In legal work, document reuse is very common. New documents are rarely created from scratch; rather, older documents are copied and modified to create a new document. For example, contracts, letters, and other documents will serve as a template for many other documents. Often the attorney will open a document used before (or many times), make the edits required, and then save this document as a new document profiled for the appropriate client and matter.
Given this, it is surprising how few people seem to use one of the most useful features in Word for this purpose: the template, or DOTX file.
A template is simply a file that, when opened, displays all the data that was in the file, but isn’t associated with the original file so that when saved, it prompts you to save a new document. Let’s look at how this is done by demonstrating the workflow with NetDocuments ndOffice installed in Microsoft Office 2010 / 2013 and soon 2016.
First, we find a file that comes closest to what we want or we can create a new one. Once the static text that will repeat for all child documents is entered the document gets saved in NetDocuments. After pressing Save As, name the document, and profile / file it where you will know to find it again, but change the file type from a Word Document (*.docx) to a Word Template (*.dotx) as shown in this image:
Now Save the file and close it. It will upload and check-in to NetDocuments. This becomes your template file.
Now comes the fun part – the next time you need that form, open the template document you just saved (you can put them on your Home Page for easy access). You may notice the file is not checked out, so the template can be immediately reused by someone else. Now, make all the edits you require and just press Save. This will prompt you to save the document as a brand new Word (.docx) document.
With any other document you open, it would just be saved on top of the original, but with a template file, Word and ndOffice will treat it like it is a brand new document. Go ahead and save and profile it where you want.
When you do save the new document, it will be a normal document just like any other, and the template will be preserved and ready for another use.