How to Create a Document in Microsoft Word

create a document with a template

How would you create a document? To create a document, you will need a word processing application installed in your computer system. You might also use online word processing apps such as Google Docs, Zoho Writer, Pages, Office online, etc.

There are different word-processing desktop applications that you can use to create a document. Some of them are Pages for Apple devices, WordPerfect for Windows only, and LibreOffice for Linux, Windows, and Mac. In this tutorial, our emphasis is on creating a document using Microsoft Word only.

From the previous tutorial [What is Microsoft Word?], we discovered that you can create different kinds of documents in Word. For example, letters, reports, memos, newsletters, flyers, books, etc. In this Microsoft Word tutorial, we shall learn how to create letters, resumes, invoices, and certificate documents.

Creating your First Document

Creating your first document begins with saving a new document or by creating a file. There are two options:

  1. Create a document from available templates
  2. Start with a blank document template

Every document created will be saved to allow us to have access to them in the future. Also, every change made to a document requires saving to sustain the changes. This means that when something is added or removed from a document, it must be saved to sustain the changes.

Before we delve into creating different kinds of documents, let us understand how to save a document. This is the process of creating a file. You can create a file in any compatible application using a similar method.

Create a file in MS Word

Saving a document is the process of storing a document in a storage device for easy accessibility in the future. When you create a document, you must preserve it so you can use it in the future. The saved document which becomes a file can be:

  • archived for future references
  • updated or revised to meet the present-day needs
  • deleted if it is no longer needed

The document is usually saved in a storage device which is primarily the hard drive in the computer system. There are other storage devices where you can save your documents, including the cloud. Microsoft has made it easy for you to save documents in the cloud using OneDrive for your desktop. Documents saved in the cloud are accessible from any device by using your Microsoft ID.

Also, to save a document, you need to place it in a folder. The default folder where all documents are saved in Microsoft Word is called Documents. However, you have the option of choosing an appropriate folder where your documents will be saved. Hence, you can create new folders for ease of file organization.

This means that as a business owner or student, you can have different folders where different files are stored. Files for research work can be stored in the research folder, while other files are stored in documents. Haven said this, how do you save your documents?

To save your document or create a file in Microsoft word, do the following:

  1. Open Microsoft Word using any of the methods discussed in our previous post.
  2. On the Microsoft Word window that appears, do any of the following:
Microsoft Word window - the QA toolbar
create a document in Microsoft Word
  • Select the Save button on the Quick Access toolbar; or
  • Press [CTRL+S] on the keyboard; or
  • Go to File, from the file menu, select Save. The Save this file mini dialog box will appear.
mini save dialog box in Microsoft Word
  1. On this dialog box (shown above), enter a name for your document in the File Name box.
  2. Choose the location (folder) where you want to save your file under Choose a Location. NB: available locations are folders you recently saved a file, including OneDrive.
  3. When you are done, click the Save button to save your document.

Choosing a different location for your file

Sometimes, the location you may want to save your document will not be available on the mini dialog. Or, you may want to create a new folder for your document. If this is the case, continue with the following steps.

  1. On the Save this file mini dialog box, select More options… The Save As (backstage view) will appear. You can also select More Locations → in the Choose a Location menu.
save as backstage view in Microsoft Word
  1. On the Save As backstage view, you will notice two panes. The left pane displays links to the different locations you can save your document. The right pane displays available folders in your selected location.
  2. Select a location on the left pane, e.g., OneDrive – Personal. On the right pane, select the folder location you want to save your document, e.g. My Tutorial-Courses. The Save As dialog box will appear.
the save as dialog box in Microsoft Word
  1. On the Save As dialog box, enter a name for your document in the File Name box.
  2. Click the Save button.

Creating a new folder for your file

To enhance file organization, you may want to create a folder for your new document. The folder may contain all the files of that department, sector, or job. If you feel like creating a new folder location for your new document in Microsoft Word. Then, continue with the following steps.

  1. On the Save As dialog box (shown above), select the New folder button. The new folder will immediately appear on the list of files.
  2. Change the “New folder” name to the appropriate name you want, and press Enter on the keyboard.
  3. Select the Open button to open the folder location.
  4. Enter a name for your document in the File Name box, and click the Save button.

What is Microsoft word compatibility mode?

Microsoft Word compatibility mode is a file format that is compatible with other applications. It extends functionality to other applications for viewing or /and editing purposes.

For example, Microsoft Word 97-2003 uses the .doc file extension while 2007 and above use .docx. This implies that documents saved in word 2007 and above formats cannot be opened in word 97-2003. Similarly, documents created in Microsoft word applications cannot be opened in other word processors.

To ensure that your document is compatible with other apps, you will need to save it in a compatibility mode. This is simply a means of extending functionality to other word processing applications. It will then allow you to view or edit your document with other applications. This is important, especially, when viewing your file in a system that does not have Microsoft word.

