Section 16.2. Creating a New Workbook from a Template

16.2. Creating a New Workbook from a Template

So far, every example worksheet in this book has started from scratch, with nothing more than Excel's empty grid of cells . This approach is a great way to learn the nuts-and-bolts of how Excel works, but it's not always necessary. In fact, Excel provides several timesaving options for creating a new workbook.

To try out these options, begin by selecting Office button New. Excel displays the New Workbook dialog box (Figure 16-1).

Figure 16-1. The New Workbook dialog box lets you create a new, empty workbook (choose Blank Workbook and click Create), or you can build a workbook based on a template (choose one of the options on the left).

Using the New Workbook dialog box, you can create ordinary, blank workbooks (like you've been doing all along), or you can mix it up a bit by choosing one of the following options from the list on the window's left side:

  • Installed Templates shows a small set of templates that come with Excel. This category has very few templates to choose from, but you'll find classics like Expense Report and Personal Monthly Budget. When you choose one of these templates, Excel uses it to create a new workbook.

  • "My templates" lets you choose from one of the custom templates that you've created and saved on your computer. You'll learn how to build custom templates later in this chapter.

  • "New from existing workbook" displays a dialog box that lets you choose a spreadsheet file. When you click OK, Excel opens a duplicate version of the selected file, giving it a new name. When you save the spreadsheet, Excel prompts you to supply a new name or to use the one it generated (a variation based on the name of the original workbook). Either way, you end up saving a new copy of the original file.

    Note: The "New from existing workbook" option is conceptually similar to using a template, in that it creates a new workbook based on an existing workbook file. However, it's a better idea to create a workbook using a template for several reasons. First of all, because templates are stored in a central place, you don't need to hunt for the file you want to use. Additionally, if the template is properly fine- tuned , you don't have to bother removing old data.
  • The categories under Microsoft Office Online let you browse the vast treasure trove of freely downloadable templates that Microsoft provides on its Web site. You'll find hundreds of handy templates here, organized into logical categories like Agendas, Invoices, and Reports. As you'll see shortly, you can also use the search box to hunt for online templates by keyword (Section 16.2.2).

These options are all you need to start using templates. Still feeling template intimidated? The next section walks you through all the steps you need to use a template.

16.2.1. Downloading Templates (Method 1: The New Workbook Dialog Box)

The New Workbook dialog box lets you choose from Microsoft's expansive online catalog of templates without leaving the comfort of Excel. Not only does this ability give you a way to get the latest template innovations, it also lets you dig up specialty templates like a secret Santa gift exchange list, a baseball scorecard, and a baby shower planner. Best of all, the whole process is so seamless you don't even notice you're downloading a template from the Web.

Note: Obviously, if you're using a computer that doesn't have an Internet connection, you're limited to the templates installed on your computer. However, you're not completely cut off from the rest of the word. You can surf to the Office Online Web site when you're connected, and then use your Web browser to search and download Excel template files that seem interesting. You'll learn how in the next section.

Here's how it all goes down:

  1. Choose Office button New .

    The New Workbook dialog box appears.

  2. Choose one of the categories on the left, under the Microsoft Office Online category. If none of the categories seems quite right, then choose "More categories" to see some more exotic options .

    A list of templates appears just to the right of the category list (Figure 16-2).

    Figure 16-2. Browsing by category is the fastest way to find a template that interests you. For example, under the Budget category you'll find templates for personal budgets (family budgets , wedding costs, and even a gardening budget) and templates for business budgets (marketing plan, business trips, operating expenses, and so on).

  3. If you find a template that seems right, click it once to preview it .

    The preview information appears at the far right of the New Workbook dialog box. The information includes the template's star rating (as ranked by other Office fans), its file size , and a preview of what it looks like (Figure 16-3).

    Note: The template rating plays the same role as customer reviews on Amazon.comother folks who have downloaded the template can give it a score of up to five stars (but they can't write a description).Note that you can't rate a template from inside Excel. Instead, you need to surf to the Office Online site to submit a star rating. See Section 16.2.2 for details.
  4. If you like the template, click Download to create a new workbook based on it .

    A progress indicator appears while the template is downloaded to your computer. Because templates are quite small, it rarely takes more than a minute to download one. If you have a high-speed cable or DSL connection, you'll probably have the template in two or three seconds.

Figure 16-3. Rather than struggle through Excel's financial formulas on your own, why not pick the "Loan amortization schedule" template to build a new worksheet? It has a topnotch 4.5/5 ranking based on feedback from 6652 Excel fanatics . You can find this template in the Schedules category.

Note: When you download a template, Microsoft uses some fancy tricks to inspect your current installation of Windows and Excel to make sure you're not running pirated software. So, if you bought your copy of Excel for $7.99 from a street vendor in Chinatown, you probably can't download new templates.

After Excel downloads the template, it creates a new workbook based on that template (Figure 16-4). You can fill your data in this workbook, and, when you save it, Excel prompts you to choose a new file name. Excel suggests a name based on the name of the template. For example, if you select the loan amortization template, Excel suggests a name like "Loan Amortization Schedule1.xlsx" (you can, of course, change this name to anything you want).

16.2.2. Downloading Templates (Method 2: The Office Online Web Site)

Instead of getting all your templates served to you right in Excel, you can download them the old-fashioned way, from the Office Online Web site where they live. You may make the trip to Office Online for a few reasons:

  • You want to download a template to use on another computer. Perhaps your home computer lacks Internet access, and you're using a friend's computer to get the template goodness you crave.

