The good template
A good template is worth its weight in gold because it acts as a guide, showing and helping to create a document with exactly the characteristics and information the company needs.
By: Anne Christine Seidelin
February 2, 2022
An important part of the job as a document controller is to maintain and perhaps create the company’s document templates. Typically, a company has a wide range of document types: policies, procedures, instructions, letters, minutes, presentations, technical notes, memos, specifications, reports, spreadsheets, drawings, etc. – and for document control purposes, e.g. transmittal notes and comment review sheets. For all these document types, a set of standard templates carefully designed and adapted to the needs of the company is well needed.
A good template acts as a guide to help create a document with exactly the characteristics and information the company needs. Therefore, a good template is worth its weight in gold with its content of fixed fonts, formats, logos, layout and content elements. It ensures that data and information are presented consistently and correctly in documents, which also makes the document control work easier.
Typical elements of a template will be the company name and logo, automatic table of contents, document number, revision number, date, lists of e.g. abbreviations or collaborators, and of course fonts, layout and formatting. But it can also contain fields with drop-down menus where you can select only approved elements or special macros for more advanced functions.
For the company, the templates allow its documents across types and departments to have a professional and consistent look while setting the standard for where the different types of information reside.
A well-designed template set therefore has a fixed and repeated framework for where and how key information is presented.
At the same time, document owners/creators have the freedom to concentrate on the technical content of their documents because the fixed elements of the template layout are predefined and located, including critically important information such as document number and revision history.
In other words, a fixed framework is set up with fields that tell you what information to put where. This also means that there is transparency for document users, who gain knowledge about the appearance and structure of documents, and thus where to find what information quickly. This kind of transparency saves time and ensures clarity.
For the document control part, in particular, templates with space for good metadata and document numbering ensure good retrieval, which together with document control policy and procedure, system structure, distribution and control provide assurance that documents are available to exactly the people who need them for as long as necessary. \\\