Some of the compatibility formats available in Microsoft word include

  • PDF/XPS: This will allow you and others to view a word document using Adobe Acrobat Reader or XPS viewer. You can only edit the document in Adobe reader if you have access to pdf editor.
  • Word 97-2003: This will enable you and others to view and edit documents created in Word 2007 – 2019 in word 97 – 2003. This is the word compatibility mode that enables people who are using older versions to access your document.
  • Rich text format: This is a format that allows your word document to be accessible in different word processors. Though it has limited functionality. Documents with the .rtf extension can be opened and edited in the WordPad application.
  • Open document text: This is a format that is compatible with OpenOffice word processing applications. To create a document that is compatible with people using OpenOffice or LibreOffice, use this extension.

Save in compatibility mode

To save your document using the compatibility mode, continue with the following:

  1. On the Save As dialog box shown below.
save as type for what is compatibility mode in Microsoft Word
  1. Click the Save as type: dropdown menu.
  2. From the list, select the file type you want. E.g. Word 97-2003 Document for word compatibility; PDF to convert to PDF; OpenDocument text for .odt extension.
  3. Select the Save button.

Now that you have learned how to save your document, always remember to save every change made.

Create a document in Microsoft Word using a template

Microsoft word makes it easy and faster to create any type of document through its list of templates. Templates are prototype documents that one can mimic when creating his/her document. It removes the hassle required when creating a document from the scratch. It also makes it easy for those not familiar with MS Word to create professional-looking documents.

Microsoft Word installs different document templates that you can use on your computer. If you did not see what you want, you can browse online for more templates.

Create a letter document using a template

To use a template to create a letter, do the following:

  1. Open Microsoft Word app in backstage view.
  2. If MS Word is already open, go to File and select New from the menu.
create a document with a template
  1. On the window that appeared, scroll down to choose a letter template of your choice.
  2. If you did not see a letter template, select the Letters link under the Search Box. You can also search for letters in the search box. NB: you need an internet connection.
letters templates result page
  1. Scroll down through the search result to see the types of letters available.
  2. Select the appropriate type of letter from the list. E.g., cover letter, thank you letter, letter of resignation, etc.
create a document in Microsoft Word
  1. On the ‘create letter’ window that appears, click on the Create button. The template will be downloaded and opened in a new window.
edit a template using placeholders
Edit Placeholders in a Template
  1. On the template’s window, select each placeholder, delete the default text and replace them with yours.
  2. Save the document.

Create a certificate document using a template

To create a document using a certificate template, do the following:

  1. Repeat steps 1 – 4 above.
  2. In step (4), enter ‘certificates’ in the Search Box and press Enter on the keyboard.
  3. Continue with steps 5 – 9 above.

Create a document using a blank document

You can create a document from the scratch without the assistance of a template. This requires the knowledge of Microsoft Word. A blank document presents you with an empty page. You will need to add texts, images, shapes, and placeholders in other to create a professional document.

Let us get started creating documents with a blank document.

  1. Open Microsoft Word. Word opens in the backstage view.
  2. On the backstage view, select Blank document. A blank word document opens.
  3. If Microsoft word is already open, follow any of these steps:
    • Go to File and select New. On the New view, select Blank document.
    • On the Quick Access toolbar, select the New file icon.
    • Press CTRL+N on the keyboard.
The Quick Access Toolbar - New icon
  1. Save your blank document.

Creating different kinds of documents in Microsoft Word

Let us use the blank document template to create the following types of documents: resume, and invoice. We will illustrate how, but you will complete the document yourself. We shall use the default document size in all our illustrations.

Create a resume document in word using a blank document

A resume has different formats. You can use any of the formats provided by the templates in Microsoft Word. However, we shall create a simple resume with a simple design.

A resume is a single page that briefly shows the following information:

  1. name, contacts, and objectives
  2. biodata, and
  3. professional qualifications including education, skills, and work experience

Let us begin in the following steps.

  1. Open a new Microsoft word document.
  2. On the Layout tab, select Columns and choose Left.
creating columns in Microsoft Word
  1. On the left side of the page, insert a picture by doing the following:
    • Go to Insert tab, under Illustrations, select Pictures.
    • From the dropdown list, select This Device. The insert pictures dialog window will appear.
insert image in MS word
  1. Choose a picture and click the Insert button. The picture is inserted into the document. Click outside the image and press the Enter key on the keyboard.
  2. Under the picture in your document, insert a table with one column and four rows as follow.
    • Go to the Insert tab and select Table.
    • From the dropdown menu, point on column 1 and move to the 4th row, and select.
inserting tables
  • A table with one column and four rows will appear on your document.
  • Select the box on the bottom-right of the table and drag it towards the bottom of the page.
enlarge table in Microsoft Word
  1. Alternatively, you can start entering information in the respective rows of the table. As information fills each row, the table will expand on its own.
    • Fill in the information on each row under the following headings: Objectives, Skills, Contacts, and Hobbies.
    • When you are done, click outside the table (specifically, below the table). Press Enter key on the keyboard to move to the right column.
  2. On the right side of the page, insert another table with three rows. Follow the same process discussed above.
  3. Enter information under the following headings on each row: Biodata, education, and work experience.
  4. The complete document should look like the image below. The color formatting should not be a problem for you.
create a resume document - final

