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Workplace Software and Skills

5.1 Creating Different Document Types in Microsoft Word

Workplace Software and Skills5.1 Creating Different Document Types in Microsoft Word

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Create a template
  • Create a business memo
  • Create a letterhead and an envelope
  • Create a business card
  • Create a brochure and a flyer
  • Create an invoice
  • Create a business plan
  • Create a résumé and a cover letter

Having different document types ready to go can be useful, in both everyday life and your professional life. When it comes to something like applying to jobs or schools—a task that requires writing a similar document, multiple times—you don’t want to waste time by starting from scratch for each application. You can do this by using a template, which we learned about in Creating and Working in Documents. This section will show you how to create your own template for a few different document types, including memos, letters, envelopes, business cards, brochures, flyers, and invoices.


In Creating and Working in Documents, we defined what templates are and where to find them in Microsoft Word. There are also a number of templates available on the internet. Word has web search capability so that you can look for additional templates on, as you can see in Figure 5.2. On the Office template website, there are thousands of templates that can help entrepreneurs and small businesses start making their business more systematic. You can find Word templates for email advertisements, calendars, brochures, memos, business cards, invoices, business plans, warehouse receipts, and more. Once you download the template, you can populate it with data and further modify its appearance.

New is selected. Opens to Search bar and options of templates: Blank document, Chronological letter, and Adjacency letter (the last two showing an example of the type of letter for selection).
Figure 5.2 You can search for templates using the desktop version of Word, or you can go to your web browser and download the templates. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Using prebuilt templates can be incredibly useful, but sometimes you might use a custom document type often enough that you want to save it as your own template. To do this, go to the File tab and use the Save As command to save the document with the .dotx extension. That will save the document as a template. This means that every time you open this .dotx file, a new file will be created, with all your formatting already in place. Once you make your edits to the new document, use the Save As command again to save the template file (.dotx) as a standard Word document file (.docx), making sure to choose the .docx extension to keep the changes. This will ensure that your edits are saved to a new document not to the template file. The .docx files are standard Word documents used for editing and sharing, while .dotx files are Word templates used for creating new documents with a consistent format and style. These same steps need to be followed when building a template for any kind of file, whether it is a memo, envelope, brochure, flyer, or invoice.

Business Memos

Word has templates for memos and newsletters. These are similar forms of communication in that they both inform a large group of new changes or trends in a company and may call for action. Yet there are some differences. Memos are used internally, while newsletters are for external audiences. Memos also usually have a standardized format. Newsletters have more freedom of form and may incorporate a lot of graphics. Like brochures and flyers, both have been digitized in the form of emails.

Despite the widespread use of email, printed business memos are still commonly used to communicate important information within a company. Memos typically follow a specific format, which formal company email transmittals may also do today. One common structure is to include an opening thesis statement, the main issue, and a closing statement. The opening is an introduction, and it may recall some relevant past activities, or current activity. The main issue should include the changes that are being announced to the company. The closing is a reminder of the current project general objectives. It may also include a complimentary closing, such as, “Thank you for your kind attention,” or something similar. Last comes the signature, which is the sender’s name, job title, and email address.

Like an email, a memo should always include fields for To (the employees), From (typically management), and CC, which stands for “carbon copy.” In the 1980s, before personal computers, letters were typewritten, and a piece of carbon paper was inserted between two sheets to make a copy of the letter. The copy created by the carbon paper was the “carbon copy,” or “CC.” CC’ing others is a process still used in emails today, although of course there is no physical hard copy involved.

Memos should also include fields for the Date and a Subject. You can see a memo template that was downloaded from Microsoft’s template page in Figure 5.3.

In a Memo, the Heading section contains company name, To, From, CC, Date, and Re. The Body text section contains Comments.
Figure 5.3 Today’s emails have copied the classic style of a business memo. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Newsletters can follow a similar format but consider that your audience will be different. You may want to use different language, incorporate graphics, or include more details. Newsletters may not only communicate information and updates to an external audience but are often used as advertising. Microsoft’s newsletter templates are a good place to get started if you are not sure how to format your newsletter.

Letterhead and Envelopes

A letterhead is a type of heading that contains company contact information and a logo. It can be used in many scenarios, both personal and professional. Figure 5.4 shows an example of a professional letterhead for a business. The logo and company contact information will go at the top right of the document. The information in the template is generic so that you can customize the template with your specific company information.

A letterhead template with geometric designs is displayed. The top right corner has space for inserting a Logo, Address, and Email. The body of the template is in business letter format.
Figure 5.4 Using the letterhead templates can make creating a brand/image for your company easier by providing prebuilt designs. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Business letterheads are also used in conjunction with company envelopes. You may have preprinted company envelopes with the company logo on them. If not, you can create one using templates. When corresponding by mail, it is much more professional to have a printed envelope with the recipient’s information, rather than have handwritten details. While we will cover creating envelopes for larger mailings in the next section, here we are focused on printing one or two envelopes.

