Have you ever wanted to create a custom letterhead to impress clients? Or, maybe you’ve decided to set up a home business? Either way, you don’t need to order from a printer or graphic designer. This simple guide will show you how to create a professional letterhead in Microsoft Word without needing design skills.
I’ll use Microsoft Word for this step-by-step tutorial, which is included in Microsoft 365 (Previously called Office 365). I’ve also done a Google Docs letterhead as well. In addition, you can use a letterhead when doing a mail merge.
Informational & Design Elements
The key to the letterhead design is first to decide what you want to display. Although creating the template is simple, you should do some planning. I find it helps to take a blank sheet of paper and sketch my design. Nothing fancy as this is a mockup. This will help you choose the starting header. The good news is once you grasp the power of templates, you can make changes or use different versions.
The list of elements can vary based on whether you’re an individual, organization, or company. For example, if you’re doing a church letterhead, you might not have a slogan, or if you’re a professional law firm, you may not have social media addresses. To get you started, here are some items to consider:
- Brand Logo
- Slogan or tagline
- Phone numbers (office and cell)
- Web address
- Email address
- Professional license numbers
- Memberships and awards
- Established date
- Social media addresses
Once you’ve come up with the items to include, you should determine their placement. For example, I split my elements between Microsoft’s Word header and footer.
Template Graphics Considerations
Clearly, images or logos can improve the design and be impactful. But images can pose design problems. For example, you may find a great graphic, but your computer printer doesn’t do it justice. This is because 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 printer ink.
The flip side is when you have a great printer, but the image file isn’t as good as it should be. This could be a result of reducing the image file size too much, so it appears pixelated.
Another issue is that the image you pull in has too much white space, so you need to crop or adjust the image. Again, an image capture program like SnagIt can do crops and adjustments.
If you work for a company or organization, you should check if they have an identity or “style guide.” They will often have approved graphics they can give you in the appropriate image size and file format. Just like templates, style guides can range from simple to complex. For example, HubSpot has a lengthy article that includes examples.
Add a Logo to the Header
In this tutorial, I’ll create a simple template. It shares some of the steps we used for our Cornell Notes template. The header will have my site logo, and the footer will have my postal address. And yes, Microsoft Word could handle my new logo, which is an SVG file.
- Start with a blank Word document.
- Click the View menu and select Print Layout.
- From the Insert menu, select Header. Microsoft Word will display a list with numerous starting Header styles.
- Click the style you prefer. I will use the top Blank style. You’re now in “Design” mode and you should see a Header marker tab to the left and placeholder text above.
- While on the Design menu, click Pictures from the Insert section. If your image is too large, it will scale down to fit the width.
- The Insert File dialog will open. Find your graphic file and click Insert.
- Review your image to see if it’s balanced. In the example below, I think my logo is twice the size I prefer.
- Right-click your image and select Size and Position…
- A dialog appears with various resizing options. My initial logo was 20% and I reduced it down to 10%.
- Click OK to accept new image size. The image will left-align.
- Click the image.
- Click Home.
- Click the Center Alignment button in the Paragraph section.
- Optional: Add any other text you might like in this area.
Add the Letterhead Footer
I include my address with a smaller font and a vertical line or pipe sign in the footer area. I also centered the text.
- From the Insert menu, select Footer. Word will display a series of Footer styles.
- Click the style you prefer. A placeholder footer appears.
- 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.
- Optional: If you wish to center your text, click the Home menu and then the Center text button.
- Double-click the small Footer marker at the top left to get out of footer design mode.
This is also a good time to print your letterhead to check any artwork’s color and clarity. 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.
If you need to edit either the header or footer to get into design mode, double-click anywhere in the footer or header area. The small tab markers will show to the far left.
Save the Letterhead Template – (*.dotx)
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).
- Provide a descriptive name for your template such as “letterhead”.
- Click Save.
Using Your Letterhead Template
When you saved the template, Microsoft Word stored it in a templates folder. On my Windows 10 system, this is “C:\Users\Anne\Documents\Custom Office Templates\letterhead-tutorial.dotx”.
To use the letterhead template,
- Open Microsoft Word and select New either from the File menu or Backstage view.
- Click Personal.
- Double-click the template you wish to use. A new document will open based on your selection.
Creating a custom letterhead won’t take care of your correspondence. You’ll still have to write your letters. But, at least you won’t have to type your contact details each time. And you can also use this template to have your letterhead bulk printed. Many printers can use a Word file or PDF file for a print run.