The tutorial I wrote on personalizing letters using Word’s mail merge prompted questions about making company letterheads. There are probably many ways to create these. One simple and free way to make a letterhead is to use the header and footer area and save the document as a Word template.
I don’t send out enough correspondence to need a supply of printed letterhead. Instead, I use a Word letterhead template that fills in my logo and address. Whenever I need to use the letterhead, I just create the document using that template. You can also use Google Docs to create a similar letterhead.
Deciding the Letterhead Elements and Placement
Although creating a letterhead is simple, you still need to do some planning. I find it helps to take a blank sheet of paper and sketch my data elements. Some items you might consider include:
- Phone numbers (voice and fax)
- Web address
- Email address
- Professional license numbers
- Established date
Once you’ve come up with the items to include, you should determine their placement. I split my elements between my header and footer.
Take Care When Using Graphics
Graphic images can pose issues. You may find you have a great graphic, but your computer printer doesn’t do it justice. Your printer’s capabilities aren’t good enough to display the image. And we all know how pictures differ when you’re running low on ink. The flip side is when you have a great printer, but the image file isn’t as good as it should be.
If you work for a company or organization, you should check if they have an identity or style guide. Often times, they will have approved graphics they can give you in the appropriate image size and file format.
Creating the Letterhead Header
In this tutorial, I’ll create a simple template. The header will have my logo and the footer will have my mailing address.
- Start with a blank Word document using the Print Layout view.
- From the Insert tab, select Header. Word will display the Header box with various styles.
- Click the style you prefer.
- From the File tab, click Picture and then From File…
- The Insert File dialog will open. Find your graphic file and click Insert.
- If you wish to align your graphic, click it and use the toolbar alignment buttons.
- Add any other text you might like in this area.
Tip: It’s a good idea to click the image to see if extra white space appears in the graphic. If you need to edit or crop the image file, I would use a screen capture and editor like SnagIt rather than Word.
Creating the Letterhead Footer
In the footer area, I include my address with a smaller font and a vertical line. I also center the text.
- From the Insert tab, select Header. Word will display the Footer box with various styles.
- Click the style you prefer.
- Add in your text such as your address.
- If you wish to change the font, highlight your text and right-click. This will open the mini format bar.
- Click the Close Header and Footer button
If you’re viewing your document in Print Layout mode, you should see your footer. If you don’t see anything, check your setting under the View menu.
This is also a good time to print a copy to check the color and clarity of the artwork. Your online version may show colors that are muted, but print fine. You may also need to adjust your printer settings if they are in draft or economical print mode.
Saving the Letterhead as a Template
Aside from tweaking your header and footer, you may want to adjust other properties before saving the file. For example, you might change the margins, fonts or style.
- From the File menu, select Save As…
- In the Save As dialog, change the Save as type: to Document Template (*.dotx). You should save the file in your Templates folder. On my system, the template folder is C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\
- Provide a descriptive name for your template such as “letterhead”.
- Click Save.
Using the Template
When you create a Word document, Microsoft uses the default template called normal.dotm. Since we don’t want to use our new template as the default, we’ll have to point Microsoft to it.
To use this template,
- Open Word and select File and New
- Click the My templates button at the top.
- In the Templates dialog box, click your template.
- Click OK.
Creating a letterhead template won’t take care of your correspondence. You’ll still have to write your letters. At least you won’t have to type your name and address information each time.
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