Word has templates and other customizable capabilities to create printed, custom envelopes. You just need to fill in your address with your name in the left corner, and fill the recipient’s data in the middle. To print the envelope, you will need to load the envelope in the correct orientation in the printer. Then, you will go to the File tab and select Print. Printers can vary by brand, so consult the owner’s manual for your printer or search online for the proper way to print an envelope.

Using the Envelopes command is another solution, and it allows for more customization. You first need to make sure that your address is saved into Word’s settings. This is done through the Options command, located on the File tab. Selecting the Options command will open a window, and inside that window you will see a tab called Advanced. This is where you can set your address, as Figure 5.5 shows.

Advanced is selected in a Word Options window. Options selected include Provide feedback with animation and Update automatic links at open. An address is inserted into Mailing address pane.
Figure 5.5 The Advanced tab of the Word Options window is where you can make sure your address is saved. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Mac Tip

From the Tools menu, click on Envelopes. You can make formatting changes here. Also, in the Tools menu, there is an option for Labels, which has a similar functionality for preparing mailing labels.

Next, go to the Mailings tab and select Envelopes. In Figure 5.6, you can see the dialog box that will appear. The blank address is the recipient’s address, and on the bottom is your autogenerated mailing address. If you want to change the envelope size, choose Options, and you will see a combo box with the standard sizes (Figure 5.7). When you finish typing the recipient’s address, click on Add to document.

The Envelopes tab is selected in an Envelopes and Labels window. Delivery address window is blank. Return address pane has address inserted. An Options button is at bottom.
Figure 5.6 The Envelopes and Labels dialog box shows you a simple preview of what your customized envelope will look like. (Used with permission from Microsoft)
An Envelope Options tab is selected in an Envelope Options window. Options available include Envelope size, Delivery address, Return address, and Preview.
Figure 5.7 The Envelope Options dialog box allows you to customize the placement of addresses, as well as set custom printer settings. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

As Figure 5.8 shows, the envelope is inserted as the first page of the document, and along it, there is a section break. If you want to repeat the styling and envelope size again, it would be a good idea to create the envelope in a new blank document, and then save it as a .dotx.

An envelope is visible with an address in the top left and another address in the middle of the envelope.
Figure 5.8 This is what the Envelope command will ultimately generate. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Business Cards

A business card is a small, typically wallet-sized card that contains your contact and company information. It is usually given to clients or potential clients when you meet them, so that they have your contact information easily available. Business cards may be provided to you by your company, or, if you are self-employed, you may make them yourself. They usually contain basic contact information, like your name, your position (title) with the company, your phone number, and your email address, in addition to some eye-catching design elements, like a logo or image. Business cards are usually printed on thick, sturdy paper called cardstock. Many companies will order business cards for their employees using approved company designs and layout; at WorldCorp, the marketing department is responsible for providing business cards to employees. However, if you are a small business owner or freelancer, you might have a need to create your own business card.

You can easily design a business card in Word and send it out for printing at a business card printing shop, where you will likely have a few different cardstock options (lighter or heavier weight, glossy or matte finish). You could also purchase the cardstock and print the business cards on your own. This paper is generally perforated and some major paper companies that produce this type of paper have templates for their products in Word. Some of these printing companies may want your design in .pdf format. As we discussed in Creating and Working in Documents, having a document in .pdf format means that the design elements will not change at all, no matter who opens the file. If you send the printing company a design in .docx format, some elements might move when they open the file depending on which program they are using to open and print the file.

In Figure 5.9, you can see most of a business card template that we downloaded from Microsoft. The page has ten business cards per page. Simply fill out the information in the fields provided. Once you fill in one area of the first card, it will auto-populate the same area in all the remaining cards.

A template for business cards is visible, two across, and three down. A design runs across the top and spaces for adding a logo and address, email, and web address are available.
Figure 5.9 Using a business card template can make designing your cards easy. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Brochures and Flyers

Both large and small businesses use advertisements to display what the company offers and detail the specifications of the offer. Brochures and flyers are a printed form of advertisement. Although many advertisements are found on the internet these days, printed ads are still popular. Flyers tend to be graphic-oriented, contain minimal text, and often advertise an event or temporary promotion. Brochures can be an introduction for a company or specific product and may be used for a longer duration than a flyer.

As with many documents discussed so far, the best way to create a brochure or flyer is to download a template from Microsoft, and then fill in the information. Because brochures and flyers can be image-heavy and can have complicated layouts, using a template is the fastest and easiest way to create them. With a template, you can establish a base layout, and then easily change the images and the color scheme.

