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How to Quickly Find, Edit, & Use Microsoft Word Templates (MS Theme Files)

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This post is part of a series called Learn How to Use Microsoft Word (Beginner Tutorial Guide).
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To create high-impact documents your best tools are Microsoft Word templates. Template files come with all the design decisions already made by a professional graphic designer. Just replace the placeholder text and images with your own. 

Customizable Template
One of several MS Word you'll learn to customize in this tutorial.

Microsoft Word templates are also created to be customizable. This means you can change the fonts and colors as you see fit.

This article will show you how to use a Word template—from finding and downloading one, to editing design elements and making the document truly your own. You’ll save time and effort, while still producing documents you’ll be proud of.

Find Hundreds of Great MS Word Templates on Envato Elements

I’ll be using Microsoft Word templates from Envato Elements. If you'd like to follow along  buy and download the templates for yourself.

Word templates from Envato Elements
Envato Elements offers thousands of Word templates designed by professionals.

With an Elements membership, one flat subscription fee gives you unlimited downloads of Word templates—as well as other design elements you might need. These include fonts, icons, graphics, and stock photos.

For one-off Word projects, GraphicRiver is an excellent source of Microsoft Word templates. You can download templates and other creative resources on a pay-per-use basis.

Now let's learn how to find and use templates in Word.

1. How to Find and Use Microsoft Word Templates from Elements

The first step, of course, is finding the Word template you wish to use. In this example, I’ll show you how to work with Word templates from Elements.

How to Find Templates in Word

Start by finding the Word templates you want to use:

1. Log Into Your Elements Account

Log in Elements account

2. Search for a Template

From the Envato Elements homepage, click on the dropdown menu and select Graphic Elements. In the search box, type in your keywords. Click the search icon.

Search for a Word template in Elements

In this example, I’m looking for a Word template for a flyer. And so, I’m going to type “word flyer” in the search bar. 

How to find templates in Word - Keyword search in Elements

3. Refine Your Search

Further refine your search by using one of the filters and sorting options. Check on any of the filters you wish to use. You can also sort the results by Popular, Relevant, or New.

Refine search for Word templates in Elements

I’m refining my search by filtering only Print Templates and Portrait orientation. I’m also sorting the results by New

4. Choose a Template to Download

Click on a thumbnail or name of a template to explore it. 

The template page provides more details about the template, such as the document size and the template file types. It may also provide extra images of the template.

Word template details on Elements

When you find a template you want to use, follow the next steps to download it.

I’ve decided to use the Dance Studio Flyer.

Flyer Template - Word
Customize this flyer template (Word) to suit your needs.

It's got a very clean and dynamic design, with plenty of white space balanced by hard-edged shapes. It’s visually attractive and readable at the same time. It comes with two customizable pages, which means my flyer can have two printed sides and each side could have a different layout.

How to Download a Microsoft Word Template

Download a Word template from Elements in one of two ways:

1. From the Template Thumbnail 

From the search results page, click on the download icon on a template’s thumbnail.

Download Word templates from thumbnails on Elements

2. From the Template Page

Or, from the template details page, click on any of the Download buttons.

Word templates - Download from Elements

The Add this file to a project box will pop up. 

3. Select a Project

Click on an existing project to add the template to it. Or, click Create new project and give the new project a name.

Word templates - Add file to a project in Elements

4. Click Add & Download

Word templates - add and download from Elements

Your computer’s document manager will pop up. 

5. Save the Template

Choose where you want to save the template in your computer hard drive. Click Save.

Word templates - Save to your computer

The template will be downloaded as a zip file. Follow the next steps to unzip the file, so you can open the Microsoft Word template.

How to Open Templates in Word

Here's how to find the Microsoft Word template files you downloaded on your computer:

1. Unzip the File

Double-click on the zip file to unzip it. 

How to open templates in Word - Unzip template files

The unzipped file will appear as a folder in your document manager. 

Expand the folder to see the Word template files. If the template is compatible with other software, such as Adobe InDesign, there will be separate folders for those. Open the folder for Microsoft Word.

2. Duplicate the Microsoft Word File

This way, you’ll always have the original template file, if you ever want to revert to it.

To duplicate a file on a Mac, in Finder, click on the file. Then click on the Action dropdown menu. Select Duplicate

Word template - Duplicate template files

The file is copied.

3. Open the File.

Double-click on the duplicate file to open it.

MS Word templates - duplicate template files

Tip: Make sure to read the designer’s notes before attempting to edit the template. They include useful instructions. Some designers even let you know how you can reach them with your questions as you try to customize the template.

2. How to Edit and Use Microsoft Word Templates

Now that you’ve opened the Word template, you can edit it.

How to Edit the Text

Microsoft Word templates come with placeholder text, so you know exactly where to add your own content. To edit the placeholder text, follow these steps.

1. Click into a Text Box 

Select the text you want to edit.

How to change template Word - Change text

2. Type Your Text

Select the placeholder text, then type your text.

How to change template Word - Type text

3. Copy and Paste Text

Or, copy and paste your text from another application, such as Google Docs. 

But, make sure you don’t carry over any formatting from the other application. Copy the text in the other application. Go to Word, click Edit > Paste and Match Style.

How to change template Word - Copy and paste text

The built-in formatting in the template will be applied to the pasted text. 

How to Add Your Images

A well-designed Word template allows you to add your own images. 

In the following steps, I’m going to show you how to insert pictures in the Real Estate Brochure

Real Estate Brochure for Microsoft Word
This trifold brochure template for Word can be used for a variety of industries.

This is a Word template for a trifold brochure. It's got plenty of spaces for pictures and can be used not just for real estate, but for other industries as well. Adapt this brochure for live events, a product-based business, personal services, and more.

