Submission guidelines for Microsoft Office Word 2010 templates

 Important    This article provides submission guidelines and best practices for Microsoft partners who want to create Microsoft Office Word 2010 templates that meet the publishing requirements for the Microsoft Office Online Templates web site. For information about how to create, modify, or apply templates, see Learn about templates in Office 2010, or visit the Word 2010 Help and How-to web site.

A Microsoft Office Word 2010 template contains sample content, formatting, or objects that can be used to quickly and easily create a new document. To help ensure that your templates are useful and popular, follow the best practices and guidelines in this document. When you create top-quality templates that get high ratings and great download numbers, you’re helping make people’s lives easier and showcasing your Office skills to people around the world. For partners, your templates can help build brand recognition and improve your customer relationships. For more information, see What makes some templates so popular?

 Tip    If you're interested in what's new with templates on Office Online, check out the Templates Blog.

In this article

Before you begin

If you're planning to create a template, make sure you read What to know before you create a template and Make your templates more accessible for users with disabilities. When you're finished, you can share your templates by submitting them to your Microsoft contact.

For a summary of these guidelines, see the Word 2010 template quick reference sheet.

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Setup requirements

The computer you use to create templates for Office Online should meet the following operating system and application-specific requirements.

Operating system requirements

  • For security reasons, make sure that the recommended security settings for your operating system are turned on and that you're running up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Make sure that the language in which you are creating a template is the same language that you're using for your operating system and Word 2010.

Word 2010 requirements

  • Use a clean installation of Word 2010 only; for example, an installation with no additional fonts or add-ins. This helps ensure that your templates will work on most customers' computers.
  • Use the default page margins and page setup options for Word 2010. This helps ensure that most customers can view and print your templates without problems. For more information, see Page layout options later in this document.

Localization settings

To prevent problems with tools and processes if your templates are localized into other languages, you need to ensure that linguistic data, smart tags, and privacy-related information is not embedded or stored in your templates.

Open a new Word 2010 document, and then follow these steps:

  1. Click the File tab, click Options, and then click Advanced.
  2. Under Preserve fidelity when sharing this document, clear the Embed linguistic data and Embed smart tags options. Make sure that these options are turned off both for All New Documents and for Current document list entries.
  3. In the same document, under Options, click Trust Center, and then click Trust Center Settings.
  4. Click Privacy options, and then clear the Store random number to improve merge accuracy option.

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How to create a template

To create a template, save a new or an existing document to one of the Word 2010 template file formats. You will typically use the Word Template (DOTX file) format unless your template contains macros. In that case, you should use the Word Macro-Enabled Template (DOTM file) format.

Microsoft Office 2010 system document themes

A document theme is composed of a set of theme colors, theme fonts, and theme effects. Every document that you create by using PowerPoint 2010, Microsoft Office Word 2010, or Microsoft Office Excel 2010 has a theme inside it — even blank, new documents. Document themes are shared across Office programs so that all of your Office documents can have a consistent look. You can apply the same theme, for example, to a PowerPoint 2010 presentation, a Word 2010 document, and an Excel 2010 spreadsheet.

The default theme is the Office theme, with a white background and dark, subtle colors. When you apply a new theme, the Office theme is replaced by a new look, such as the dark background and bright colors of the Metro theme. All content (such as text, tables, and SmartArt graphics) should be dynamically linked to the theme, so changing the theme automatically changes the look of your content. When your templates are created using theme elements, changing the theme of your document changes the colors, styles, and fonts of the diagrams, tables, charts, shapes, and text within your document.

Templates built around themes are more easily customized by customers who download them, and theme-based template tend to be downloaded more by customers.

The difference between themes and templates

Themes are what you see in the Themes gallery, located on the Page Layout tab in the Themes group. Although a theme can be a stand-alone file type (.thmx), every document (.docx) or template (.dotx) you create by using Word 2010 has a theme applied to it. Themes apply to all parts of your document, including text and data.

The new File tab

In Word 2010, the jewel in Word 2007 has been replaced by the File tab. On the File tab, click New to access the template gallery. You can preview thumbnails of built-in and customized templates, and browse downloadable templates available from

The File tab also includes Info settings, where you can see document properties and embedded metadata, check that content is readable by people with disabilities, or manage versions of the document. Be sure to use the Check for Issues features as you prepare your template for submission.


The Styles window is located on the Home tab of the Word 2010 ribbon. You should apply styles to all text and objects in a template including pictures and shapes. When you use styles in your document, customers can more easily make global changes to template settings, and you can ensure that text and objects have been consistently formatted.

