How to Find a Template in Word

by Carol Finch

Microsoft provides direct links to its template library from Word, allowing you to download its documents and third-party online templates. The library contains templates for Word 2013 and for previous versions of the program. If you choose a template created in an earlier version of Word than the one you're using, it may not be completely compatible. You can still use older templates, but they may restrict you from using up-to-date editing features, unless you convert them to the current version of Word.

Find and Download Word Templates

Word shows the template page when you open the program. If you're in a document, open the File tab and select New to go to the page.

Word loads a template gallery, showing you examples of the kinds of documents you can use. To find others, type a search term in the Search box. Or, select a term in Suggested Searches.

Word's templates include business and personal documents.

To open a full list of categories, select any term from the Suggested Searches area. The page that opens contains a list of categories, including document type, business area, design style and color. Find a category you want, and select it to open its templates.

How to find Word templates by category.

Scroll though the list to find a template you like and select it to open a preview window. The preview gives information about the template, including its file size. If you're looking at a multi-page document, such as a report, you can see how individual pages look by selecting the More Images arrows. To return to the template list, select the X; to open the template in Word, select Create.

Select Create to open, edit and save the template in Word.


    • To find a template you created manually, select Personal. If a template you created in an earlier version of Word is not there, use Microsoft's template FixIt tool to migrate it to the folder. 
    • You can also access Microsoft templates online, but will need a Microsoft account to open them in Word Online. Once you open a template, save it to OneDrive or download it to your computer. 
    • To view templates in other MS Office programs while you're in Word, go to the bottom of a template search screen and select the program.

Manage Template Compatibility

Not all Microsoft templates were created in Word 2013; some used previous versions of the program. If you open a template from a previous version, it may open in compatibility mode. This mode restricts features to those available in the version of Word used to create the template and may disable access to some current editing tools and features. To use features that aren't available in the template, convert the document to bring it up to date.

Look at the top of the template you've opened in Word. If you see Compatibility Mode in its title, you're using an older template.

Word documents in compatibility mode may have fewer editing tools.

Select File and Info. Select Convert in the Compatibility Mode area.

How to convert from compatibility mode in Word.

To learn more about compatibility mode and how it might affect features, select the Tell Me More button. Select OK to convert the template.

Converting a document upgrades it to the latest version of Word.


  • If you convert a template to Word 2013, its original layout may change and you may lose some formatting.


About the Author

Carol Finch has been writing technology, careers, business and finance articles since 2000, tapping into her experience in sales, marketing and technology consulting. She has a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages, a Chartered Institute of Marketing.certificate and unofficial tech and gaming geek status with her long-suffering friends and family.