How to Create a Dummy Certificate

by Linda Johnson

Make certificates to honor achievements, memberships, donations and more. A "Cleanest Room" certificate for your child or a "Best Garden Design" certificate for your Garden Club helps to make things official. Create and print out dummy certificates with different headings, such as "Shining Star" or "Godsby Gardening." Graphic design, desktop publishing and word processing programs provide templates for creating certificates, complete with borders and fancy fonts already selected. However, you can create your own certificate without a template in word processing programs such as Microsoft Word, Open Office and others.

Go to "File," click "New," then click "Blank Document" in Microsoft Word. (In Open Office, choose "Text Document.")

Go to "File," click "Page Setup" and set margins at 0.5" all around. In Word, you will receive a warning that your margins are set outside the printable area. Click "Fix," and you will see a slight adjustment in your right margin. Choose "Landscape" orientation. (In Open Office, go to "Format," click "Page," choose the "Page" tab, set the margins and check "Landscape" orientation. Click "OK" when asked if you want to keep those settings.)

Instead of creating a border, buy paper with a printed border.

Go to "Format" and click "Borders and Shading" in Word. In the dialog box under the "Page Border" tab, leave the default setting for "None." Scroll down the "Style" menu to choose a border, or go to "Art" for unique borders in black and white or color. Adjust the width until you like what you see in the "Preview" diagram in the dialog box. For a Garden Club certificate, choose an "Art" border with flowers or strawberries. (In Open Office, go to "Format," choose "Borders" and select the width and line style for your border.)

Type in a heading or event name, such as "Kid of the Week" or "Godsby Garden Club Blooms." For a generic heading, use "Certificate" or "Certificate of Achievement."

Generic border certificate.

Type in any other text you want on the certificate, such as "In Recognition of..." or "We Hereby Award...." Next type in the actual award, such as "Cleanest Room" or "Best Garden Design," or leave it blank to add later. Use the underscore to make straight black lines to write in the recipient's name, other information and a date, if appropriate.

Make a straight black line on the certificate for an official signature. Underneath, type in a title, such as "Judge," "President" or "Proud Mom," or leave it blank. The order of your text will be heading, "In Recognition of," specific award/class completed, recipient's name, date and signature.

Give your certificate a colored background by printing it on colored paper. To add the background in Word instead, go to the "Paint Bucket" on the toolbar and click the small arrow next to it. The drop-down menu will show choices for a fill color. (In Open Office, go to "Format," click "Page" and then choose a color from the chart on the "Background" tab.)

Go to "File" and click "Print Preview" in Word. (In Open Office, click "Page Preview.") If you are satisfied with the preview, go to "File" and click "Print." If you want to make adjustments, click on "Close Preview" so you can continue to edit.

Go to "File" and "Save As" to name and save your certificate for future use.


  • check You can save your file as "Garden Club Certificate" if you will be needing it again later. Next, delete all specifics, such as "Garden Club," and save again as "Dummy Certificate."
  • check For certificates you will be awarding regularly, such as "Shining Star," print several copies to complete by hand later, and save the file as "Shining Star."


  • close If you intend to frame certificates, you will need to adjust your margins so that the border is visible when in the frame. Experiment with various margin widths for specific frames.

Items you will need

About the Author

Linda Johnson is a veteran writer and Photoshop and Illustrator aficionado. She is a TV-radio producer, ad agency owner and a winner of Addy Awards and the First Place Award for Best National Public Service Film. In addition to Johnson's online work, her writing has appeared in "Poetry Guide," the "Indianapolis Star" and Indianapolis Dine magazine.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Blank award certificate form image by Stasys Eidiejus from