Create an invoice document in Microsoft word using a blank document

An invoice is used to capture product sales. It can have different formats. You may decide to use any of the formats provided by the templates in Microsoft Word. Here, we shall create a simple invoice. Over time you can create invoices with sophisticated design.

An invoice should contain the following information:

  1. Name of company and contact information
  2. Name of a customer with contact information or space to include such
  3. Date, invoice no., and products description including quantity, rate, and total amount.

Let us begin in the following steps.

  1. Open a new Microsoft word document.
  2. On the Insert tab, under Illustrations, select Pictures. Choose a picture that represents the logo of the organization.
  3. Under the picture, insert a 1×1 (one column and one row) table. In this table, enter the company’s name and contact information.
  4. Go to the Insert tab, under Illustrations, select Shapes. From the list of shapes, under Basic Shapes, select the Text Box.
Insert a text box in MS Word
  1. On the right side of the page, along with the logo image, click and drag to create a text box.
  2. In the text box, insert a 1×2 table (1 column and 2 rows). See the final image below.
  3. In the first row, enter the following information: INVOICE, Date, and invoice no.
  4. In the second row, enter the information of the customer. If the information is not handy, enter lines to create a space so that the information can be entered manually.
  5. Click below the text box and press the Enter key.
  6. Insert a 4×11 table and adjust the width of the columns.
  7. Enter the following information appropriately Qty, Description, Rate, Amount, Subtotal, VAT, and Total. See the final document below.
  8. Highlight the three rows of subtotal, VAT, and Total.
  9. Go to the Design tab, under Borders, select Borders. From the list that appears, click on Borders and Shading…
Edit table borders and shading
  1. The Borders and Shading dialog box will appear.
Editing borderlines in Microsoft Word
  1. In the borders and shading dialog, under Preview, remove all borders except the top and right borders. Remove borderlines by clicking on the borderlines on the preview window.
  2. Click OK to apply changes.

The final document after all changes is made should look like the image below. If you didn’t get it exactly, don’t worry, but keep practicing.

create an invoice document - final

Edit a document in Microsoft word

To edit a document means to either add items or remove existing ones from a document. It is simply called updating a document.

Before you edit a document, the document must have been existing. Hence, you will locate the document, open it before you can edit it. Let us go through the process.

Open an existing document

To open an existing Microsoft Word document or file, follow the following steps.

  1. Locate the folder where the file is stored, and double click the file to open it; OR
  2. Click the Start button, and type in the name of the file in the Search box. Select the file from the results that appears; OR
  3. Open Microsoft word application.
  4. On the File menu, check through the list of Recent files.
open a document - recent files
  1. Select the file you want to open. The document opens.
  2. If the document is not on the Recent list, do the following:
    • Select Open from the backstage view.
open backstage view in Microsoft Word
  1. On the left pane, choose a location where the file is stored, say, This PC, OneDrive.
    • On the right pane, select the Folder or the File you want to open. If you selected a folder, it will expose the files on the folder. Then select the file you want to open within the folder.
  2. Instead of the File menu, you can also do any of this to display the Open Backstage View.
    • On the Microsoft word window, select the Open icon on the Quick Access toolbar.
    • Press CTRL+O on the keyboard.
    • Follow step 6(a-c)

Edit a document

To edit a document in Microsoft word, you will learn how to insert texts and images, and format them. Here, we just introduced the method. You will need to follow through this tutorial to master how to work with Microsoft word. Meanwhile, do the following:

  1. Place your cursor where you want to enter additional text and start typing. Highlight the texts and format them appropriately.
  2. Highlight the texts you want to remove from the document and press Delete on the keyboard.
  3. Place the cursor where you want to insert a shape or image and press Enter on the keyboard. Select the appropriate shape you want to add. Insert and format the shape(s) appropriately.
  4. Use the Spelling & Grammar check tool to proofread the document.
  5. When you are done editing, save the document to update the changes made.


To create a document in Microsoft word, you will need a word application installed on your PC. Alternatively, you can use the online version of MS Word.

In this tutorial, we learned how to create simple documents using Microsoft word. We created the following documents a letter, an invoice, and a resume. These documents were created using templates and blank documents.

To effectively work with Microsoft word, you need to learn how to use it. This is why we are bringing this tutorial to you. Continue with us next week as we bring to you how to set up your document.

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