  • Apply styles to all text within a template, making sure that the styles contain all font, paragraph, and list formatting.
  • Use theme colors and body or heading fonts only in your styles; you can create your own theme color palettes and font pairings for a template, if desired, using the Fonts and Colors options on the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.
  • To change the appearance of text or objects, modify the style that is associated with the text in the template instead of manually modifying content within the template.
  • As a best practice, try to use or modify the default styles within the document but create new styles as needed.
  • When you create new styles, make sure the style name clearly matches its use in the template. In an event flyer, for example, you might create and apply a new style to placeholder text for sponsor names. The recommended style name in this case would be “Event sponsor'' or “Event sponsor name.''
  • To make your styles more readily accessible to customers who want to apply or modify them after opening the template, open the Styles pane and configure the options to show styles that are in use or styles in the current document. Delete any styles that you create or modify but do not use in the template.
  • If you would like customers to be able to more quickly find and use your styles, open the Styles pane from the Home tab, right-click each style, and then click Add to Quick Style Gallery.


  • Make your templates theme-ready by associating all styles with a color scheme and font pairing (heading and body fonts). To open the Styles pane, go to the Home tab of the Word 2010 ribbon and click the arrow in the lower right-hand corner of the Styles section.
  • In the Styles pane or Quick Style Gallery, right-click existing styles to modify them, or create new styles using theme colors and (heading) and (body) fonts (font pairings).
  • You can use the color schemes and font pairings that ship with Word 2010 or you can create and apply your own. To create new font pairings and theme colors, use the options provided in the Themes section of the Page Layout tab.
  • When formatting lines and fill color for shapes and AutoShapes, apply theme colors only, not standard colors. Formatting options are typically available by right-clicking an object. Format tabs will also automatically be displayed in the ribbon whenever you select an object.


  • Use fonts that ship with your version of Windows and the Microsoft Office system only. If you download and apply additional fonts, your templates might not print or display correctly for customers who have not installed those fonts.
  • Associate all fonts you use in the template with a style, and modify text by formatting the style only. Do not manually change the appearance of text within a template.
  • Use heading and body fonts in your styles by selecting from the built-in fonts for the current theme in the template. These font options are listed in the Modify Styles dialog box at the top of the Formatting drop down list as "Font name (Headings)" and "Font name (Body)" respectively. You can also create your own font pairings by using the Fonts option on the Page Layout tab in the ribbon.
  • To change or apply a font color, modify the style that you have associated with the font and select from theme colors only. Do not manually apply a font color within a template. You can select from the existing font color palettes in Word 2010 or create customized font color palettes.

Paragraph and character formatting

  • Apply paragraph formatting, including indents, tabs, line spacing, and pagination settings, by formatting styles. For more information about inserting page breaks, see Page breaks in Page layout options later in this document.
  • Do not manually format paragraphs within a template or add line spacing by inserting paragraph marks.
  • In Word 2010, you can also create styles for characters that will appear within a paragraph. Because styles can be difficult for some customers to use, we recommend using paragraph-level formatting only and applying character styles with caution. If you do create character styles, be sure that they are clearly labeled for their use within the template and within a paragraph.
  • To test whether styles are applied correctly, either paragraph or character styles, show paragraph marks in the template and modify placeholder and sample text.

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Inserting text boxes and tables

This section discusses commonly used options on the Insert tab of the Word 2010 ribbon.

Text boxes

Text boxes can be useful for:

  • Positioning text or pictures in a specific location on a page.
  • Enabling customers to move or resize parts of a template, such as graphics or text.
  • Displaying pictures as transparent backgrounds. In Word 2010, you can set a picture as a transparent background by inserting a text box or shape and then filling it with a picture (do not insert or embed the picture) using the Fill Effects and Transparency settings. To locate these settings, right-click the text box or shape and then select the Format Text Box or Format AutoShape menu option.
  • Flowing text across multiple areas of a page or pages, such as sections of a multi-page newsletter.

Guidelines for using text boxes:

  • In general, do not use text boxes in templates where content can be easily managed using inline text or tables, for example, in a business letters or resume.
  • Use content controls, which can disappear when typed over, to format and display placeholder or sample text within a text box. For more information, see Content controls later in this document.
  • By default, text boxes do not resize to fit text or pictures. Unless the size of the text box is important to the design of a template, format the text box to resize automatically and consider using a Picture control to insert pictures or other images. For more information, see Content controls and Inserting pictures, shapes, and SmartArt.
  • Format the positioning of each text box to be relative to the page. This helps ensure design integrity if customers change the page orientation or margins of the template.
  • Apply styles to the contents of each text box, making sure the styles contain not only paragraph formatting but also theme-ready colors and fonts.
  • If you insert a placeholder picture for a logo in a text box, make sure that the text box borders are turned off; again, consider using a Picture control. For more information, see Content controls.
  • If you reposition a text box while testing or developing a template, any previous horizontal and vertical positioning settings are lost. It is a good idea to confirm that text boxes are positioned relative to the page just before saving and submitting the template.
  • If a template also includes tables or inline text and pictures, we recommend that you test all text boxes by adding or removing text or by replacing and resizing graphics. This can help ensure that your text boxes function as intended, especially in relation to other objects and elements, when customers modify a template.


