A Microsoft Office template in Word, PowerPoint or Excel should only use the facilities offered by the Office suite. With a general issue of training for most people, it is hardly surprising that the uninitiated produce poor templates themselves. We receive a request for help from one designer or another every month, where they have produced a template on the Mac and find that it doesn’t work on their client’s PC. There are some very good reasons for this, despite the fact that Microsoft tell you how compatible their software is. So what things do we consider when reviewing a job for a template? Here are a few you might want to discuss.
1. What versions of the software does the template have to work in?
There are some layouts that designers come up with that are actually a little too complicated for that ‘idiot-proof’ requirement. We have every version of Office going back to Office 95, although we don’t get to use that one too often. This means we can test a template in any one of them.
2. Which fonts are being used by the template, and therefore, the user?
There are a whole host of standard fonts, many of which are available on Mac, Windows and, in some cases, Unix too. Any other font needs to be bought and installed on any computer that a user may work on and are subject to licensing terms. Choosing the right format can save a lot of aggravation over time.
3. How automated does the template need to be?
Some clients expect a certain amount of automation as standard. Some templates need some automation to deal with the options and issues involved in the design or editorial process. We develop macros and additional features and functions to help the users complete a certain task. These tasks often include a number of specific steps that would be too complicated to explain each time, or for very complicated needs where a macro saves a great deal of time and potential heartache.
So what could we be doing for you?