Computers can either save you loads of time or waste your valuable time…it depends on your approach. One way to surely save you some time is to learn to find and utilize templates. Templates are like stencils. Something you can use over and over by providing you a skeleton or outline of a project. You can create your own templates or find them online.
The most basic template is re-using an existing document you already saved. If you need to type a letter with your letterhead information and a common closing, don’t retype all of it, simply open an existing letter and change just the things you need to change.
A step beyond modifying existing documents is purposely setting up a document to hold the key components of a document you plan on using frequently, then saving it for future use. You can do this with almost any document type from word processing to spreadsheets, newsletters and even email. Many office type programs like Word, WordPerfect, Excel, etc, will let you save documents as a template format. Template formats pull up your stencil and then let you modify it without affecting the actual template itself.
Lastly, take advantage of the web to find templates for all your most common projects for many of your favorite programs. Microsoft offers some great templates for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, and more at the Microsoft Office Templates Home Page. If you have moved into the cloud, like me, you will find many templates for Google Docs or Zoho.com.
Check out the home pages of your favorite productivity or creative programs for specific project downloads and templates. If they aren’t evident, check in the downloads or community sections. Overall, have fun and save time with templates!