How to find useful templates for Excel and Word

If you are a Word or Excel user, you may have already heard about what templates can do for you, but if not, here's a little primer/reminder.

The uses of word and excel templates

In a nutshell, templates allow you to save large amounts of time by...

1. Quickly creating professional looking documents and spreadsheets/workbooks with a minimal technical understanding of the program. It is far easier and faster to load a template than to build a document from scratch.

2. Create a series of similar/identical documents . For example, this can be useful for visual branding if you are a business.

3. Allowing you to focus completely on the content of the document, since the template usually does the formatting for you.

4. Learning new tricks in Word or in Excel by seeing exactly what formatting or formulae has been used in the document already to make it look/work that way.

As one of the most popular spreadsheet programs in the world, the variety of things you can do with Excel is astounding, similarly, so are the kinds of templates available. Word is a lot more versatile than most people would expect as well, and can do far more than just word processing.

Examples of available templates include...

Newsletters [Word]

Promotional Flyers [Word]

CVs/Resumes [Word]

Party Invitations [Word]

Sales Forecasts [Excel]

Savings Calculators [Excel]

Organisation Charts [Excel]

Cash Flow Statements [Excel]

Templates are often freely available, though some websites charge for them. In fact, many users spend inordinate amounts of time trying to the right template, or looking for the free equivalent of a commercial or overpriced template.

So, with this said, we've assembled a small list of the best places to find Excel and Word templates online.

One thing to remember however, is that template compatibility between different versions of Word and Excel can vary. This is especially the case if you try to load a template based on a newer version of the program than you are using. Sometimes it can cause trouble if you are using a different operating system to the one that the original template was made in. The easiest way to deal with this is to ensure that you are using the most up to date version of Word or Excel possible.

What makes these sites useful?

They're...

1. Free to download from.

2. Usually have quite a lot of variety and choice.

3. Usually divided into categories and searchable (which can help you find exactly what you want).

Microsoft Office Online

Microsoft's official website is a hugely comprehensive, community powered attempt at collecting. Containing both Excel and Word templates, you can also Since templates usually come from the community, quality can vary, but the site has a rating system, and the sheer choice alone means that you should find what you are looking for.

Vertex 42

Vertex 42 provide professional grade, and very tidy looking Excel templates. These include invoices, all manner of charts and time-sheets. Their collection is quite extensive. Vertex 42's collection of Word templates is relatively small, but comes with the same level of consistent quality that their Excel templates do. They're definitely worth checking out.

Stocklayouts

Stocklayouts actually sell templates, but have quite a nice (albeit relatively small) collection of professional looking word templates freely available to download

Layoutready

In a manner suspiciously similar to Stocklayouts, Layoutready have a small collection of superior quality word templates that you can download for free, though these are just a fraction of the commercial ones on offer.

The Paper Mill Store

The Paper Mill Store has a pretty spectacular variety and number of Word templates on offer, including unusual ones like raffle tickets and door hangars. They also have a great selection of the more common ones, such as business cards and brochures. Definitely worth a look.

SCORE.org

SCORE have a small, business orientated selection of Excel templates, such as cash flow statements and profit and loss projections. SCORE could be handy if you need to quickly find business

Matt H Evans:

Matt is something of an Excel genius and offers some spectacularly complicated spreadsheet templates on his site. The selection is quite eclectic, expect to find economic simulations, six sigma toolkits, financial models and other equation heavy offerings.

Excel Templates.net

ExcelTemplates is basically a blog with a random but quite extensive list of Excel templates. It is grouped into categories, which helps, despite the spartan layout of the site.

Spreadsheet Zone

The quality of Spreadsheetzone's offerings can vary a bit, but there are some very handy Excel templates to be found here.

Giving Back

Another thing to remember is that you can save spreadsheets and documents as templates too. Almost all these websites rely on people like you to share great templates so that everybody benefits. So, if any of these sites have saved you time, and you've got a document that could prove useful to others, why not save it as a template and share it with the community on one of these sites.