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Our department has a set of Word templates for specs, architecture, minutes, etc. We would like to have a consistent look on them, which we do not have today. This is mostly because they were created by different people at different points in time.

I plan to spend some time on giving them similar looks. This is a manual process, but I wonder if something can be done to make it easier to maintain. I would like to be able to change the basic look (e.g. format of front page, header and footer, auto-format for tables) by modifying one "root" template and propagate the change to all other templates automatically.

What is the easiest way to maintain templates of templates in Word?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com May 31 '11 at 12:56

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2 Answers

Templates in word are only good for when a document is created, not to maintain consistency for existing documents. Styles in Word may help, but they still don't do exactly what you are looking to do, but it may help get you further than your current situation.

There isn't much of an automated way to do this (aside from some custom programming), but you could use something like AutoHotKey to automate the repetitive keystrokes.

This is no easy task so my heart goes out to anyone who has to do this with Word docs. If you want to make maintenance easier for a library of content, you'll need to separate the content from the formatting, which is pretty tough with word docs. My suggestion is to think about moving the content out into something more like a web content management system or a wiki.

Hope this helps.

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The templates contain styles as well as the initial content of the document. My problem is that if we for example decide to have a red line below the header on all pages, this change must be done in all templates. Never mind the documents we already created from templates, I consider those immutable. Since we currently have about 20 templates, it is not too bad, but it is definitely much manual work to fix all templates, and human error will certainly show up at some point. –  Peer Sommerlund May 31 '11 at 18:46
    
@Peer Sommerlund: Probably the only answer is to script the changes using VBA, or Python, etc. Not trivial, but doable by a knowledgeable programmer. –  Brock Adams Jun 26 '11 at 6:25
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Combine style templates with themes:

When you use styles to format your document, the style definitions interact with Quick Style sets and theme settings to provide many combinations of cohesive, professional-looking designs.

After you apply styles, you can quickly change the look of the document to suit your needs by choosing the Quick Style set that you like. You can refine the look of the document even more by selecting a theme that you like. Within the Quick Style and theme parameters, you can also fine tune adjustments to the color and font schemes.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/style-basics-in-word-HA010230882.aspx#BM4

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