In this post I want to cover how to use templates from SharePoint content types.
Most of us have used a template in the past to create a presentation or start a document, and many of us are guilty of reusing the last great version of a document as a starting point instead of locating and using a template.
This pragmatic approach helps to avoid wheel reinvention and utilises the efforts of the clever person who created the file in the first place – however, the problem with reusing a last good version versus using a template is that your new file takes on any issues that existed in the original doc, and you could very likely be using out of date branding, terminology and styles.
Why use templates?
The whole point of a template is to help users build a professional, consistent document with less thought and time needed to figure out styles, themes and formatting.
Templates help to enforce consistency so that any file shared or presented by your company is easily identified as such – ‘branded’ as a quality document from your organisation.
Consistency in your docs or presentations assists with readability for your audience. Clean and consistent text makes for a speedy and pleasant reading experience, which all helps the reader to absorb and retain the content you’re sharing.
Whether it’s reading through a proposal, watching a PowerPoint presentation or contemplating an invoice, you want your audience to get the important points and take on board the information you’re providing.
Apply your branding
Showing attention to detail and applying your branding isn’t just about ease of readability – your documents and presentations represent your company and can say a lot about what it’s like doing business with you.
It’s natural for a reader to wonder what else may be wrong in a proposal if you can’t even get your logo right. A quality document suggests you know what you’re doing, and that you’ll also provide a quality product or service.
SharePoint comes with a feature known as content types that makes the usage of templates enforceable, ensures users only access the latest version of a template, and makes it easy for them to save to the correct folder.
- Navigate to the document library that you wish to save the final document to, e.g. Client Files > Acme > Proposals
- Click the New button and select the relevant template from the pull down menu
- Add content and make your edits to the file
- Save the document to the correct folder
This makes it really easy to get it right. Users don’t have to second guess if they’re working from the most recent template with the correct logo and styles etc. – they don’t need to care where the templates are stored or remember how to search to locate them. They just create a new doc based on the template (content type) and save it to the folder they navigated to in SharePoint.
Make it easy to navigate to key templates and forms
Use the promoted links app to help users quickly locate logos stored in image libraries. Your marketing team or office manager can ensure only approved branding and logos are accessible. You can also set up key templates as promoted links, making navigation a breeze for end users.
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