If you've not played with templates, this is a good time to start. Templates take much the drudgery out of tasks. Although most people think of templates for word processors, other applications use them. The idea behind a template is to provide a framework that you can reuse or modify such as adding your company name or graphics.
Some templates are used for repeating tasks such as time sheets and others are for less frequent uses such as resumes. There are even templates to help you with New Year's resolutions or travel planning you may not have started.
Microsoft Office Templates Site
You would expect Microsoft to offer software templates for their products, but would you believe they offer over 3000? This includes templates for most of their business products. The product list includes:
Depending on which Microsoft program and version you use, you can see your installed templates by using the New command from the File menu. Either a Templates dialog or a Templates section on the Task Pane will appear.
With Word 2003, the following dialog appears when I select On my computer from the New Document task pane. In the bottom left, there is a button that connects you to templates on the Microsoft Office Online site.
There are three ways to find a template on the Office Online site. The first method is to browse by category. This listing is useful if you have a need such as tracking time, but don't care whether you use Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. The categories cover everything from Address Books to Wills.
Clicking a category hyperlink such as Schedules displays an alphabetical listing. Each template shows a thumbnail, application icon, application version, download count and a rating. In some instances, the templates are provided by other companies. You can click the company hyperlink such as Pcubed to find out more about them and their services.
The template site also allows you to search for templates for a specific Microsoft Office program such as Microsoft Word. You can do this by scrolling to the bottom of the page where a drop down box shows (3) various Microsoft products.
One drawback to the template site is Microsoft prefers you use Internet Explorer. Its not a requirement, but if you use IE, an ActiveX component will automatically load the template. If you don't want to use IE, you have to manually load the template.
Microsoft Office Template site: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/default.aspx
HP Business Templates & Images
While HP's collection isn't as large as Microsoft's, its still a nice free resource. Most of the templates and artwork are free, but some of the modules link to partner sites for stock layouts or logo design. HP also includes templates for CorelDRAW.
The emphasis is on creating marketing materials that take advantage of their printers, inks or papers. However, there are other templates for common Human Resource forms such as performance reports.
Some of the templates reference the HP Photo Editor. This a free tool they offer that imports and resizes BMP and JPG images into your Word templates.
Before getting too far along in your next project, do yourself a favor and see if someone has done some of the groundwork. Even if you don't find precisely what you need, these software templates can give you ideas you can build on.
HP Business Template site: http://www.hp.com/sbso/productivity/office/index.html
3rd Party Excel Template Providers
While Microsoft and HP may be household names, they are not the only ones providing quality templates. There are plenty of lesser known players, without huge marketing budgets, who provide quality templates for free. One site that I like for Excel is Contextures, which is run by Debra Dalgleish. Apart from having great tips, there is also a section just for Excel templates that is worth checking out. The page is sorted by date with the newest entries at top. Each item has a short description that provides additional details.
Another good site for Excel templates is Vertex42. The site's tagline is "The guide to Excel in everything". I'm not enough of an expert to know if the claim is true, but they certainly have a nice assortment of Excel templates. One additional feature is they have categorized the templates into popular sections such as: calendars, budgets, invoices and so on.
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Last Updated (Sunday, 08 August 2010 16:54)