Is there an advantage to using Word Templates over copying a File?

Word Templates sound really convenient, but won’t you get the same utility if you have a folder with Word files that you want to use as templates, which you can just copy and create a new file to work with?

This would also give you the slight advantage of being able to paste the new file in an open folder rather than going through Word’s navigation menu when you want to save a new file from a template you just opened.

So is it better to use a Template, or is it better to have a regular file that you could create copies of, and then work from the copies?

Word never really has quite grasped the point of styles, templates and style sheets… and where the tool does, the users don’t.

If the question is whether to start with a blank doc and a template or start with a copy of a document as a model… I’d say “whatever.”

Just don’t make “chain” faux-templates, where you edit document A, save it as B, open and edit B, save as C, etc. That’ll cause problems eventually.

This is a really cool feature in OS X that almost nobody knows about or uses…
You can pick any document, and turn it into a “stationery pad.” When you do this, the document is automatically locked for writing, so you are forced to save your changes into a new document. So, you get all the advantages of your own template, without have to remember to do a “save as” when you edit it.

Not including undo information is a start. Then there is change control, standardisation, etc.

Can you elaborate on change control and standardization?

Sure. If documents have to be sent in a specific format then maybe only certain people can make changes. For example, a company might change its logo or get taken over. Or standard telephone numbers may need to be included. Proposal documents may need to follow a particular structure, and that structure may need periodic review which needs to be formally discussed, and if you create a new document from an old then you may miss an important new section or include an outdated old one.

Here are a few things that only a Template can do:
[li]Macros live in the Template. When you change a macro, you change the only copy (i.e. the one in the Template) and the change takes affect for all the documents that use the Template.[/li][li]Although styles (are a confusing mess, they) live both in the document AND the Template, you can update a style that lives in the Template, and then refresh each document to pick up the Template style, or optionally have Word do that automatically.[/li][li]A new instance of your Template document can be started with File/New (or whatever the 2010 ribbon command is). The Template can be stored in a shared folder for LAN users. Not much different from a Master Document I admit.[/li][/ul]

I’m not sure this is unique to OS/X. I can right-click on a document in Win 7 and select New, and it will open a new, unnamed copy of the document for editing, saving, whatever.

I’m sure you can, but that’s not the same thing.
In OS X, if you set the “stationery flag” you can open (double-click) the document icon itself, and it will open the application, and then load a copy of the document - preventing any changes in the original. And, this doesn’t require any thought on the user’s part (reducing the likelihood of mistakenly writing over the original).

I have a template that automatically puts today’s date on the document.

I also use another because it only includes the information I need, without having to delete anything (and accidentally deleting material I want to keep).

I fail to see the difference except in the path to get there. You can achieve the same thing by write-protecting documents; you can open them but Word will assume you want to save as a new document unless you force a write over the protected doc.

I suppose being able to set a flag to only open docs in such a mode is useful, but it’s a minor shuffle of existing capabilities in both OSes.

Huh? Explain, please! I’ve been doing this for years! I thought it was a perfectly valid way of preserving style (margins, font, paragraph spacing, headers and footers, and so on.) What trouble am I getting into here?

One more advantage: if you hit “save” a template won’t overwrite the original document.