If you use more than one PC or work with a group of people, you might want to share a common set of Word templates.
If you are all connected via a LAN the administrator can configure Word when it is installed to look for the common templates in a specified folder. But what do you do if you are not connected to a LAN?
You can still share templates (and indeed any kind of file) using the Internet file sharing tools such as Dropbox and SugarSync.
Note: I have used Word 2007 in this description - to access the options and locations may vary for Word 2010 or earlier versions of Word.
Word Templates Folder
When Word is installed it creates a folder to store templates deep within the file structure of your PC. The path to this folder is usually something like: C:\Documents and Settings\Steve\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
Word defines this location as being trusted and adds a 'Trusted Templates' link to the Office Button>Open and Office Button>Save as dialogues. This makes it easy to store new templates you create and to find them later.
When you create a new document using the Office Button>New dialogue, Word opens a screen that allows you to select from a range of templates. You can access your own templates from here, by clicking on the 'My Templates' link in the left hand column.
This opens a new window, displaying the list of available templates in the default Word folder created upon installation and described above (this is the 'Trusted Templates' folder).
Creating a Shared Area
To share your templates with your other PCs or colleagues using an Internet file sharing application is straightforward.
First create the shared folder that will hold the templates. In this example I'm using SugarSync to synchronise folders between my computers, so I create a folder - 'My Word Templates' - within the Magic Briefcase folder (the Magic Briefcase folder is automatically shared and kept up to date across all PCs you choose to synchronise).
Next, move the templates to be shared from the default Word location into this new folder within the Magic Briefcase.
Pointing Word at the Shared Folder
Word uses 'File Location' details to set defaults for storing and accessing files including templates. There are two locations for templates:
- 'User Templates' - which is where 'My Templates' and 'Trusted Templates' look for templates
- 'Workgroup Templates' - used by network administrators to store shared, common templates on a LAN.
We'll use 'Workgroup Templates' to point to our new shared folder to access the templates we want to share.
From Word Options select Advanced, scroll down to the 'General' section, click on 'File Locations'.
If you are using this for the first time on your own PC, the location for 'Workgroup Templates' will normally be blank. Highlight 'Workgroup Templates' and click 'Modify'
Use the file dialogue to navigate to the shared folder within Magic Briefcase, highlight the folder (in this case 'My Word Templates') and click OK.
Returning to the 'File Locations' window you will see that 'Workgroup Templates' is now pointing at the shared folder.
Now, whenever you want to create a new document using one of the shared templates, go to the 'New' dialogue and click on 'My Templates'. 'My Templates' will now display all the templates stored in both the 'User Templates' and 'Workgroup Templates' folders, the latter location being where the shared templates are held.
You can also access the folder directly from the 'Open' and 'Save' dialogues by adding it as an item to the 'My Places' bar.
To find out how to add folders in this way, see this Microsoft article: 'How to customize the My Places bar in both the Open and the Save As dialog boxes in Office'.
If you would like to know more about SugarSync and the Magic Briefcase please click here to be taken to the SugarSync web site.