In Figure 5.10 and Figure 5.11, notice the default design of a brochure from Microsoft’s template page called Business Brochure. The brochure is two pages, as it is designed for double-sided printing. The brochure is also set in a three-column layout that is meant to be a trifold design. The layout is there, and all you need to do is change images, the color scheme (if desired), and the text.

At WorldCorp, the marketing department plans a holiday toy drive each year. Your boss has asked you to create a brochure with the details for the drive to be distributed to all employees. You can use this template to create the brochure for the event. We will walk through the steps to create this brochure in the following sections.

An image of a brochure in three columns is visible. Images and text fill the pages in a variety of fonts, styles, and colors.
Figure 5.10 This template is a trifold design. When folded, the panel on the right is the cover and the panel in the middle is the last page. (Used with permission from Microsoft)
A tri-fold brochure is shown. Each column is formatted with headings and space for text. There is space for a quote in the middle column.
Figure 5.11 Designing the brochure from an existing template saves time. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

To change the two images, right-click on one of them and select Change Picture, as shown in Figure 5.12, then browse to the folder where the image is and select Insert.

Mac Tip

On a Mac, the command is Control+right-click.

If the new image is too wide, use the command Crop from the Picture Tools Format tab. To change the color scheme for the whole brochure, go to the Design tab and click on the Color drop-down menu, as in Figure 5.13. Changing the colors this way will change the color palette for the whole brochure. Finally, to change the actual text, put your cursor on any of the panels of the brochure and change it manually. In this example, you changed the pictures and the text on the first page of the brochure to include details of the toy drive at WorldCorp.

Options available for customization include Cut, Copy, Paste Options, Edit Picture, Change Picture (selected), Group, Bring to Front/Send to Back, Link, Save as Picture, Insert Caption, Wrap Text, Edit Alt Text.
Figure 5.12 The pictures can be customized to your needs either from stock photos, photos on your computer, or photos you find online. (Used with permission from Microsoft)
Colors button is selected and opens to options Custom (options visible) and Office (lists a variety of color palettes with labels). The Blue Warm palette is selected.
Figure 5.13 The color scheme can be changed using the Design tab. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

To create a flyer, choose a flyer template from Microsoft’s templates, and follow the same steps as for creating a brochure. As you can see in Figure 5.14, flyer templates are just one, single page, meant to be printed single-sided on one sheet of paper.

A sample flyer is shown with space for a title and subtitle, images, headings, flyer text, and contact information. The flyer has pre-set spacing, font, and design elements included.
Figure 5.14 A flyer is similar to a brochure, but it is printed on one single-sided page. (Used with permission from Microsoft)


An invoice is an important document. It is essentially a bill given to a customer for a product or service provided by a company. You may encounter invoices either as a recipient or the sender. If you are the one purchasing a good or service, you will receive an invoice. The invoice tells you how much you need to pay. If you are the one selling the goods or services, you will need to create the invoice yourself, then send it to the company or person making the purchase. In both cases, an invoice should always explain what was provided, sold, and what is owed.

There are many kinds of invoices for many kinds of businesses, but all invoices should have a date, invoice number, description of the goods sold or services performed, the quantity, the price per item, the total, and the payment due date. The Microsoft 365 collection of templates has many designs and types of invoices by industry. Using a template to design your invoice can be helpful because invoices often include complex table formatting that can be difficult to design. The invoices can vary based on whether you are providing a service, such as maintenance (for which you might charge an hourly rate), or providing an actual product, like WorldCorp’s laptops and TVs (for which you might charge a per-price fee or flat rate).

You can create an invoice by following the same steps outlined above for brochures and flyers: by creating a new document and selecting an invoice template. Just as you would with the other document types, click in the text boxes to make the necessary adjustments to the information in the invoice. Figure 5.15 shows some of the different invoice templates available.

New window displays Search Bar (with invoice typed inside). Options of templates are visible beneath with thumbnail images and short test descriptions.
Figure 5.15 Invoices can be customized to include the company logo and include custom fields, such as sales tax or discounts. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Business Plans

A business plan is a document that describes a company’s plan for growth and profitability. Business plans may have different uses and applications depending on the type of business and stage of growth that the business is experiencing. For instance, some start-up business plans are used to seek funding for a venture. They may describe a detailed short-term plan for the company’s first few months of activity, then a broader long-term plan for future growth. There are also business plans for established companies, such as capacity-building business plans. These types of plans are used to explain why a company needs funding to buy a new capital asset, such as a manufacturing plant, or to refurbish an existing one. The business plan templates you will find in the Microsoft Office database will give you a head start on designing and formatting your business plan, but keep in mind that these templates will not give any advice on what to include or what kind of language to use in your business plan. For that, you can get some examples of an already-made business plan online. Figure 5.16 shows an example of the first couple of pages of a business plan template in Word.

