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Types of Microsoft Word Documents

You can create many kinds of documents in Word, from or using any of the following new document options:

  • Blank Document
  • Blank Web Page
  • Blank E-mail Message
  • General Templates
  • Existing Document
The choice or decision about which of these options you should use in creating your document would depend on, but not limited to, the following:
  • Your purpose for creating the document;
  • Destination of output or what you intend doing with the output.
So you want to create a new document in Word? What for? Who is going to use it? Where, and in which form? What would be its fate, scope of audience and life span?

Considering and providing cogent answers to the  questions above will enable you make a right choice while considering which kind of Word document to create or which option must be appropriate to use.

For a document you want to create, its purpose or what you intend doing with it can be any of the following:
  • I simply want to create the document, and print it out to have a hard copy of it for private or formal use. ( Would you like to attach the document to an e-mail message or you want to send it as the body of an E-mail message?)
  • I want to create and send the content of the document electronically, from my computer to other computers, via e-mail addresses.
  • I want to publish the document to the internet (or an intranet) so that many people can have access to it from anywhere, anytime.
  • I'm not really familiar with this kind of document I want to, or I'm asked to create and don't really know how to go about creating it.
  • I want to create a document format that will be available to assist me (or others users) later in creating a new document, based on this format.
  • I want to create a new document from a document previously created and saved in my computer or network.
Well, whichever is true in your case, the following sections will assist you in deciding which among the document options listed above will be most appropriate, or guide you in creating your new document.

Blank Document
As the name aptly implies, a Blank Document opens a blank document page where you can create your document from scratch. You do all the typing, editing and formatting without the software offering you any suggestions, directions or guidelines regarding what to type, where to type it, or the best structure for the document.

Start with a new document when you want to create a traditional printed document, e.g. Time Table, handout, letter, curriculum vitae (CV), etc.

You should also start with a Blank Document if you wish to send the document content to a mail recipient as attachment.

TIP: Blank Document is most appropriate for the first statement above.

Blank Web Page

This offers a blank page in Web Layout View where you can create a web document from scratch. Use a Blank Web Page if you intend to display the content of the document on an intranet, or on the internet in a web browser. Web documents are automatically saved in HyperText Markup Language (HTML) format.

TIP: Blank Web Page is most appropriate for the third statement above.

Blank E-mail Message
An E-mail Message is a document you create and send directly from Word to other people in different locations. Use an E-mail Message if you want to compose and send a message or a document to others directly from Word.

An E-mail message includes an e-mail Envelope toolbar in which you can enter the recipient's Name (or e-mail address if you have not previously stored the address with the names in an Address or Contact list in your computer or network) and the Subject of the message; set message properties and Send it.

TIP:  Blank E-mail Message is most appropriate for the second statement above.

General Templates
To explain this kind of option for creating a Word document, let's quickly consider a scenario below:

Imagine a scenario wherein you recently secured a job as the Secretary to the Director of a large private firm that is constantly in correspondence with both domestic and foreign enterprises. Sadly, for three days now, your boss has been inordinately displeased with your performance and is no longer confident with your suitability for the office, because he now suspects you don't appear to be proficient in word processing (who knows, probably his new girl friend who is a computer whiz-kid is already pestering him to take over your office). Then, this fateful afternoon, your paranoid boss just storms into your cubicle, seriously exasperated over your last work, and threatens to dismiss you if again you ever make such simple mistakes in the content, layout, structure, and tone of the letters or any other official document he asks you to create for him (the company, to be precise).

So, as the last chance to prove your skills, he hurriedly dictates a note and asks you to use it to create a professional fax (which you have never created before) to be forwarded to a customer in London; and then another note which you must use in a contemporary memo ( you don't even know how this one looks like), notifying all the company's employees of an urgent meeting which is to hold the following day. He gives you only thirty (30) minutes to submit the printed documents to his table.

In this situation, what would you do. Would you tell him you don't know how these documents look like or how to create them? If you do that, boy, I bet you, your boss will gladly relieve you of your well-paid job and replace you with, maybe, his girlfriend

But what would you do to impress you boss and to make him retain you. The simple answer is ,"you have nothing to worry about". Why? because, the General templates in Word are all there to guide you".

Use a template when you want to create a new document based on a ready-made format. The General Templates dialog  box offers different kind of documents and wizards to assist you in creating a new document based on ready-made formats and structure.

TIP: General Templates provides solution to the    fourth and fifth statements above.

Existing Document
This allows you to create a new document from a copy of a document that has been previously created and saved in your PC or network.

Using the Existing Document option makes it possible for you to create a new document from a copy of an existing document which you can modify and then save with a new name or in a new location. In this case, whatever changes you make to the document will be affecting the copy of the document only, while the original copy remains intact. 

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