Word 2007: Apply a template

October 3, 2008

In earlier versions of word it was easy to apply a template via Tools > Options > Templates and Add-Ins. Not quite so simple in Word 2007, at least initially. However, once you’ve got yourself set up, it’s easy. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Click the large Microsoft Office button in the top left.
  2. Click Word Options.
  3. Click Popular.
  4. Select the Show Developer tab in the Ribbon check box.
  5. Click OK.

Once you’ve got it set up:

  1. Click the Developer tab.
  2. Click the Document Template button in the Templates group. This opens the Templates and Add-ins window, which works the same as in earlier versions of Word.
  3. Click Attach.
  4. Select your template, then click Open.
  5. Optional: If you want to apply the template’s style settings to styles of the same name in your document, then check Automatically update document styles.
  6. Click OK.

Note 1: If you checked Automatically update document styles in step 6, then I STRONGLY suggest you turn it off again after you’ve attached the template and updated the styles automatically.

Note 2: Applying a template only affects styles. Other aspects of the template (content, headers/footers, page margins etc.) are not carried across into your existing document.


  1. Thank you so much for the quick guide to understanding the nightmare that is Office 2007.

  2. nightmare you can say… these options don’t exist in word 2007 on mac….

  3. You just saved me a BUNCH of time. I couldn’t find the info in the documentation.

  4. Thank you! I have just been given a new computer with office 7 and it’s an exercise in frustration. “It’s got to be here somewhere, where the XXXX have they hidden it this time?”

  5. This saved me a lot of confusion. Thanks

  6. Thanks!

    But does anyone know why the header/footer in the template does not show when you attach a template this way? Is it not supposed to?

  7. Very helpful. I can’t imagine how much time it would have taken me without this. Thanks.

  8. thanks a lot!!! I don’t understand why microsoft has to make everything so complicated…office 03 was so much simpler…I don’t understand why 07 was worse…just like vista I guess…

  9. Thank you!

  10. thanks, great info. But I’m also not able to transfer the Header/Footer from the template. Is there a workaround this?

  11. Thanks. I had had no success looking for this information until I found your site.

    I don’t know why that information is kept so secret. Apparently they don’t expect anyone to want to backfit a template.

    But $5 for a coffee? Come ON!

  12. I don’t know where you live, but a coffee here costs between $3.50 and $8.00 PER CUP from a coffee shop, cafe, or restaurant; unlike the US, Australia doesn’t have a culture of free, unlimited refills. I provide daily tips at no cost to anyone. All I ask is that if you’ve saved at least $5 worth of your time from using one of my tips, that you consider thanking me by buying me a ‘virtual’ coffee. You are under no obligation to do so.

  13. Thanks a lot! I was searching for this option for the past one hour. I have only another hour left to complete my job. Thanks a lot.

  14. Thanks !

    Any follow-up on the headers/footers issue ?

  15. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any way to replace the headers and footers in an existing doc with the headers and footers from another template. Because it’s content, not formatting, I suspect that there’s an unwritten rule of “Don’t touch the content!”.

    A workaround would be to copy the header/footer from the template, then paste it over the header/footer in the doc to which that template has been applied. A little time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of sections, but there’s no reason that this wouldn’t work. It’s not automated though, so if you have a lot of docs with a lot of section breaks, you could be doing this for a long time.

  16. Thanks a lot

  17. great article, helped me re-associate a document with the relevant template. thanks for posting.

  18. Thank you very much and enjoy the coffee :-) This was very helpful.

  19. […] Word 2007: Apply a template […]

  20. fyi: OTHER OPTION if you do not want the developer tab
    1. round office button
    2. word options
    3. add-ins
    4. manage: template + hit GO
    5. select template

  21. This was very helpful. Certainly hidden enough that I would have never found it. I am not a savvy user of Word so I am still frustrated trying to apply a template to more than one page. When I type my doucment and it spills to the next page the template changes its looks to something else and I can’t get it to work.

  22. the issue with the headers and footers can be solved v easily with building blocks. Highlight the Header/footer, click insert ribbon, click quick parts, click save selection. Name it etc. To use, insert ribbon, quickparts, right click on part saved , insert as footer/header

  23. Nice (in a bad way) to see that so many people find Word as incomprehensible as I do. The thing with not being able to carry over headers & footers also holds for page structure. It gets you nowhere to tweaked the margins to get just the look you want in your template, because that does not transfer with the template either. One would think that the Word folks would read these posts to see where they need to make improvements. In another life maybe…

  24. Thank you for the tip on saving headers & footers as building blocks. Another obscure feature of WIT that can be extrememly useful…once you know it’s there. May Mahota smile upon you.

