I have a bunch of really old system manuals that need to be updated, but I can't for the life of me imagine opening each one up and applying the styles, ensuring font remains same, size color, etc.

I have a template saved (header and footer with logo, etc) and want to apply the standard header and footer across multiple documents.


  • Do you hope to apply the same template to Word Documents and Excel files? I don't think that's possible.
    – pavium
    Dec 16, 2009 at 12:09
  • the solution can be something arround VBA scripting, (ALT+F11 to get started) but how much files do you have ?
    – user8228
    Dec 16, 2009 at 15:50
  • 3
    Since I can't post an answer I'll just point out in a comment that you do not need to use the developer tab in Word 2010. You can instead do the following, go to: File | Options | Add-Ins | Manage: Templates | Go | Attach... | Choose the file | Check: Automatically update document styles | OK. Then you're done. Feb 3, 2016 at 18:38
  • Consider accepting an answer if you found it helpful.
    – Stevoisiak
    Jun 29, 2017 at 15:02

4 Answers 4


From Quickly Formatting Multiple Documents for Word 2007 (I hope that for Excel it may be somewhat similar):

  1. Display the Developer tab of the ribbon and then click on the Document Template tool.

Document Template button

  1. In the Templates and Add-ins window, click on the Attach button.

Templates and Add-in window

  1. Use the controls in the Attach Template dialog box to locate and select the template you want attached to your document, then click Open.

Attaching a template

  1. The Attach Template dialog box disappears and the name of the template you selected appears in the Document Template box.

Attached template

  1. Select the Automatically Update Document Styles check box to make sure that the styles in the template are applied to your document.

Automatically update styles

  1. Click on OK.

Click OK

If you don't see the Developer tab necessary for step 1, then you need to make the tab visible. You do that by clicking the Office button and then clicking the Word Options button. In the resulting Word Options dialog box, the Popular option should be selected at the left. Make sure the Show Developer Tab in Ribbon check box is selected and click OK.

For older versions of Word, please see the above article.

You'll still need to open each document in order to use the above method.

  • See the comment by @Håkon K. Olafsen on the original question for a way to do it without Developer tab
    – yosh m
    Mar 17, 2016 at 10:08

In Word 2010, you need to go to the Options dialog box, click the Customize Ribbon item and choose Developer tab on the right side. This displays the Developer tab.

I thought this was pretty obscure. Imagine having to go to the Developer tab to attach a template! It should be on the Page Layout tab.

  • Yes I've found the configuration of Word 2007 to be somewhat haphazard!
    – Jeb
    Apr 15, 2013 at 14:27
  • See the comment by @Håkon K. Olafsen on the original question for a way to do it without Developer tab
    – yosh m
    Mar 17, 2016 at 10:07

To open the Templates for the document, simply press Alt-T and then I.

  1. Click on the Attach button to chose the template that you'd like to apply to your document.
  2. Select the "Automatically Update Document Styles" option, as this will bring the styles that you've defined in your template file into this document.
  3. Click on OK.

NOTE: Header and footer images are not applied to the document.

  • I need to apply the headers and footers with images for each section to the document. Is there any way?
    – Qadeer
    May 3, 2017 at 11:22

This is not really how templates in Word are designed to be used. In writing this, I am using the word "template" as Word jargon and not in the common English language meaning. Here is my article on Templates in Word.

See Word MVP Shauna Kelly's page on the Relationship Between a Word Document and Its Template.

The procedure that works best is to create a new document, based on the template, and copy the text from the old document into that new one.

Word is designed to create new documents from templates, not to resuse existing documents with changes. The latter method is likely to have problems, not the least of which is metadata from the old document.

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