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Experts On Your Side Use templates to pour your work into molds sculpted by professionals.

By Sandra E. Eddy

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For anyone running a small business and trying to do it all,using the predesigned templates that are bundled with popularcomputer programs--particularly office suites, such as MicrosoftOffice, Lotus SmartSuite, and Corel WordPerfect Suite--can saveboth time and effort. You can use templates, which are designed bygraphics and business experts, to help create documents of alltypes: letters, memos, newsletters, spreadsheets, databases,presentations, and even World Wide Web pages.

You can use templates without worrying about page layout,design, or color combinations. And you don't have to thinkabout setting margins, selecting fonts, or choosing point sizes forheadings and body text.

Templates are not just for layout and design--sometimes, theyprovide part of the content. For example, many letter and faxtemplates automatically enter names and addresses that you havepreviously typed as part of program installation or when filling ina wizard. A wizard is a type of template that guides you, one stepat a time, through the early steps of document creation. Forexample, a letter or fax wizard prompts you, through a series ofdialog boxes, to choose a style or type, or to verify names,addresses and telephone numbers. A newsletter wizard enables you tochoose the style and number of columns, the newsletter name, andthe number of pages. After completing the wizard's dialogboxes, your document is onscreen but still incomplete; you willhave to type in the body of the letter, or articles in anewsletter. You may also have to insert graphics into some types ofdocuments, such as newsletters. In presentation templates, whichare sets of slides or computer-screen displays, the backgrounddesign and color are usually in place; all you have to do is typebulleted items and page titles.

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