Tables can be useful for:

  • Laying out text, shapes, and pictures in relation to each other, for example, in a flyer with pictures and sample or placeholder text for event details.
  • Restricting or enabling the amount of space that customers can use for text or images to maintain the integrity of a design. For example, you might limit the amount of space that can be used for the title of a newsletter and an accompanying photo, but allow unlimited text in a column or article.
  • As a container for building blocks (when added to the Quick Parts Gallery) to help ensure that the positioning and formatting of pictures, shapes, or text remain consistent when customers modify the template. For example, you might use a table to build a resume template and then create building blocks for additional education and work experience entries. That way, customers can easily insert the appropriate Quick Part (building block) into a table cell and modify the text without having to apply styles or formatting.

Guidelines for using tables:

  • Use table cells primarily for indentation and to help align related information.
  • Minimize the interaction that customers must have with tables by making it clear where they should add or modify content. For text, for example, you might use a different style for each different type of information. In a newsletter, you might want to place the title and the body in separate cells. In a greeting card, you might want to place a picture and any greeting text in separate cells.
  • Format the positioning of tables to be relative to the page. If the absolute position of a table is important to the design, make sure that you also set the appropriate horizontal and vertical alignment.
  • If the size of the table is important to the design, format the size of the table rows and columns so that customers can't accidentally flow the table onto another page or into another area of the template.
  • Set heading rows to repeat, if appropriate to the design and if text within a table can flow across more than one page.
  • To prevent text that customers might enter from flowing into unintended areas of the template design, such as beside a table, do not allow text wrapping around tables. This can also help prevent users from trying to delete a table to make text display without wrapping.
  • If a template contains tables as well as text boxes, inline graphics, or text, test whether the table behaves as intended by adding and removing text, changing page layout options, printing the template using different page orientations, and by adding, replacing, or repositioning pictures and shapes that are located near the table.

Using building blocks (Quick Parts) in a template

Building blocks, also called Quick Parts, are best used as pre-formatted pieces of content that you add to the Quick Parts Gallery on the Insert tab. That way, instead of manually adding information to a template, customers can click a Quick Part and rapidly insert design elements, content, or placeholder content, especially content that they might want to use more than once, in a template.

Building blocks can be useful, for example, for helping customers add additional instances of education or experience to a resume, for adding different types of multiple choice questions to a test, or for adding additional receipts to a receipt template.

Creating and saving building blocks within a template can also save you time and help ensure consistency in templates where you need to:

  • Reuse a design element, such as sample or placeholder text with specific formatting, a border, a background color or image for a portion of the template, or a picture placeholder, to list a few examples.
  • Use text, pictures, or shapes in a series of templates that share a design or design elements such as the same footer, company logo, and tag line in a set of business templates that includes letters, invoices, flyers, business cards, and newsletters.

If you create building blocks, we recommend that you add them to the Quick Parts Gallery. That way, your building blocks will appear in the Quick Parts menu so that customers can more easily find and insert them. If you create building blocks for frequently used galleries in Word 2010, such as headers or footers, make sure that you also add your customized building blocks to the appropriate default gallery. This will make it easier for customers to find your content when using the Building Block Organizer.

 Important    To make your building blocks available in the published version of your template, you must save each building block to the template file instead. Do not save building blocks to your default building blocks template in Word 2010 (Building Blocks.DOTX) or they will not be available with your template when you submit it for publication online.

Guidelines for creating and saving building blocks:

  • In general, create building blocks for design elements or content placeholders that your or customers might use more than once in a template.
  • Make sure that your building blocks are theme-ready, like all other content in your Word 2010 template. For more information on how to make your templates theme-ready, see How to create a template earlier in this document.
  • If you save building blocks to the Quick Parts Gallery, group related elements to help prevent problems with layering and to help ensure that customers can more easily identify and select content without scrolling through an overwhelming number of options when using the Quick Parts menu.
  • If you group elements, format the group immediately before saving it to the Quick Parts Gallery (or any other gallery). Formatting that you apply before grouping two or more elements is automatically removed when you group them.
  • For content within building blocks, make sure that you follow all of the guidelines for formatting images, text, tables, shapes, and other objects provided in this document. For example, make sure that you format groups of design elements to be relative to the page, and determine whether each group should be in front of or behind text. This helps prevent problems with alignment and layering when customers insert your building blocks into a document.
  • If you save a building block to the Quick Parts Gallery, it will appear in the Quick Parts menu as well as in the Building Blocks Organizer. However, depending on its content and position on the page, the building block might not display a preview in the Quick Parts menu. To help customers more easily select these building blocks, make sure that building block names clearly identify their content and function, especially in relation to other building blocks that you make available in the template.
  • If your building blocks do not belong in one of the default Word 2010 building block galleries (such as headers, footers, or page numbers) and you have created more than one type of building block, create new categories and organize your building blocks appropriately within those categories.
  • Make sure the category names clearly indicate the type of building blocks that they contain, for example, ''Page borders.'' Make sure, also, that you group related building blocks, such as all page border variations, within the appropriate category and create new categories for other groups of building blocks, for example, ''Background images.''

How to save building blocks to the Quick Parts gallery

 Important    Do not save building blocks to your default building blocks template in Word 2010 (Building Blocks.DOTX). To make your building blocks available in the published version of a template, you must save them to the template file itself. Make sure you save your template and do not change the file name after adding building blocks to the Quick Parts gallery.

Because they are shared across all open Word 2010 documents, you cannot test building blocks by simply viewing the Quick Parts menu or Building Blocks Organizer in another document that is open while you create a template. To test if you have successfully added a building block to a template:

  1. Close Word 2010 and any open documents, and then reopen the template file by right-clicking the file name and then clicking Open. This will open the template (DOTX file) instead of a document (DOCX file) that is based on the template.
  2. Check the Quick Parts menu and the Building Blocks Organizer to see if your building block displays in the correct location.
  3. If the building blocks appear to be correctly saved to the template, close the template file and then open a document (DOCX file) based on the template.
  4. Insert each building block into the test document to see if it works correctly. Make sure that you also test building blocks by changing the text or images that they contain if you intend that customers should be able to modify them, and by making sure that the document prints correctly after you have added building blocks, including any combination of building blocks that customers might use.
  5. If you need to make changes to a building block, close the test document and then reopen the template file. Repeat these functional testing steps each time that you modify building blocks within a template.

If you would like to submit a building block template instead of including building blocks within a Word 2010 template, please see the submission requirements in Creating and submitting building block templates later in this document.

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Inserting pictures, shapes, and SmartArt

Pictures, photos, ClipArt, and SmartArt are referred to as images in this section, except where specific guidelines apply to each. These features are available on the Insert tab of the Word 2010 ribbon. When adding images to your template, be aware of your template’s overall file size. Larger files will take longer for users to download, and we recommend a maximum file size of 10MB.

Legal responsibilities

Before you choose images to include in a template, make sure that they are not protected by copyright or trademark and are suitable for public distribution.

Image file format

You can insert vector or bitmap files, but for image quality and file size purposes, we strongly recommend that you insert the following:

  • JPEG File Interchange Format (JPEG, JPG, JFIF, or JPE files)
  • Portable Network Graphics (PNG files)
  • Windows Enhanced Metafile (EMF files)

Image resolution

Resolution values depend on how you intend a template to be used. Remember that we recommend a maximum file size of 10MB for templates.

  • If a template is intended to be viewed online only, use a resolution of 72 DPI.
  • If a template is intended for print or for print and online use, use a resolution of 150 or 200 DPI.
  • To test image resolution, print the template on a home printer. Commercial printers use a resolution of 300 DPI, but most home printers can print 150 to 200 DPI only.

Resizing and formatting images

You can add images to a template by placing them directly (“inline'') on a page, inserting them into a text box, or inserting them into a table cell. You can also insert images by using a Picture content control, which you can format like any other object in addition to formatting the picture itself.

A picture control enables customers to change the picture without copying or pasting images. Instead, customers can click the Picture control label above the image and Word will automatically open a dialog box that customers can use to navigate to the image they want and insert it.

If you're not sure which option to use, this information might help:

  • Using a table cell can help prevent customers from accidentally moving or resizing an image in disproportion to other elements in a template, depending upon how you format the table or table cell.
  • Text boxes can also help prevent accidental repositioning or resizing of an image, but are more easily moved than tables.
  • Picture controls are easily formatted like any other text or objects, enable you to format the picture size and text wrapping and to add captions, and enable customers to change the picture with a just a few clicks instead of copying and pasting.
  • If you do not expect customers to replace an image, such as images on some cards or stationery, consider placing the image “behind text'' to help prevent accidental repositioning or resizing of the image.

