Thursday, July 28, 2011


A template includes everything you need to produce a document except your personal text.

Stop and think about that definition for a moment. Every time you are in Word and you select FileNew, a dialog with Word's predefined templates appears. All you have to do is pick a template, replace the holder text with your personal text, and save the template as a document.

Oddles of Word templates exist. However, with all of those template, you still might not find one that suites your need. I frequently design my own templates to get exactly what I need. Designing a template is a skill, which means you can learn to design templates too.

Let's start with a template that many genealogists need--a book template. A book template includes:
  • a page layout
  • a set of defined styles that you plan to use
  • a set of working headers and footers
A template for a book is going to include all of the sections you will need to create your book:
  • a cover page
  • an inside cover page, which may or may not be blank
  • a title page
  • a publication page, which is the back side of the title page
  • a foreword, which is optional
  • a slip sheet for the back side of the foreword
  • a dedication page, which is optional
  • a slip sheet for the back side of the dedication
  • a table of contents, which is generated...add four pages (two fronts and two backs)
  • an introduction...add four pages (two fronts and two backs)
  • a chapter...add four pages (two fronts and two backs)
  • an appendix...add four pages (two fronts and two backs)
  • an index...add four pages (two front and two backs)
  • a back cover...add two pages (one front and one back)
If you include all of these sections, your template will be thirty pages long and you haven't written a word of your family history yet. You will also have working headers and footers with working page numbering (a big item). Your table of contents and index pages will be blank because you will not have generated them yet.

In my next post, we're going to open a word document, start at the title page, and work our way through the thirty page template. After you've done this once, you'll be able to do it on demand...a marketable skill. So bear with me. We have several posts to get to a completed template.

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