Guide to business document template management
From design to implementation and distribution across the organization
Designing business document templates
Every day, numerous documents and presentations are created by employees. Employee productivity can be dramatically increased through using pre-made templates for document creation. As employees create documents so frequently, a well-trusted document template design that is accessible for all employees is a tool that saves time and enhances productivity across the entire organization. But how exactly are document templates created? And how can enterprises be sure that employees will use them?
The answer to this involves many different elements – from designing document and presentation templates to implementing, managing and distributing them.
Step 1: Template design
Why is template design important?
Template design is vital for your company’s brand. It influences how communication materials are perceived by their audience, regardless of whether they are being used internally or externally.
For usability and brand consistency, it’s important to consider the placement of company logos, icons, legal disclaimers and other elements across different document types. For example, a legal contract template and a sales presentation template must differ according to purpose, but both must contain clearly recognizable branding. A further factor to consider is cultural style conventions. Each country has distinct requirements for the information that must be included in legal disclaimers, and every document template must take this into account.
The template design process
To begin with, internal stakeholders should create a brand identity manual that includes approved fonts, logo designs, color schemes and graphics, to provide designers with all the necessary brand elements. Next, the documents that templates will be created for need to be decided. These could be letters, contracts, memos or presentations. The audience should be considered when the templates are being decided.
The next decision is whether to outsource the design process to a design agency or use an in-house graphic designer. Depending on the organizational structure of your organization, there may be various stakeholders such as brand teams, marketing teams and document managers. Any colleague involved in creating and maintaining corporate visual identity will need to be involved in the document template design process.
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Step 2: Implementing document templates
Implementing templates into Office applications
Once the templates have been designed, the final product will be in a publishing design format. Most templates cannot just be uploaded to create Microsoft Office templates that are ready for use by employees. The final design must be deployed so that the styles, margins, paragraph spacing in Word and layouts in PowerPoint are managed and structured to ensure the final document is as close to the design image as possible. Large companies may have template managers who are responsible for this task, but it is usually necessary to work with a template implementation company.
Implementation of corporate document templates
Implementation companies have expertise in the specific code required for creating document templates in Word or PowerPoint. They enable the template design so it is compatible with Office applications. Implementation companies manage and structure the styles, margins, paragraph spacing for Word and layouts for PowerPoint to minimize potential mistakes that could be made by employees. This is particularly important if your organization is using intelligent, or dynamic, templates, as these require more coding.
Step 3: Adding intelligence into business templates
What is a dynamic template?
The position of where data will go within a document template is determined through implementation: customer or employee information will always appear in this position in the document, and in the determined style. Elements are unable to be changed or removed by users, meaning employees can trust that the documents created through these templates will be on-brand and compliant.
Intelligent, or dynamic, templates automatically load personalized details. Certain information appears in the document template based on who is making the document, and the choices they make. This can include details specific to them, such as their name and contact details in a document template for a letter, or more complex elements, such as insertion of specific legal disclaimers as a result of options that the user selects.
How are dynamic templates set up?
On a technical level, Graphical User Interface (GUI) based tools are normally used to configure dynamic templates. In Word, content controls can be used to insert bindings through following a JSON format. These bindings may relate to the elements that are used to personalize a template, such as dates, addresses, and numbers. It is through this process that personal information is inserted into the document template.
Step 4: Managing and distributing document templates
Once your business document templates have been designed and implemented, employees need to consistently use them. Templafy’s cloud-based software makes it easy for employees to use the most up-to-date document and presentation templates. Templafy’s software brings document templates into the applications that employees are using, such as Office, meaning it is intuitive and simple to use them.
Through dynamic templates, employees are able to save time creating documents, allowing them to focus their time and energy on the content of the document, or other important tasks. Centralized administration means that employees will always have immediate access to the latest, on-brand document types, enabling them to get the most out of their business document templates.
Take a look at our blog for more information about designing document templates.
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