Guidelines for inserting and formatting images:

  • Add images by copying them into a table cell or text box, filling a text box with a picture using the Format options, or by inserting a Picture control from the Developer tab; do not add images by inserting them in a drawing canvas.
  • Format all images to be relative to the page, regardless of how you insert them. This helps maintain the integrity of your original design if customers change the page orientations, margins, or paper size with which you intended the template to be used.
  • Group images only if they form one cohesive image and act as a single design element. Do not group multiple images in separate locations on a page.
  • Use a graphics editing program to resize photos and then save them to the recommended resolution setting for print or online use. For more information, see Image resolution earlier in this document.
  • To resize images other than photos, press and hold the SHIFT key while dragging the image borders to maintain proportion.
  • To crop an image, you can use the cropping tool in Word. When you finish cropping, we recommend that you compress the picture using the default compression settings. This removes the cropped areas of the images from the file and reduces the file size.
  • Associate all shapes with a style. For more information, see How to create a template earlier in this document.

Text and alternate text (alt text)

Follow these guidelines for using text that relates to images:

  • For accessibility reasons, add alt text to all images. For alt text guidelines, see the Alternate text (alt text) section in Make your templates more accessible for users with disabilities.
  • Do not use pictures or photos that contain text because the image cannot be localized into other languages.
  • If you use text within a shape or SmartArt, make sure that it meets the Placeholder and sample text guidelines later in this document.
  • To add placeholder or sample text next to an image that you have inserted into a table cell, place the text in a separate table cell. This makes it easier for customers to modify both the image and the text.

Using images as backgrounds

In general, avoid using photos as background images because they greatly increase the template file size. If you do choose to use a photo as a background image, make sure that you use one of the image file formats described earlier in this document and try to use the lowest resolution possible with acceptable image quality because high resolution images can increase file size and download times.

In Word 2010, you can use a picture as a transparent background if you create a text box, fill it with a picture (do not insert or embed the picture), and then select transparency settings for the text box.

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Page layout options

This section discusses commonly used options on the Page Layout tab of the Word 2010 ribbon.


To prevent any portion of a template from being cut off when printed, set margins to no less than 0.4'' on all sides. No text, objects, or page borders should extend past the 0.4'' margin requirement.

If your design requires objects to bleed off the page, keep in mind that only customers with printers that can accommodate bleeds will be able to correctly print the template.

Paper size

Set templates to print on standard paper sizes. A few commonly used document sizes are letter, tabloid, and legal. Some commonly used envelope sizes are also listed in the Word 2010 page layout options.


Use columns only when you intend text to flow from one column to another, whether across one or multiple pages. In most cases, using text boxes, inline text, or tables will provide more flexible layout options for a template design.

Page breaks

To use page breaks, we recommend creating a style that includes a page break in the paragraph formatting and then applying it to the text or object before which you want the break to occur. Make sure that the name of the style indicates that it includes a page break. Page breaks can be default for customers for detect and remove or apply, however, so we recommend using them only if absolutely necessary to the layout of the template.

To insert a page break that does not depend on text or objects, create and name a style “Page break'' so that customers can apply it as needed.

 Note    Do not insert manual page breaks. Again, depending on how a customer modifies the template, a manual page break can disrupt his or her content and might be difficult to correct for someone who is unfamiliar with paragraph formatting options.

Page color

Apply a page color to templates that are intended to be viewed online only. Do not apply a page color to templates that are intended for print.

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Inserting hyperlinks

If you are a Microsoft partner and plan to provide links within a template, we recommend that you add a screen tip (also known as hover text) which details the target URL of the link and provides search terms for any web sites or multimedia files online that you link to. That way, if the target of the link you provide is removed or changes at a later time, other people will be able to view the intended target and search for it.

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Using content controls and macros

Content controls and macro functions are available on the Developer tab of the Word 2010 ribbon.

 Note    When you install Word 2010, the Developer tab is not turned on by default. If you haven't already done so, you can turn it on. On the File tab, click Options, and then click Customize Ribbon. In the Main Tabs list, check Developer.

Content controls

Content controls are available from the Developer tab, in the Controls section. Use them to insert placeholder text and functions such as rich and plain text controls, picture controls, drop-down lists, and date pickers. To manage content control properties, however, make sure you turn on Developer Mode while working with the contents of a control.

By default, information within a text content control is formatted using the Placeholder Text style. You can modify this style using the Styles pane (see How to create a template above) or apply any other style you prefer to the contents of a control.

