Saving Sanity With Templates & Styles

Julie L.

We interrupt your normal programming for an important message:
A pause for a month or three on actual software is going to occur right here. Last month, an article was written about saving your work as you type, and how to name it, and the importance. And honestly, it got me thinking about some seriously untalked about items that are similarly related, and just as vital to authors: Templates and Styles.
For those who know what these are, apologies, but I've run into a *lot* of people who actually have no idea what these are, as they relate to writing. A template, in software and writing, is what has already been made, preset, that you open a copy of. When you open Word, Google Docs, etc. the settings like margins, font/font size, header/footer, line/paragraph spacing and the like, are already set at something. A typical Word document pulls up a 1" all around margins, Cambria/Calibri font, 12 pt., 1/2" header/footer, portrait.
It's already there, cursor at the top right.
You *never* open a template, you open a copy. That is what makes it a template and not a document. Templates are coded into the software to always open a copy for you to use. In Word, you can find the template, hidden deep inside some random folder. It's name is normal.dotx. That .dot or .dotx designates it as a template, and the name "normal" is what Word looks for when it opens a new document for you.
I did not like my, so I created one and did a Save As, and then deleted the original. Word was not happy, had some fits, but I was victorious. I would not recommend it, though. However I *am* going to show you how to make a template, next month. This month is the *why* it's needed.
Now, a style is a word you've seen floating around your word processor, and we all know the normal meaning. Style in word processors is specific to font/paragraph settings. In Word, you'll see your styles in little boxes at the top: Normal, Heading 1, Heading 2, Bullets, etc. When you click on one of the boxes, the settings for that style show up. For example, Normal is Cambria, 12 pt., no bold/italic, single line spacing. Heading 1 is Calibri, 18 pt., bold, 1.5 line spacing.
If you want to change the style of your text, you simply highlight the words and go to the boxes at the top and click a different one. In Word, the outlined in a bold-ish border box is what your style currently *is*. In OpenOffice and Zoho Writer, it's more of a dropdown menu-looking thing, but seeing what style your text is in is always easy to find.
Why do I believe this is important enough to warrant a couple of months of articles?

Read the entire article in the April 2021 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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