    Figure 16-4. When you choose the loan amortization template, Excel automatically creates a complete worksheet with all the calculations you need, showing each payment you'll need to make over the life of the loan. You need to enter only the loan amount, interest rate, duration, payment frequency, and start date (cells D5 to D9); Excel calculates the rest automatically using the financial functions you learned about in Chapter 10.

    Searching for a Template

    The process described in the last section lets you find a useful template by digging through various categories. Excel also gives you another choiceyou can search for a template by keyword . This approach is great if you want to quickly locate a template for a specific function or industry (you could search for "invoice" or "real estate"). Keywords aren't as useful if you just want to browse what's available. Of course, it's up to you to decide which way to go. In fact, many Excel gurus use both, depending on the task at hand.

    To search by keyword, type your search word(s) into the New Workbook dialog box's search box (Figure 16-5), and then press Enter. You can enter as many words as you want. Excel finds templates that contain any of the words you specify (it gives preference to templates that have all the search words). Try using a word that you think may appear in the template name (like "calendar") or a phrase in one of Microsoft's online categories (like "personal finance").

  • You want to give template feedback (so yours can be one of the thousands of votes that make up a typical template ranking). You can also submit feedback with requests for new templates you'd like to see added to the collection.

  • You want to search for all Office Online templates, without worrying about what program uses them. Maybe you've decided you want a way to print out a calendar for 2008, but you don't know whether Excel or Word has the better template.

  • You want to browse the other news and features on the Office Online Web site. If it's September, you may find quick links to some popular back-to-school lesson planning templates.

    Figure 16-5. The New Workbook dialog box lets you create a blank Excel workbook or one based on an existing workbook or template. You can use templates that are already on your computer, or you can go online for some of the freely downloadable gems on Microsoft's Web site. Here, a search for the word "sudoku" turns up an Excel template for solving Sudoku number puzzles.

  • You're just happier in a Web browser. After all, you've been staring at the Excel worksheet grid for 449 pages already.

Here's how to download a template from the Office Online Web site:

  1. Open a Web browser, and then surf to .

    It's best to use Internet Explorer because it supports the ActiveX standard, which Office Online uses for its download-a-template feature. If you use a different browser that doesn't support ActiveX (like Firefox), you'll get a warning message explaining the issue when you try to download a template. You'll then be forced to download a compressed template file, which you must unzip on your own before you can use it. (The Office Online Web site provides more information about what to do, but you can save the headache altogether by using Internet Explorer.)

  2. Scroll down the Web page to the Browse Templates section. Click a category link that interests you .

    The top portion of the page is reserved for new templates, some of which Microsoft created in response to requests (send in your request by clicking on the "Suggest a template" link on the left side of the Web page); other templates vary by season . For example, in the beginning of May, you'll find quick links to Mother's Day card and gift label templates. At the bottom of the Web page is a section that lets you browse for any template by category.

  3. Depending on the category you've chosen , you may see another list of subcategories . If you do, just click the appropriate subcategory link .

    You'll end up at a list that shows all the matching templates. The list shows the name, creator, and rating of each template.

    Note: The Templates Web page provides templates for all Office applications, including Word, Excel, Access, and InfoPath (a program that lets companies create souped-up data entry forms). Of course, you can't use a Word template in Excel, and vice versa. To tell which program a given template requires, look at the icon immediately to the left of the name. If you see the familiar Excel application icon (a green square with an "X" symbol), you can use this template to create new workbooks. Some templates (like greeting cards) are likely to be for Word, while others (like financial forms and worksheets) are usually for Excel.
  4. Choose a template file from the list by clicking its name .

    A page appears with detailed template information (Figure 16-6). This information includes the size of the template, the required software version (most templates work equally well on all Excel versions since Excel 2000), and a preview graphic that shows what the template looks like.

    Figure 16-6. Once you've chosen a template, you'll see a detailed page with information about the size of the file and the time it takes to download itif you connect to the Internet using a telephone line and a meager 56K modem. You'll also see an image that shows a surprisingly detailed preview of the template, complete with sample data.

  5. If you're still happy with the template, click the Download Now button .

    You'll first need to click the Accept button, indicating that you agree to Microsoft's license agreement. While the template's downloading, a progress indicator appears in a pop-up browser window.

If you haven't found the right template, then you can click your browser's back button to navigate back to the template list. Alternatively, you can click the arrows on either side of the word "Next" in the top-right corner of the preview. These arrows let you browse to the other templates in the current category.

What happens when the template downloads depends on whether you have the right program installed. If you're downloading an Excel template and you have Excel installed, then the Web browser launches Excel, and then creates a new workbook based on the template you chose, just as if you'd picked it from the New Workbook dialog box. If you don't have Excel installed, you'll be prompted to save the template file. You can then email it or copy it to an Excel-enabled computer to use it.

Note: If you have Excel on the current computer, but you want to save the template in a separate file so you can bring it to another computer, here's an easy solution: After Excel creates the new workbook, save it as a template using the instructions in Section 16.3.2, and then place the template file anywhere you want.

Excel 2007[c] The Missing Manual
Excel 2007[c] The Missing Manual
ISBN: 596527594
Year: 2007
Pages: 173 © 2008-2017.
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