Microsoft Office Template files provide a way to create consistent documents that follow your organisation styles.  Files can contain premade content to speed up the process of creating documents.

Making templates easy to find and use is a constant challenge these files are designed so when they are opened you take a copy of the file, and do not change the base file.

Templates have been distributed for decades across networks, often in a folder called “Templates” that users have read only access.  To make it easier for users some organisations include templates in the Work Group Template location or use group policy to include a copy in the User Template Folder.

Read for more detail: Manage Office programs templates – Office | Microsoft Docs

However, there are limitations of this approach ones you move to Microsoft 365.

  1. The network server is no longer used
  2. Files are not visible in Office online.

Saving and Working with Templates in Microsoft 365

There are few ways to manage templates:

  1. Sync via OneDrive

Files can be stored in a document library and synced to each user’s device. Advantages of this approach is the actual template file is on the user’s PC so they can access it offline if they want.  The disadvantage is the user needs to navigate to this location to access the template.

  1. Include the files in the SharePoint document library.

It is now easier to customise the new menu in a document to include templates as below.  However, there is no easy central store for templates so multiple copies of templates would need to be created.

SharePoint Template

Add Template to SharePoint New menu

  1. Create an Organisation wide Asset Library

An organisation wide asset library is a document library that, with some PowerShell magic, is visible from within all users Office applications.  It can be used for templates and images.

Read for more detail: Create an organization assets library – SharePoint in Microsoft 365 | Microsoft Docs

The users experience is great, with the files visible from within Office on:

  • Desktop Apps for Windows
  • Desktop Apps or Mac OS
  • Office Online

Word

Open Template from Office

Office Online

Access Template in Office Online

Alternative Options

There is a limited range of template management software; our preferred option is Templafy.  It provides options for

  • Template Distribution
  • Document Assembly
  • Document Automation

Learn more about Templafy.