You can insert content controls on a page in line with other text, within a table, or within a text box. We recommend using content controls to display:

  • Placeholder and sample text, including template instructions such as “Type address here'' or "[1234 Oak Street]".
  • Document properties such as title and author; note that these controls are automatically populated when a customer opens a document based on the template. They also update automatically across a document when a customer edits the document properties
  • Date and time placeholder information; use the Date Picker control for inserting and formatting a specific date style
  • Pictures and other images, such as photos, placeholder logos, and illustrations with captions, using the Picture control.
  • Drop-down lists but only when you want to create a pre-defined list of items that customers can select from, as they will not be able to change the drop-down list contents

Use Design Mode to work with content controls and follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure text within content controls follows the Placeholder and sample text guidelines later in this document.
  • Apply styles to all text in content controls by editing the content control properties and applying a style to the contents of the control.
  • Label content controls that are linked and that appear more than once in the template. Do not label content controls that are used only once in a template.
  • Format content controls to remove the control when its contents are edited, except for linked controls that are used more than once in the template. Linked controls should always be labeled and displayed.
  • If you test content controls by retaining the control while editing its contents, restore the correct setting for each control before submitting the template.

 Note    To include a checklist in your template for online use, use a check box content control. To include a checklist for print, create the check box with a graphic. For more information about creating checklists, see Make a checklist in Word. For more information about creating forms, see Create forms that users complete in Word.


Macros can provide a convenient way for someone to customize your templates and take full advantage of your designs. If your template contains macros, make sure that you save it using the DOTM file format and test that the macros are working correctly, with appropriate error handling, on a computer that meets the system requirements before you submit it for publication.

 Important    If you are a Microsoft Office Online Templates partner, please contact your Microsoft representative before submitting templates with macros. As a security measure, templates containing macros must be reviewed and digitally signed by Microsoft before they can be published online; templates that have been digitally signed by third parties cannot be published and should be submitted without a digital signature.

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Placeholder and sample text

Placeholder and sample text should clearly indicate the type of information that customers need to enter when working with a template:

  • Use content controls to display all placeholder and sample text.
  • Format all text in content controls by using styles, not manual formatting. Make sure that the styles are associated with theme fonts and colors and that they include the appropriate indents and spacing, including page breaks.
  • Place placeholder and sample text within brackets to indicate that customers should type over the text, for example: [Your business tag line here], [Company Name], and [1234 Main Street, Bothell, MT].
  • Make sure that sentences and phrases use editorially correct capitalization and punctuation.
  • To create lines where text should be entered or written, such as signature lines, use a table cell with a bottom border, a bottom paragraph border, or an underlined tab leader. Do not use underscore characters because they can't be “filled in'' online and because they display as dotted lines in print.
  • Use either instructional or sample text, but be sure to use it consistently within a template. For example, use “Street Address, City, ST'' or “1234 Main Street, Bothell, MD'' but do not use both in the same template. For more information about legal naming requirements, see Street addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses later in this document.
  • If you prefer to use generic placeholder text instead of sample text, use the text and construction provided in Generic placeholder text later in this document.

Street addresses, telephone numbers, web sites and e-mail addresses

 Important    For copyright, trademark, and privacy reasons, make sure that any person or company names, addresses, telephone numbers, web sites, and e-mail addresses in your templates comply with these legal naming requirements for text and construction.

Street addresses

  • Use sequential numbers
  • Use common street names
  • Use a ZIP Code that does not match the state listed in the address, for example: 4567 Main Street, Buffalo, NY  98052

Telephone numbers

  • Use an area code that does not match the state listed in the address
  • Use the prefix 555
  • Use suffix numbers between 0100 and 0199, for example: (425) 555-0150 where 425 is not the correct area code for the state you have selected

E-mail addresses

  • Use This address has been reserved by Microsoft for use for sample purposes.

Names in the public domain

Places such as parks and other public city locations are in the public domain. You can refer to these names without trademark issues. If you are not certain, however, please request permission from the appropriate contacts or contact your Microsoft representative.

You can also use publicly disseminated information such as The American Heart Association Food Guidelines, but you must credit the organization. If you are not certain whether information or company names are in the public domain, please contact the organization to obtain permission.

Company names and web site addresses

To create fictitious company or person names and web site addresses:

  • Avoid any name or web site address that you know to be real, especially in combination.
  • Use generic or descriptive names such as The Dental Office or The City Planning Office
  • Use the names of trees, for example, for fictitious educational institutes such as Elm High School or Maple University.
  • Thoroughly research your fictitious name by going online, using telephone service publications, and other publicly available resources.

Generic placeholder text

To help ensure that placeholder text is consistent across all templates on the web site, use the text and construction provided in the table below.