  25. brilliant! (you, not the one who created this piece of crab in the 1st place)

  26. My problem–and I don’t think it is mentioned here–is twofold:

    1. The template does not “travel” with the document. I apply a template using the Developer tab. When I open the document, it looks like it’s supposed to. But if I e-mail the document to somebody else at my organization, the template does not go along and the recipient sees something completely different. What am I doing wrong?

    2. When I try to apply a template, sometimes I get a message saying another user is in it. Since the templates are read-only, how is that possible?

  27. Hi Judy

    1. The template document NEVER goes with the Word document. It says it’s attached and the styles etc. seem to be set as per the template, but the template itself doesn’t end up in the recipient’s file system. If the attached template has the same name as a template on their computer (e.g. Normal.dot), the recipient’s styles will override the document’s styles as set in the ‘attached’ template. To avoid that, ALWAYS name your templates with a unique name, and, to be certain that the recipient has access to the template, send it with the Word doc and tell them to save it to their Microsoft\Templates directory.

    2. I have no idea on this one. Users shouldn’t be opening templates — they should be double-clicking on the *.dot (or *.dotx or *dotm) file and generating a new instance of an empty doc as a result.


  28. ON A MAC – using Word 2008

    I don’t know if this will help anyone, but I found that I can create a custom page size and then apply that to a document to make it fit a certain size.

    Go to File> Page Setup> Paper Size> Manage Custom Sizes

    Here you can create the size you need. The follow that same path once inside your document to update it to the new size.

    I was glad for the tip at the top of this page, till I realized I don’t have that Developer option on my Mac… So, I hope that this helps someone!

  29. Thank u for ur kind help

  30. Rhonda, I didn’t ever thank you for your helpful help, back in January of this year–THANK YOU. Boy, did you save my brain from frying.

  31. thank u v much for ur kind info…..

  32. thank you very much,its bit helped here unfortunately i am looking how to insert cover page template in ms.word 2007. when i click insert-cover page, the new cover page template pump in on the cover page list..

  33. Hi Arie

    I’m not 100% sure what you’re trying to do (I didn’t understand ‘pump in on the cover page list’), but I’ll take a guess. You can insert a cover page from the standard ones that Microsoft provides in Word 2007/2010 from the Insert tab > Cover Page. You can only have one cover page in a document, so the cover page you choose from the list of default ones will replace any that you previously had.

    If you want, you can design your own cover page for use with all your documents.
    1. Create your cover page to look how you want it (or use one of the ones that Microsoft provides and modify it).
    2. Select it.
    3. Go to Insert tab > Cover Page and select Save Selection to Cover Page Gallery (at the bottom of the drop-down menu).
    4. Complete the information (see this blog for how to do it for tables — cover pages work similarly, but you have to save them as ‘Cover Page’ as the Gallery for it to appear in your drop-down list of available cover pages: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/word-2007-using-quick-tables/)
    5. Once you’ve saved your customised cover page to the building blocks gallery, it will be available to you from the drop-down list of cover pages.

    I hope that’s what you wanted.


  34. Hi, Rhonda. Hope you’re enjoying your holiday! But I hope you get back in time to answer my question. ;-)

    Re: 1.Click the Developer tab.
    2.Click the Document Template button in the Templates group. This opens the Templates and Add-ins window, which works the same as in earlier versions of Word.
    3.Apply your template, then click OK.

    It’s that last part “Apply” that is unclear. What is the sequence of actions on that dialog? Add first? Attach first? What is the relationship between the two? (And whatever happened to context-sensitive help?! It would be so nice if MS had provided such for this dialog.) I’m using 2010, btw.

    Thanks so much and I am heading straight to StarBucks to send you a week’s supply of virtual coffees!

  35. PayPal appears to be down at the moment. Or your links don’t work, but I can’t log in to PP, so I think it’s them. Will try again later.

  36. Hi Paula

    I’ve added some more steps so that it’s clear what you need to do.


  37. Thanks, Rhonda. I’m just getting around to checking back on this. At the time, I had to go with my best guess and move on. But I didn’t forget! and I’m going to try again to buy you that coffee now.

  38. […] Before Word 2007, it was easy to apply/attach/link to a template via Tools > Options > Templates and Add-Ins. Not quite so simple once Word 2007 was introduced (instructions for Word 2007: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/word-2007-apply-a-template/). […]

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