Common issues in MS Word

There are a few issues that come up fairly regularly when we are helping our clients to produce Word templates.

The ones we have initially identified are:

  1. Installing templates
  2. Security settings and macros
  3. Logos and Graphics
  4. Fonts – usage and management
  5. Briefing a project

1. Installing templates

The templates we supply you with will have a file suffix ‘.dot’. They need to be saved into a location recognised by Microsoft Office.

The default area to install the templates on a single machine is:

C:/Program files/Microsoft Office/Templates.

In larger corporate situations we would still recommend installing the template locally. However this can be achieved by building it into the login script.

If you would like to discuss your particular circumstances or are having any difficulty with setting up the templates please call us and we can talk you through any issues.

2. Security settings for macros

Microsoft Word has the ability to restrict the use of macros in documents. The setting is found under in File/Options/Trust Center/Trust Centre Settings… and will open up the following dialog box.installation instructions microsoft word 2013 macro security settings dialog box

The default setting is Disable all macros with notification and many clients like to keep this. In that situation, for the macros to run in the templates they need to be saved in a Trusted Location.

C:\ProgramFiles\MicrosoftOffice\Templates\ is set as a Trusted Location by default .

3. Logos and Graphics

One of the major advantages of creating a Microsoft Word template is that you can lay out letters and documents so that they match your letterhead or corporate style. As a result when the document is emailed it appears as if it had been prepared on pre-printed papers.

One implication is that you have to insert a graphic image of the logo and other pre-printed elements. The choice of file format for the graphic image can have a significant impact on both the quality of a printed run out and the file sizes. The main issue is the way Microsoft Office applications handle white areas, treating them as halftones. They often print with a very faint dot as if it is an extremely pale tint. The black can be the reverse with faint white dots rather than a solid colour. If a logo is supplied it is therefore important to set the transparency rather than relying on white areas not printing.

Recommended file formats

The two most effective file types are Jpegs and PNG files (portable network graphic) developed by Microsoft. The key difference is the ability to set transparency reliably.

Most of the PNG files we receive are generated in Adobe Illustrator on Macs. Illustrator CS, or later, has a specific facility to save for Microsoft Office.

The Adobe help file in the CS version for Macs has these instructions:

  • Saving artwork for Microsoft Office The Save for Microsoft Office command lets you create a PNG file that you can use in Microsoft Office applications

Tip If you want to customize PNG settings, such as for resolution, transparency, and background colour, use the Export command* instead of the Save for Microsoft Office command. You can also save artwork in PNG format using the Save for Web command:

To save artwork to a Microsoft Office compatible format: 1. Choose File > Save for Microsoft Office. 2. In the Save for Office dialog box, select a location for the file, enter a filename, and click Save.

* Note: One of the common issues is the lack of a transparent background so it is important to use the Export command.

Other common file types

EPS files tend to be unreliable in a PC Windows environment.

Tif and Gif files are good for images and photographs but are printed out as halftones so do not work well for logos and line work. Bmp files are bitmap files so cannot be enlarged without pixelation.

TrueType were an interesting format for creating logos that are handled very efficiently by Microsoft Office applications which up until a year ago we encouraged our clients to use. In certain circumstances these remain an appropriate choice.

4. Fonts – usage and management

Microsoft Windows have a limited series of fonts that are widely available. The only two that are guaranteed to be on any system are Times and Arial. Others such as Georgia or Verdana can be used with little or no risk.

When a non-standard font is used – for example Helvetica (widely used by designers) – on Windows and Macs it will be replaced. You cannot control the substitute font. More often than not a serif font will default to Times and a sans serif to Arial but it is not unusual for the system to throw up very odd combinations.

Buying a font If a client buys a special, distinctive corporate font they need to buy a licence for all their users. In that way any Word document will print and display correctly within the organisation. However when the document is sent to a computer that does not have the fonts installed it will not be seen in the same way. Unhelpfully in the description of the font on the toolbar will show the name of the font in the document even if the computer does not have it installed. The result is to undermine the carefully crafted presentation of the organisation’s documents.

The pragmatic options The most pragmatic option is to stick with Times and Arial. The address block can be inserted as an image file, circumventing any issues about embedding fonts. However image files are not editable.

The second option is to create a pdf from the Office document. The positive points is that the document looks very crisp and clean and the recipient is unable to modify the document. This can be limiting if circulated internally or if the recipient needs to edit the document.

5. Briefing a project

We need to agree the following information with you to make a project run smoothly:

  • Main client contact
  • Main IT contact
  • Version of Office you are using
  • Version of Windows or Mac operating system you are using
  • Layouts of each document or page layout, marked up with dimensions for margins; position of logo / address block; position of other details (eg partner list, company number)
  • Choice of fonts (if not standard Windows fonts you will need to supply the relevant TrueType fonts)
  • Type hierarchy (Type size and styles for Normal text, Headings 1,2 and 3)
  • Colour specification in RGB
  • Preferences for Your ref, Our ref etc
  • Continuation page headers and footers layout and content
Get in touch

Brochet Ltd
17a The Old Dairy
Westover Farm
Goodworth Clatford
Hampshire SP11 7LF


Phone: 01264 560940
Skype: cadleyview