If you frequently write letters to the same few people, having documents that are partially formatted with dropdown menus can save you the hassle of copying and pasting from old documents all the time. Helen Bradley of PCWorld explains how.
• Find Word’s Content Controls. The control panel is accessible only from the Developer Tab, which is disabled by default. To enable it in Word 2010, choose File > Options > Customize Ribbon. In the right panel, locate and click the Developer checkbox and click OK.
• Select a date using the Date Picker Control. This tool creates a space where a date can be entered through just a few mouse clicks. It displays a small calendar where users choose a date into a placeholder. Click the Calendar Icon in the Customize Ribbon, then turn design mode off. The placeholder should pop up in the document, and from there you can format the display.
• Insert pre-formatted text. The text placeholder allows you to insert prewritten messages into documents with ease. The text can be preformatted if you prefer a certain style.
• Create a list of options. The line item placeholder saves a list of common words, such as “Dear (Sir, Madam),” for easy accessibility. Simply click Properties, Add, and type an entry for the list. You can format the list so that it cannot be deleted, and the text can be assigned specific styles and titles.
• Create checklists. Click the Check Box Content Control and then click Properties. This can be formatted a number ways, such as a standard check or X inside a box, or some other symbol.
When saving your document with Controls, don’t forget to choose File > Save As > Save as Type, and choose Word Template (*.dotx). There many ways to use the content controls to save time on data-entry tasks, such as memos, fax covers, letters, and so on.
— Adapted from “How to Create Smart Microsoft Word Templates,” Helen Bradley, PCWorld.