templates with a variety of situations for school, home and business. There are also templates in foreign languages.

Click File in the toolbar and then click New. Click Templates and Documents. You will see several choices in this menu of New Documents, Templates, My Documents and Samples. Click Templates.

Choose, if you want to modify a template, from the next menu. You have the options of Business Correspondence; Education; Finances; Miscellaneous, which includes items such as a template for a gift certificate; My Templates for those templates that you have already created; Other Business Documents like press releases; Personal Correspondence; and Documents, Presentations and Presentation Backgrounds.

Type your text into the template to modify the document. Add, if you choose, graphics to enhance the manuscript. Use photographs or clipart from your hard drive. There are also extensions from the OpenOffice repository that offer basic clipart graphics. Click Tools and then Gallery to use these items. Save the document in OpenOffice as an .ott (ODF Text Document Template). You also have the options of saving as a .stw (OpenOffice 1.0) or a .vor (StarWriter).

Add graphics and words to a blank template if you want to design your own document. Save as an .ott or other template formats.

Microsoft Office Word

Click the Office Button and click New.

In the New menu, click Blank Document and then Create. Alternatively, click New From Existing to modify a prefabricated template. Choose the template that you want to use.

Create the format and margin specifications that you require. Add graphics to the manuscript if required. You can add graphics from your hard drive or go online and search for graphics from the Microsoft website.

Click the Office Button. Use the Save As function to save the document as .dotx, a Word Template file.

Download templates from the Microsoft website if you want to save time and simply modify a template. Save the modified template as a Word template (.dotx)


  • You can open many Word templates in OpenOffice but use a .cab extractor to first extract the template from the .cab to a folder if you are using Linux as your operating system.


  • You cannot open .pub (Publisher) files with OpenOffice.



About the Author

Anne Cagle has been writing ever since she was a toddler who could scribble with crayons. Her first published article, at age 12, was in a teachers' newsletter. She was published in "Optical Prism" magazine and has worked as a reviewer for the Webby Awards. She holds a degree in English from the University of Oregon.

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