Consistent Documents Using MS Word Templates

July 21, 2011

Emails, memos, letters, reports and presentations:  Any external correspondence you publish is a visible document which should be promoting the professionalism of your company, thus forming a part of your marketing strategy.  A well designed, Microsoft Word template will help you and your staff to maintain standards and continuity.

On the other hand, your internal correspondence (reports, memos, emails, etc) need to be uniform documents, capturing all information required.  Your Microsoft Word template should have coding included which automates your document, allowing you to enter information quickly and without errors.

Templates: a worthwhile investment
If you have invested in a well-defined brand, you need to support this with your documentation support—our brand’s about clarity, you see.  Over time, build up an extensive library of templates that cover everything you need for internal, project and service documentation.  Continually tweak your templates as your requirements change, ensuring they are an integral part of your business procedures.

Here are three benefits of using well-designed Word Templates in your business

1.             Support your staff
How much time does your staff spend thinking about things like font and font size, heading size and style, content for headers and footers, and content and layout of cover pages?

Well-conceived templates enable writers to concentrate on content rather than document format and layout.  The end result is a professional, branded document with great content which was accomplished quickly.

2.             Consistent content
A template enables a single source of truth for a document type.  This makes it easier to alter document structures according to changing needs, and enables you to indicate mandatory and optional content. 

The templates prompt writers for the content expected; such as the difference between purpose, objective, background, context and scope, and what goes under each of the major topic headings.

Here, there are two big pay-offs: there’s the obvious help for authors and, most importantly, the benefits for the document’s audience. 

Your customers will identify that every document they receive, from the proposal through to project handover, has a consistent look, layout and structure which aids them in reviewing and understanding the content.

3.             Brand integrity
This shouldn’t need explanation, but here’s one by way of example: three similar reports, from three different people, with three different layouts and formats.  Different fonts and font sizes all over the place, inconsistent headings and structure, even different cover pages … and no page numbers to be seen. 

Templates eliminate this scenario, and promote internal brand awareness as well.  Customers notice that sort of thing. 

Well-conceived templates make a difference
Considering the amount of time we all spend writing and editing and printing documentation, templates can make a huge difference to the quality of the end product. 

Templates provide support for the authors of your documents and ensure a consistent product.  That consistency supports the integrity of your brand.

Of course there needs to be a process, training, and a style guide is essential … but that’s another post!

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