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Tips for Using and Personalizing Templates

Aug 17, 2007
"Why reinvent the wheel?" your boss may ask. "Use a template instead. We're running a little behind schedule, and we need that thing up right now."

These lines may irritate many creative workers. But the fact still rings true. You do not have to reinvent the wheel. If a template exists build on it.

Remember that your creativity is not stifled by templates. In fact, they provide a basis for your creativity by freeing you from the tedium of organizing the needed structure. You can now focus on content instead!

However you still have to be careful of your use of templates. The improper use of such will definitely make your work substandard. Here are a few tips to help you avoid this occurrence.

Choose the Right Template

Choose the right template for your work. To accomplish this you must have a clear understanding of the output you wish to achieve. After this, choose a template that outlines or resembles that output you visualize. Using such a template will take care of most of the menial work involved in drafting a document.

If you cannot find a document template that matches your desire output, find the one that most closely matches your document. And after you finish working on that new document, don't forget to save this new document in a template form.

Make Your Changes

Some people do no change a single thing when using templates. This will make your document bland and generic. Make sure you incorporate your 'personal' touch. Use your desired font, and make your desired changes to spice up and improve the current document template.

Also, remember to document the changes you make to a template and save different versions of the template.

The ideal for a template is for it to multiply, and evolve into a better product. You can help in this regard.

Use Templates for Inspiration

The template also acts as a creative or academic sparkplug when you run into a writer's block. It is always more soothing for a writer or document drafter to look at a document that has all the proper structure and organization. With sufficient input, the writer may then work on fleshing out or spicing up the document.

Do not solely depend on the template for your document needs. Templates can sometimes offer the convenience of being a fill-in-the blanks form.

However, this sort of writing stifles the creativity and professionalism of most documents. For documents and forms that need to be done in a hurry, filling in the blanks on a template may be the best solution.

Save, Save, Save

Whatever work you do, remember that it is of value. Save it! You may get to use it again someday. Saving each version of your document also serves to help you monitor the development of your document and evaluate your writing skill.

Take note of the diversity and the uses of your documents. If your documents now address a new need, it would do best for you to save that document as a template.

The Verdict

Templates are a handy tool to have in a word processing environment. Some people will argue that these tools make document drafters lazy and less creative.

On the contrary, it may sparkplug those who have hit a creative block and help reduce redundant work. This will help the writer focus on content development instead of repetitious content organization.
About the Author
James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of
TemplateStuff.com and writes expert
articles about templates.
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