Function Placeholder text and construction

To indicate person or company names, use these placeholder texts:

  • Recipient Name
  • Company Name
  • Your name here
Business tag line Your business tag line here
Company contact information

To indicate company contact information, use these placeholder texts:

  • Company Name
  • Street Address
  • Address 2
  • City, ST  ZIP Code

For example: 4567 Main Street, Buffalo, NY  98052

Telephone and fax numbers

To create a telephone or fax number:

  • Use an area code that does not match the state listed in the address
  • Use 555 as the prefix
  • Use numbers between 0100 and 0199 for suffix

For example, based on the address above: (425) 555-0150

E-mail and web site addresses

To indicate e-mail and web site addresses, use these placeholder texts:

  • E-mail address
  • Web site address
Recipient mailer information

To indicate recipient mailer information, use these placeholder texts:

  • Recipient Name
  • Street Address
  • Address 2
  • City, ST  ZIP Code

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Submission requirements

File format

Save and submit Word 2010 templates for publication as Word Template (DOTX) files. Except for the two exceptions listed below, files submitted in document format (DOCX files) will not be published. Instead, they will be returned to you for revision and testing in the correct template format.

Building block templates and templates that contain macros require additional production work before they can be published to the Office Online web site:

File name

When you save a Word 2010 template, make sure that the file name:

  • Complies with the 12.4 naming convention, meaning that the file name contains no more than 12 letters or characters before the four-letter file type extension, for example: WeddingPlan.DOTX
  • Does not contain spaces or special characters, including apostrophes; file names may contain hyphens or underscores, if needed
  • Contains sequential numbers for variations of a template where the content (text) of the template does not change but themes, images, or colors vary. Start by adding the number 2 to the end of each file name, for example: WeddingPlan.DOTX, WeddingPlan2.DOTX, WeddingPlan3.DOTX

Template titles

To ensure that your template titles are consistent and easy for customers to review in search results and browse categories on the Office Online web site, follow these guidelines:

  • Use nouns and modifiers but don't use verbs or gerunds. For example: “Garden plan'' (but not “Planning a garden'')
  • Place modifiers before nouns, if possible. For example: Third grade book report, Pet sitter invoice, Birthday and anniversary calendar
  • Capitalize the first word of a title only. Do not capitalize words within parenthesis unless they include the name of a design or a theme such as ''Garden planner (Floral design).''
  • Use no more than 32 characters, if possible.
  • If you include the template title within the body of the template as sample text, include the same title in the file properties (Title field).

Template descriptions

Each template requires a description of up to 160 characters. These descriptions appear in search results, other search engines, and on the template's download page. To ensure that your template descriptions are easy for customers to review, follow these guidelines:

  • Do not restate or rephrase the template title in the description.
  • Do not use the description field just to list possible keywords, but do include important keywords in your description, for example “Tax checklist.”
  • Describe the purpose of the template.
  • Write from specific to general, for example, “Control your expenses with this one-year personal budget spreadsheet for Excel 2010; includes sparklines and charts.
  • Use action words. Emphasize how your template can help customers complete the tasks they need to do, rather than emphasizing the product features your template uses.
  • Do not follow the same pattern for all your template descriptions. If all your descriptions start in the same way, customers are much more likely to skip over them.
  • Mention the product and version if applicable.
  • Make each character count. Include only vital information--the less that customers have to read, the more impact what you do say is likely to have.
  • Make it unique to the template. A description that's already used by another template won't cause your upload to fail, but it will make your template less attractive to potential customers.

Creating and submitting building block templates (Microsoft partners only)

We recommend creating building blocks for use as design elements within a Word 2010 template, and then adding them to the Quick Parts Gallery. For more information, see Using building blocks in a template earlier in this document.

If you do choose to create a building block template that can be downloaded separately and applied to other documents:

  1. Create the content that you want to use as a building block.
  2. Create a blank page by inserting a section break before the building block content. This page will be removed during the final publishing process so it doesn't matter if the section contains a header or footer.
  3. Save the building block content as a DOCX file, not as a DOTX file.

Because building block templates require additional publishing work, the file will be converted to the template file format during the publishing process.

Functional testing

When you finish building a template, make sure that:

  • If a template is intended for print, it displays correctly in print preview and prints correctly.
  • If a template is intended for viewing online only, it displays correctly using the default settings for Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • If a template requires folding, cutting, or assembly, the template and instructions work as intended.
  • Tables, text boxes, content controls, pictures and any other object and elements of the design that you expect customers to modify work as intended when you add or remove text, replace pictures, and resize pictures or objects.
  • All objects and elements are positioned relative to the page for scalability; test the template by changing the page orientation or margins, and then viewing the template online and in print.
  • The template contains no blank pages and no manual page breaks, unless it is a building block template. For more information, see Creating and submitting building block templates and Page layout options earlier in this document.
  • Font colors, pictures, and shapes are easily discernible from background colors, both online and in print.
  • When you open the Styles window, it displays styles in use only. Any styles that you created or modified but did not use are deleted. In the Style Pane Options dialog box, styles are applied to new documents based on the template.