Side to Side is selected in the Page movement command group of the View tab. Two pages of a document are visible side by side on the screen.
Figure 5.16 The purpose of a business plan is to discuss the road map for opening or expanding a business. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Résumés and Cover Letters

As you start your career and begin your job search, you will want to present yourself as a serious candidate, ready to take on challenges. One way to put yourself on the right track toward professionalism is by having a résumé. A résumé displays your work experience, academic degrees, and overall skills. Some résumé experts say that you should limit your résumé to one or two pages, but depending on the position, you may want to describe your studies and experience in more detail.

Like business cards, résumés can be simple or more imaginative. While a visual, graphics-heavy résumé may be eye-catching, a plain text document may be more practical. When you apply for a position, you will often be directed to an area of the company’s website where you are prompted to upload your résumé to their system. Then, using computer software, they scan the document for critical information such as keywords, years of experience, and skills, and then filter the résumés that meet the desired job requirements. These computer programs do not read drawings and designs well, so a creative or graphics-heavy résumé may not be interpreted well by this technology.

If you need to print your résumé, it is appropriate to add your personal letterhead to the top of the document. While letterheads are often used to present company information, as we learned earlier in the chapter, you can also create a personal letterhead. This type of letterhead is essentially a professional branding of your personal data, displaying your name, position (if applicable), mailing address, email address, and telephone number. It might have a simple graphic design, like a solid color bar, or a more intricate design or logo. Using a consistent letterhead across all your communications will add a look of professionalism and could help increase your job prospects. That consistency confirms to the potential employer your ability to see “the bigger picture” and your ability to visualize the tied-together documents.

Another way to use your personal letterhead is on a cover letter. Cover letters always have a distinct purpose: to present you as a person, and your skills and relevant experience, in a brief manner. Writing a letter on your own personal letterhead shows professionalism, as well as gives the recipient an opportunity to write back or respond. Like a business memo, there is a specific way to structure a cover letter. It should always include the date, your letterhead, the recipient’s address, salutation, complimentary closing, and signature. The body of the cover letter should address these aspects in different paragraphs, usually in this order:

  • The introduction: discussion of the job position that is being offered, and your interest in applying.
  • The second paragraph: your work history summary. You need to be brief and cover the main points of your career. Also include the relevant skills you possess for the job. If you are applying for a management position, include your management responsibilities in past jobs, for example.
  • The third paragraph: description of how you fit the job offered. You might also want to add your overall career objectives here, and explain how this job furthers these.
  • The conclusion: a closing paragraph that includes your willingness to be right for the job, and your motivation for applying to this company.

Normally, cover letters are one page, and at most, two pages. You may adjust the mentioned format by adding new paragraphs to add more detail on your work experience and skills.

The templates covered in this section can help you develop your personal letterhead and cover letter. There are several options for résumé and cover letter templates in Word. Figure 5.17 shows a sample cover letter, and Figure 5.18 shows just a few of the options available through Microsoft. As with the other templates, simply replace the generic text in the template with your specific information.

A sample cover letter for a résumé displays. Date, name, return address, and salutation are at the top left. The body of the letter follows in a business format.
Figure 5.17 A cover letter is a complement to your résumé and specifically outlines how you are a good fit for the position to which you are applying. (Used with permission from Microsoft)
A New window is open. Resume is visible in the Search Bar. Various options for résumé selection are shown with sample thumbnail images provided.
Figure 5.18 Choose a résumé template that not only matches your personality, but also coincides with the type of job you are applying for. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Real-World Application

Creating Brand “You”

As you grow in your own profession, you might want to consider developing your own brand. This will include how you present yourself on social media, as well as all media and supporting documents you might use to advertise yourself and your “product”—you. Corporations often use brand guidelines to ensure consistency across all brand items, such as business cards, letterhead, envelopes, and logos. Here are logo guidelines from Mitsubishi Motors for example. These guidelines give specific details on how to use, and not use, the company logo in different circumstances.

When developing your own personal brand, consider using the following steps:

  1. First, investigate personal brands. Canva offers a guide to personal branding that can help. Seek out individuals who do this well. What elements are they using and why is their strategy effective?
  2. Next, design your business card. You might also want to consider developing your own logo; however, there are many free, online resources available that can help you with this. Once you have a business card, design your other stationery.
  3. Finally, develop a memo and invoice design from scratch. These will be important as your personal business grows, and you have regular business communication and contracts to support your business.

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