written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 5/24/2011
Of course we want our documents to look better and more professional. However, we also want our documents to look more “artistic." Read on for free templates for Microsoft Office programs to help you do just that. This is a Bright Hub article, so expect to have some tips and tricks throughout.
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Templates save us from reformatting our documents every time and allow us to give the document an overall consistent look. We can create templates ourselves by going through the File → Save As menu and selecting “Template" under the file type. We can also download templates from the Internet. In this article, I will go with the second option and look at various free artist templates for cool office documents.
While templates can make a document “artistic" and “cool," I also understand that your VP might not appreciate a report or presentation with pinks and oranges or an e-mail with a background full of flowers. Therefore, I aimed at my definition and chose the templates accordingly.
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Microsoft Word Templates
Microsoft's Word, as we all know, is a word processing software and has limited features in terms of document design. That is why most artists prefer Publisher for creating documents that are more artistic.
For routine reporting needs, I suggest you to go with a simple format. I recommend the template that I use to report my peers, as well as want from my peers. The report is simple, to the point and elegant. There is no additional “stuff," just minimal.
For keeping meeting minutes, I again keep a minimal format. The template that I use also has the information about how much time is allocated to each agenda item. This has a benefit if I am keeping the minutes, which is that when I send the minutes, people realize how much time is spent on each subject. They then consider if this time is less than enough, appropriate or wasted. Knowing that they will face the same report again, they prefer to express their ideas in a little time as possible in the oncoming meetings.
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Microsoft Excel Templates
As I am checking my departments' budgets every month and report to my group manager, I know how it is easy to get lost in individual items, and then how much effort I put to group them together to present meaningful results. I use the budget summary report template to make this job easier. You may have some problems with the colors but you can just tweak them to suit your idea of elegance. Personally, I changed the purple to navy blue to go with the white/black/red/navy blue colors.
For project performance, I go with a more complex template. I again rely on simplicity but I need to see more information. I also need to see the red flags where everybody needs to pay more attention.
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Microsoft PowerPoint Templates
I have to use my company's own presentation template for official presentations. However, this does not mean that I do not deviate from the official template and put my creative side (me? hah!) into the equation. Mostly, I am not pleased with templates as-is and perform small “surgery." I prefer to have a simple template with a consistent white background to focus people's attention to the content rather than the border colors and the fonts, and hit them with the images, such as clipart or photos.
For this purpose, I use two templates. The first one is designed for Salesforce Training, but with just a couple of clicks, you change the presentation's header, footer and other small stuff. I fund this template's opening page very artistic and minimalistic. It looks “cool" to use such a simple page to open your presentation. The second one also follows the same concept and has a minimalistic page design. Don't worry about the “Company Handbook" title. It really does not take more than a couple of minutes to change the template.
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Microsoft Outlook Templates
Remember what we discussed about the meeting minutes Microsoft Word template? If you want to open up an e-mail, note the minutes and send it to everybody, then you will need an Outlook template. The Outlook template is very similar to Microsoft Word's, but it is not compatible with pre-2007 Outlook versions.
Sometimes we need to send newsletters. I do not mean the ones that we send from our websites, but about the projects, events that we manage. I prefer the one that you see on the screenshot, because it is elegant, simple and draws attention. What more can I ask for?
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Microsoft Publisher Templates
This is where creativity rules. You fill find the best free artistic documents for cool office documents in Microsoft Publisher. You may not find the template that precisely suits your business. In this case, don't worry. You will have to get your hands a bit dirty and tweak the template a little.
For example, I am not working in a company whose focus is on technology. However, nothing stops me from using the Technology Business Newsletter template. Just change the header, image and a few tech-related parts and you are ready to go for your company. The same goes for the School of Fine Art template. Consistent with the name, it is a very nice template that can just go into a “container terminals report cover." The templates are artistic and make your office documents look cool.
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These templates may be what you are looking for, or you may find them too corporate. In any case, my recommendation would be to Google the type templates that you want. However, you should be careful about which website you use. Go with trusted sites, because all it takes is a download and opening a file to get infected with malware.