Saving templates

After you have finished building and testing a template, but before you save the final version of the file for submission:

  • Make sure that you’ve checked for and removed any personally identifying information in your template. It is a good idea to review the template for hidden data or personal information that might be stored in the template itself or its properties. For more information, see Remove hidden data and personal information by inspecting documents.
  • Make sure all text boxes, tables, shapes, and other objects are positioned relative to the page.
  • Turn off track changes and formatting marks, making sure that any existing revisions have been accepted or rejected and that no revision lines remain in the margins of the template. This often occurs when spacing or paragraph returns have been edited with track changes turned on.
  • Maximize the template window in Print Layout view.
  • Restore the default zoom setting (100%) and then save the template with the zoom setting applied (press CTRL+S). If the template does not display well at the default setting, adjust the zoom to make the template easier to view at first use, and then save the template with the new zoom setting applied.
  • If you have created a letter template, set the zoom to Page Width.
  • Open the Styles window and make sure that it is configured to display styles in use only, and that styles are applied to new documents based on the template.
  • Check spelling and grammar and resolve all spelling and grammar problems.
  • Save the template.
  • Check the file for viruses by using the antivirus software of your choice.

If you modify a template after testing and saving it, repeat these steps before submitting the template for publication.

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Word 2010 template quick reference sheet

Review this checklist in conjunction with the functional testing and saving requirements to ensure that your templates are ready for submission. Make sure, also, that your template satisfies the important considerations for your content and audience that are described in What to know before you create a template and Make your templates more accessible for users with disabilities.

Guideline Details to check
  • All text, tables, shapes, and background styles are formatted with themes for their colors, fonts and graphic effects, and not with direct manual formatting.

As a test, apply each of the built-in themes to your template and confirm that all of the elements change appropriately as the theme is changed.

  • Placeholder and sample text are used consistently within the template and meet legal naming guidelines.
  • All text is formatted using styles that are associated with theme fonts and colors and that contain appropriate indent and spacing settings.
  • Any custom styles use only theme colors and body or heading fonts.
  • The template title meets the Office Online web site requirements.
  • Only fonts that ship with your version of Windows and the Microsoft Office system are used.
  • Spelling and grammar are correct.
  • Track Changes is turned off.
Images and objects
  • All pictures and photos have alt text.
  • All shapes and AutoShapes are associated with theme colors.
  • Any building blocks used in the template are added to the Quick Parts Gallery or to the appropriate Building Blocks Gallery and are saved to the template file itself.
  • For tables, heading rows are set to repeat, if appropriate to the design and if text can flow across more than one page.
  • Inserted images are in JPEG, PNG or EMF format for best results.
  • Images have a resolution of 72 dpi for on-screen use and 150-200 dpi if they will be printed.
  • Images have been sized and cropped prior to being inserted into the template.
  • Images may be freely distributed and are not protected by a trademark or copyright.
  • Margins are set to no less than 0.4'' and no objects or elements exceed or overlap with the margins.
  • Text boxes, tables, pictures, and shapes are formatted to be relative to the page and are formatted to flow or to not flow contents, as appropriate.
  • The template is saved in Print Layout view in a maximized window.
  • Zoom is set to 100% (or whatever setting best displays the template contents for editing); for letters, zoom is set to Page Width.
  • Formatting marks are turned off.
  • The Styles window is configured to show styles that are in use only and the styles are applied to new documents based on the template.
  • Styles that you created or modified but didn't use and any manual spaces, paragraph marks, and page breaks are deleted.
  • Add a screen tip (also known as hover text) which details the target URL of the link and provides search terms for any web sites or multimedia files online that you link to.
Content controls and macros
  • All text in content controls is formatted by editing the content control properties and applying a style to the contents of the control.
  • Templates containing macros have been submitted unsigned for Microsoft to review and digitally sign.
Submission guidelines
  • The file is saved using the appropriate format: DOTX, DOTM (for templates containing macros), or DOCX (for building block templates only.)
  • Template file name conforms to 12.4 naming convention and contains no special characters other than alphanumeric characters, hyphens, and underscores.
  • Template title is no more than 32 characters, uses sentence caps, and uses only nouns and modifiers.
  • Template description is no more than 160 characters and describes the purpose of the template succinctly.
  • Document inspector has been run and all issues resolved.

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Applies to:
Word 2010