How to Edit a Template in MS Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Editing a template in MS Word involves opening the template file, making changes to text, images, or layout, and saving the edits. After completing these steps, the template will reflect the new changes, and can be used to create new documents with the updated design.

After editing a template in MS Word, you’ll have a customized document that can be used as the basis for future projects, saving time and ensuring consistency across your work.


Templates in Microsoft Word are a game-changer for those of us who want to maintain a consistent look and feel across our documents without reinventing the wheel every time we start a new project. Whether you’re a student, a business professional, or someone who just loves being organized, knowing how to tweak a Word template can save you heaps of time and give your documents a professional edge.

So, why is this skill so crucial? Imagine you’re prepping a report, and you’ve got a template that’s 90% perfect, but it’s missing your unique flair or doesn’t quite fit the content you’re working with. Instead of starting from scratch, you can hop into that template, make the necessary adjustments, and voila! You’ve got a personalized document that looks like it took hours to craft, but really, it was just a few clicks and some swift editing on your part. It’s not only efficient but also allows for creativity within a structured framework. This is particularly relevant for folks who need to adhere to branding guidelines or specific formatting rules.

Step by Step Tutorial: Editing a Template in MS Word

Before diving into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand what we’re aiming for. By following these steps, you’ll be able to customize a template to fit your needs, whether it’s for a resume, a report, or any other document.

Step 1: Open the Template

Open Microsoft Word and click on “File,” then “Open.” Navigate to the template you wish to edit.

Opening the template is the first step in the process. It’s just like opening any other Word document, but instead, you’ll be looking for a file that typically ends in .dotx or .dotm.

Step 2: Edit the Text

Click on the text you want to edit and start typing. You can also change the font, size, color, or style.

Editing text in a Word template is straightforward. You can replace placeholder text with your information or modify existing text to suit your needs. Remember to keep the formatting consistent with the rest of the document for a polished look.

Step 3: Modify Images and Graphics

If the template contains images or graphics, click on them to resize, move, or replace them with your own visuals.

This step is crucial for personalizing the template. Whether you’re adding your company logo or an image that better represents your content, this is your chance to make the template uniquely yours.

Step 4: Adjust the Layout

To change the layout, click on “Layout” in the top menu, and experiment with different margins, spacing, or orientation options.

Modifying the layout can be essential if you’re fitting different types of content into the template. You might need to adjust margins for better readability or change the orientation for a different look.

Step 5: Save Your Changes

Once you’ve made all your edits, click on “File,” then “Save As.” Choose where to save the file and give it a new name to avoid overwriting the original template.

Saving your changes is the final step in the editing process. Make sure to save the edited template with a new filename so you can use the original template again in the future if needed.


Time EfficiencyEditing a template is much faster than creating a new document from scratch.
ConsistencyTemplates ensure a consistent look and feel across multiple documents.
ProfessionalismA well-edited template can make your documents look more polished and professional.

Templates are incredible time-savers. By starting with a pre-designed framework, you can focus on the content rather than the formatting, which can be a massive boon when you’re on a tight deadline.

Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to branding and professional presentation. Templates ensure that every document you produce aligns with your brand or personal style, which can be crucial for building trust and recognition.

Speaking of professionalism, a slick, well-designed template can make all the difference in how your document is received. It shows that you care about the details and can give you an edge in any professional setting.


Limited CreativityTemplates can be restrictive, limiting how creative you can get with your document design.
Learning CurveThere may be a learning curve associated with understanding how to effectively edit templates.
CompatibilityNot all templates may be compatible with different versions of Word or other word processors.

Templates can sometimes box you in creatively. If you have a specific vision for your document that doesn’t align with the template’s design, you might feel constrained by the pre-set elements.

For some, there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to editing templates effectively. It’s not just about changing text; it’s also about understanding design principles to maintain a professional appearance.

Compatibility can also be an issue. If you’re sharing your template with others who use different versions of Word or other word processors, there might be formatting hiccups that need addressing.

Additional Information

Editing a template in MS Word is not just about making it look different; it’s about making it work for you and your specific needs. Remember that templates are starting points. They provide a structure that you can build on and modify to ensure that your documents stand out for the right reasons. It’s worth taking the time to explore all the features and tools that Word offers to get the most out of your templates.

One handy tip is to use the “Styles” feature in Word to quickly apply formatting across your document. This keeps your headings, subheadings, and body text consistent without manually changing the font, size, or color every time.

Another thing to consider is the use of sections. If you need different header and footer information on different pages, sections can be a lifesaver. They allow you to divide your document and apply different formatting to each section.

Finally, always preview your edited template before printing or sharing it. This helps you catch any formatting issues and ensure that your document looks exactly the way you want it.


  1. Open the Template
  2. Edit the Text
  3. Modify Images and Graphics
  4. Adjust the Layout
  5. Save Your Changes

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I edit a template if I don’t have the latest version of MS Word?

Yes, you can edit templates in older versions of MS Word, but you may not have access to all the latest features and design options.

How do I make sure my edited template retains its formatting when shared?

To retain formatting, save the document as a PDF before sharing, or ensure the recipient has the same version of Word and fonts installed.

Can I convert a regular document into a template?

Yes, you can save any Word document as a template by choosing “Word Template” in the “Save as type” dropdown menu when saving.

How do I find more templates to edit?

Microsoft Word offers a variety of built-in templates, or you can download templates from reputable online sources.

What’s the difference between a .dotx and a .dotm template file?

A .dotx file is a Word template file without macros, while a .dotm file is a Word template file with enabled macros for additional functionality.


Editing a template in MS Word is a skill that can streamline your document creation process, ensuring each piece of work you produce maintains a consistent, professional look. While it may take a little time to master, the payoff in terms of efficiency and branding can be significant.

By following the steps outlined in this article and considering the pros and cons, you’ll be well on your way to customizing templates that serve your specific needs. Remember, templates are flexible tools meant to be shaped and adjusted—it’s your content, your design, and your message that matter most.

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