Have you ever wanted to make 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 easy tutorial will show you how to create a letterhead in Word without needing design skills.
I’ll be using Microsoft Word for this step-by-step tutorial, which is included in Microsoft 365 (Formerly Office 365). I’ve also done a Google Docs letterhead as well. As a bonus, you can use a letterhead when doing a mail merge.
Informational & Design Elements
The key to letterhead design is deciding what you want to display. Although creating the template is simple, you should do some planning. It helps to take a blank sheet of paper and sketch your design. Nothing fancy, as this is a mockup. This will help you choose the starting page header. The good news is once you grasp the power of templates, you can make changes or use different versions.
When creating your templates, you might consider using Quick Parts to add reusable assets to the Building Block Organizer. Then, you can easily find and insert those parts into other document areas.
The list of elements can vary based on whether you’re an individual, organization, or company. For example, if you’re doing a company letterhead, you might not have a slogan, or if you’re a law firm, you may not have social media addresses. To get you started, here are some visual elements to consider:
- Brand Logo
- Slogan or tagline
- Mailing Address
- Phone numbers (office and mobile)
- Web address
- Email address
- Professional license numbers
- Memberships and awards
- Established date
- Social media addresses
- color scheme
Once you’ve identified 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
Images or logos can improve the design and be impactful. But pictures can pose design problems. For example, you may find a great graphic, but your office 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 superb printer, but the image file isn’t as good as it should be. This could result from reducing the image file size too much, so it appears pixelated.
Another issue is that the image you use has too much white space, so you need to crop or adjust the image. But, 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 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 starting from a blank document. It shares some of the steps we used for our Cornell Notes template. The page header will have my site logo, and the page 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. It’s in the Header & Footer group. 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 to fit the width.
- The Insert File dialog box will open. Find your graphic file and click Insert.
- Review your image to see if it’s balanced. I think my logo is twice my preferred size in the example below.
- 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 to 10%.
- Click OK to accept the 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.
Create 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 tab 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 custom 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 the header or footer to get into design mode, double-click anywhere in the header or footer 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 Word Letterhead Template
When you saved the template, Microsoft Word stored it in a templates folder. However, you can create a custom location if you prefer.
To use the letterhead template,
- Open Microsoft Word and select New 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.
How to Find Your Templates Folder
Microsoft stores your templates in a designated folder. You can find the location using these steps.
- Click the File menu from the ribbon.
- From the left navigation pane, click Options.
- From the Word Options dialog box, click Advanced.
- Scroll to the General section. It’s towards the bottom.
- Click the File Locations… button.
- In the File Locations dialog box, double-click User templates.
- Windows File Explorer will open the folder.
- Click the Cancel button.
If you need to find the full file path, you can shift + right-click on the file name.
Show Me How Video
This 4-minute video was recorded using Microsoft Office 365. Click the image below to see the video page.
Key Points & Takeaways
- You can create a custom letterhead in Microsoft Word without needing design skills.
- The first key to letterhead design is deciding what you want to display.
- Consider using Quick Parts in Word to add reusable assets to the Building Block Organizer. These can be used across different documents.
- Images or logos can improve the design but can also pose design problems.
- If you work for a company or organization, you should check if they have an identity or “style guide.”