Let me show you how to insert pictures (take note that the steps may be different for different templates. Read the documentation that comes with your Word template, to make sure).

1. Click on the Shape Where You Want to Insert Your Picture

Change Word template - Add your images

2. Insert Your Picture

Click on the Shape Format tab > Shape Fill > Picture ….

Insert your picture in Word template

3. Find Your Image File

Locate the picture you wish to use in your computer. Click Insert. (I'm inserting a photo I downloaded from Elements.)

Change template Word - insert picture

Tip: This works best if the picture you’re inserting has the same proportions as the shape you’re placing it into.

How to change template Word - Insert your picture

How to Change the Fonts in a Template in Word

In this example, I’m editing the Physiotherapy Business Card Word template from Envato Elements. 

Business Card Template for Word - Physiotherapy
This business card template for Microsoft Word is easy to read and visually appealing.

Despite its name, this business card template is actually adaptable to any position and industry. It's got a clean, easy-to-read design with plenty of white space. The photo placeholder and use of circles and lines add visual interest.

To change the fonts, select the text, then:

1. Click on the Fonts Dropdown Button

Word templates - Change fonts

2. Select the Font You Want to Use

Scroll down the fonts list to find the font you wish to use.

3. Change the Font Size

Word templates - Font size

If you want to change the font size, click on the font size dropdown button and choose the font size.

4. Apply Other Font Settings

Use the other font formatting buttons on the ribbon to change other settings for the font, such as color and emphasis.

How to change Word templates - Font settings

If you notice, the changes applied only to one business card on this sheet. 

Customize business card template for Word

I could repeat the same steps for each one, but there’s a much easier and faster way. That’s by changing the font attributes on the Style level.

5. Select the Text You Formatted, Then Click on the Styles Button

How to change a Word template

We see that this text has the Style called Names.

6. Update the Style

Right-click on the Names button > Update Name to Match Selection.

How to change a Word template - Text styles

Now the new font attributes are applied to all text with the style Names.

Word template updated

How to Format Objects in a Word Template

Even with the best Word templates, sometimes you want to change the attributes of an object. For example, I’d like to change the accent color on this resume template for Word.

Word Templates - Anabelle Matthews Word Template
This colorful, dynamic resume template for Word is fully customizable.

The Anabelle Matthews resume/CV resume template for Microsoft Word is visually appealing, creative, and dynamic. But I want it to reflect my branding colors.

To change edit an object on the template:

1. Select the Object

How to change Word templates - Select object

2. Change the Color of the Object

Click the Shape Format tab > Shape Fill. Select the color you want to apply to the object.

How to change Word templates - Shape format

Do the same steps for the other objects on the template, if you want to change their colors, too.

3. Change Other Object Attributes

Use the other buttons on the Shape Format ribbon to change other attributes of the object, such as border, shadow, size, and so on.

How to change Word templates - Shape format options

Where to Find the Best Microsoft Word Templates: Elements vs. GraphicRiver Section

Now that you've learned how to find and use templates in Word, you may be wondering where to get them. Both Envato Elements and GraphicRiver have excellent high-quality MS Word templates. But which one should you choose? Let's look at the key benefits of each.

1. Key Benefits of Envato Elements

The Microsoft Word templates used in this article are from Envato Elements. Elements is an exceptional source of templates for Word. For one flat subscription fee, download an unlimited number of Word templates. 

You also get unlimited downloads of other design elements you need for your document: fonts, graphics, icons, and photos. If you create other types of communication materials, such as slideshows, videos, and audios, you get unlimited downloads of those, too.

Envato Elements Word Templates
Microsoft Word Templates on Envato Elements 2020

2. Key Benefits of GraphicRiver (& Envato Market)

GraphicRiver is the leading digital marketplace for purchasing single-use graphics and visual assets. It's part of the Envato Market suite of online marketplaces that cater to many creative digital needs.

If you need a single MS Word template for a single project, turn to GraphicRiver to buy your template. Here are the best Microsoft Word themes currently trending on GraphicRiver:

Word Templates - GraphicRiver
GraphicRiver is an excellent source of Word templates on a pay-per-use basis.

Your Choice (What's Right for You?)

If you’re a serial entrepreneur launching new brands regularly, a digital marketer with many projects to promote, or a graphic or web designer with a lot of clients to serve, then Envato Elements offers a great bang for your buck. Sign up for Envato Elements now.

Envato Elements Design Without Limits
Envato Elements - Design Without Limits

But, if you just need a single MS Word template for a single project, you can find that on GraphicRiver right now.

More Microsoft Word Template Resources 

Whatever document you need to produce, you’re likely to find a Word template for it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the thousands of options available. To help you out we've created a resource on How to Find and Use the best Microsoft Word Templates.

You can find even more options in these articles:

Learn More About Using Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is a powerful tool that allows you to create attractive and effective documents. You need to learn how to use its robust features.

Even when you’re starting with a well-designed template, knowing how to use Microsoft Word will give you the flexibility to make each template your own. Study the lessons in our learning guide on how to use Microsoft Word. Or, learn the basics with these tutorials:

Power In Your Hands: Working with Microsoft Word Templates

And as you’ve seen in this post, Microsoft Word templates give you a great starting point with your documents. Learn how to use them so you can produce high-impact documents faster.

You can use a Word template as-is. But templates also give you plenty of flexibility for customization. Aside from adding your own text and images, you can change fonts, colors, and objects to match your branding.

Use the tutorials and resources above to sharpen your skills in using Microsoft Word templates. Remember, good sources for Word templates are Elements and GraphicRiver. Go to Elements if you want unlimited downloads of downloads and other creative tools for one low subscription price. Or, get your Word templates at GraphicRiver if you prefer to pay for each use.

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