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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in laterlife

March 2011

Getting the most from your computerYou can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web. 

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.

Jackie has also written the books shown here - you can find more details about these by clicking on the cover images above. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s. 

Every day computer activitiesVia Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, why not email her 

Or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too..

View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers


March 2011


This month I am going to cover the topic of templates as they are very useful and you can set up and use templates in most software packages.


1. Why use templates?

A template is a standardised document (or form, publication or spreadsheet etc.) that you only need to create once and then it can be used repeatedly as the basis for a whole range of new documents. It means that you only need to type in the basic content, set formats, decide on margins and orientation etc once and then all future documents based on this template will have the settings already in place. The template itself is not changed but is stored separately and so is always available for future use.

2. Why not use Save As?

Some people keep their first document and just create new ones using the Save As function. However, it is very easy, one day, to save OVER the original and end up having to set up the basic document again. As a template remains unchanged (rather like drawing over a document visible behind glass) you never need have that worry again.

3. How to create a template

a. In the software program you decide to use e.g. Word, Excel or Publisher, start by creating the basic document exactly as you want it. Set all the fonts, font sizes, text colours, margins etc and type in any addresses or headings that will be appearing each time, until you have everything in place. Only leave out the new content you will be creating whenever the template is used in the future.

b. When you start to save it, the first thing to do is select the file type. Instead of saving a normal document, spreadsheet or presentation, you must find the template version from the drop down box.

c. As soon as this is selected, the location for the save changes automatically to the folder containing other templates. This is important as it will be easy to access the templates when creating new documents. (You can also save templates to other folders but they are not so easy to use in the future.)


Template 1


d. Name your template carefully, so the file is clear when finding it to use and then click Save.

Note: You can take a shortcut by opening a ready-made template (see below), customising it and then saving it with a new name as a new template, but usually you will want to create your own from scratch.

4. How to find and use your templates

When you are ready to send off a new presentation, spreadsheet or document based on the template, you need to follow these steps to open the template in a ready state:

a. Go to File – New. (Do NOT click the New icon on the toolbar as this will simply open a new blank document or spreadsheet.)
b. Depending on the software, you may need to click a link to General Templates or you will be presented with your templates automatically in a new window.
c. Select the named template you want to use and, if necessary, check that you have selected the option to Create a new Document/Spreadsheet/Publication etc from it. (Newer software versions will normally have this as the automatic choice.)
d. When it opens, add the individual content and formatting and save it in the normal way, making sure that you select an appropriate folder to save it in and NOT back in the templates folder. The original template will remain unchanged and ready to use again another time.


Template 2


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The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

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