Edit templates

Whether you’re starting from a built-in template or updating one of your own, Word's built-in tools help you update templates to suit your needs. To update your template, open the file, make the changes you want, and then save the template.

  1. Click File > Open.

  2. Double-click This PC. (In Word 2013, double-click Computer).

  3. Browse to the Custom Office Templates folder that’s under My Documents.

  4. Click your template, and click Open.

  5. Make the changes you want, then save and close the template.

Building templates

Add building blocks to a template

Add content controls to a template

Add content controls

Insert a text control where users can enter text

Insert a picture control

Insert a combo box or a drop-down list

Insert a date picker

Insert a check box

Insert a building block gallery control

Set or change the properties for content controls

Add instructional text to a template

Add protection to a template

Add protection to parts of a template

Assign a password to a template

Add building blocks to a template

Building blocks are reusable pieces of content or other document parts that are stored in galleries to be accessed and reused at any time. You can also save building blocks and distribute them with templates.

For example, you may create a report template that provides your template users with two cover letter types to choose from when they create their own report based on your template.

Add content controls to a template

Make your templates flexible by adding and configuring content controls, such as rich text controls, pictures, drop-down lists, or date pickers.

For example, you might create a template that includes a drop-down list. If you allow editing to the drop-down list, other people can change the list options to meet their needs.

Note:  If content controls are not available, you may have opened a document or a template that was created in an earlier version of Word. To use content controls, you must convert the document to the Word 2013 file format by clicking File > Info > Convert, and then clicking OK. After you convert the document or template, save it.

Before you can add content controls, you need to show the Developer tab.

  1. Click File > Options > Customize Ribbon.

  2. Under Customize the Ribbon, select Main Tabs.

  3. In the list, select the Developer check box, and then click OK.

Turning on the Developer tab in the Word ribbon

Add content controls

On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Design Mode, and then insert the controls that you want.

developer mode design button

Insert a text control where users can enter text

In a rich text content control, users can format text as bold or italic, and they can type multiple paragraphs. If you want to limit what users add, insert the plain text content control.

  1. In the document, click where you want to insert the control.

  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Rich Text Content Control rich text control or the Plain Text Content Control plain text control .

Insert a picture control

  1. Click where you want to insert the control.

  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Picture Control picture control .

Insert a combo box or a drop-down list

In a combo box, users can select from a list of choices that you provide or they can type in their own information. In a drop-down list, users can only select from the list of choices.

  1. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click the Combo Box Content Control combo-box control or Drop-Down List Content Control drop-down menu contriol .

  2. Select the content control, and then on the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Properties.

    developer mode control properties

  3. To create a list of choices, click Add under Combo Box Properties or Drop-Down List Properties.

  4. Type a choice in the Display Name box, such as Yes, No, or Maybe. Repeat this step until all of the choices are in the drop-down list.

  5. Fill in any other properties that you want.

Note:  If you select the Contents cannot be edited check box, users won’t be able to click a choice..

Insert a date picker

  1. Click where you want to insert the date picker control.

  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click the Date Picker Content Control date picker control .

Insert a check box

  1. Click where you want to insert the check box control.

  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click the Check Box Content Control check box control .

Insert a building block gallery control

You can use building block controls when you want people to choose a specific block of text.

For example, building block controls are helpful if you’re setting up a contract template, and you need to add different boilerplate text depending on the contract’s specific requirements. You can create rich text content controls for each version of the boilerplate text, and then you can use a building block gallery control as the container for the rich text content controls.

You can also use a building block control in a form.

  1. Click where you want to insert the control.

  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Building Block Gallery Content Control building block gallery control .

  3. Click the content control to select it.

  4. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Properties.

    developer mode control properties

  5. Click the Gallery and the Category for the building blocks that you want to make available in the building block control.

Set or change the properties for content controls

  1. Select the content control, and click Properties in the Controls group.

    developer mode control properties

  2. In the Content Control Properties dialog box, choose whether the content control can be deleted or edited when someone uses your template.

  3. To keep several content controls or even a few paragraphs of text together, select the controls or the text, and then click Group in the Controls group.

    developer mode group button

For example, perhaps you have a three-paragraph disclaimer. If you use the Group command to group the three paragraphs, the three-paragraph disclaimer cannot be edited and can be deleted only as a group.

Add instructional text to a template

Instructional text can enhance the usability of the template that you create. You can change the default instructional text in content controls.

To customize the default instructional text for your template users, do the following:

  1. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Design Mode.

    developer mode design button

  2. Click the content control where you want to revise the placeholder instructional text.

  3. Edit the placeholder text and format it any way you want.

  4. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Design Mode to turn off the design feature and save the instructional text.

Add protection to a template

You can add protection to individual content controls in a template to help prevent someone from deleting or editing a particular content control or group of controls, or you can help protect all of the template content with a password.

Add protection to parts of a template

  1. Open the template that you want to add protection to.

  2. Select the content controls to which you want to restrict changes.

    Tip:  Select multiple controls by holding down the CTRL key while you click the controls.

  3. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Group, and then click Group again.

    developer mode group controls

  4. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Properties.

    developer mode control properties

  5. In the Content Control Properties dialog box, under Locking, do any of the following:

    • Select the Content control cannot be deleted check box, which allows the content of the control to be edited but the control itself cannot be deleted from the template or a document that is based on the template.

    • Select the Contents cannot be edited check box, which allows you to delete the control but does not allow you to edit the content in the control.

Use this setting when you want to protect text if it is included. For example, if you often include a disclaimer, you can help ensure that the text stays the same, and you can delete the disclaimer for documents that don't require it.

Assign a password to a template

To assign a password to the document so that only reviewers who know the password can remove the protection, do the following:

  1. Open the template that you want to assign a password to.

  2. On the Review tab, in the Protect group, click Restrict Editing.

  3. Under Start enforcement, click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.

  4. Type a password in the Enter new password (optional) box, and then confirm the password.

Important:  If you choose not to use a password, anyone can change your editing restrictions.

Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Passwords should be at least 8 characters long. In general, longer a password is, the more secure it is.

It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it. Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.

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