It’s all about first impressions. But how much care do you put into dressing up your documents?
Is it all title, headings, subheadings, bullets and paragraphs, or do you put some more thought into the documents you create in Microsoft Word?
There are a lot of things that go into a professional Microsoft Word documentHow to Create Professional Reports and Documents in Microsoft WordHow to Create Professional Reports and Documents in Microsoft WordThis guide examines the elements of a professional report and reviews the structuring, styling, and finalizing of your document in Microsoft Word.Read More. But we are talking about first impressions here. So, let’s take on the first thing our eyes fall on – the cover page.
The cover page is the very first page of your document. Its purpose right at the beginning is to give the reader the “Big Idea” about the document. The why and wherefore is communicated through a specific title, the author name, date, a one-liner on the subject and any other bit of important information that you think is important for the reader.
What Does a Vanilla Cover Page Look Like?
You might have spotted monochromatic and simple cover pages on research documents and school essays. They are dictated by style guides like the Chicago Manual of Style. The title page takes a minimalist approach to cover page design. For instance, the title or topic of the study is centered one-third of the way down the page.
For an academic assignment, do check with your instructor before using a cover page.
But what if you want to give your document a cooler cover page when not dictated by a style guide but realize that you don’t have the design chops for it? Design your own.
Insert an Attractive Cover Page
Microsoft Word makes it painless to create a professional cover page.
The Office suite comes with a few well-designed cover pages that you can re-purpose for your document. There’s a good variety to choose from.
Open a new Word document. Click on the Insert menu on the ribbon. The dropdown for Cover Page is the first feature you will spot on the menu (under Pages). Click on tiny arrow next to it and open the inbuilt gallery of templates. Pick one from the 16 pre-formatted templates and three more on Office.com.
Select the one you like and click on it. The cover page appears at the beginning of the document by default. But to place it in any other location, right click on the cover page thumbnail in the gallery and select from the options given. Though, am not sure why you would want to!
Customize Individual Fields
Click on each pre-formatted field (the square brackets) and the whole thing gets highlighted with a blue field label on top. Type in your version for the given field. The author name might appear by default if the Office installation is in your name. Place the common information in Quick Parts and you don’t have to bother with typing them again and again.
Change the date fields with the drop-down arrow and select a date from a calendar. You can format all fields just like normal text.
You can easily edit graphical cover page elements like any other image. Just click on the graphic to display the Drawing Tools and Picture Tools menus on the Ribbon.
Change the Design on the Fly
Customizing a pre-formatted cover page is a piece of cake. The templates consist of formatted controls and graphic boxes that come in different color themes. So, you can change any part of the template on the fly.
Notice a picture on the cover page template? Maybe, you would like to swap it out with a logo or another more appropriate image. Just right click on the picture and click Change Picture in the context menu.
Changed your mind about the entire cover page? While working on one cover page, you can change it for another cover page by selecting a new template from the drop-down. The new template retains the field entries.
Note: To replace a cover page created in an older version of Word, you must delete the first cover page manually, and then add a new design from the cover page gallery.
Click on Save to finalize the cover page as a document.
If you would like to save the cover page for later use in another document, select the entire cover page. Click on Insert > Cover Page > Save Selection to Cover Page Gallery. You can use the same menu to remove a selected cover page from the gallery.
Design Your Own Cover Page
Microsoft Word templates are a time-saving solution, but they don’t allow your personality to shine through. To add a personal touch, you should put in a bit more effort and make a thoughtfully designed cover page from scratch.
You have all the image editing tools in Microsoft Word at your disposal. When you can design your own logo in Microsoft Word, a cover page is less of a chore. Borrow or steal ideas from the process.
The screenshot below displays a cover page I created in Microsoft Word from scratch. I used a few basic Shapes to create the design and formatted them with color.
Save Your Custom Template
Complete your design on a fresh Microsoft Word document. Save this document as a Microsoft Word template (File > Save As > Microsoft Word Template) in a location of your choice.
Now, the next steps are about adding your own cover page to the default choices under the Insert menu. Follow these steps:
Press CTRL + A to select the entire page.
Add these selections to the Quick Parts gallery. Go to Ribbon > Insert > Quick Parts (the Text Group). Select Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery… from the drop-down.
Enter the details in the dialog for a new Building Block. Building blocks are reusable Microsoft Word elements that you can add to any of the galleries available in Word. This is what the dialog box looks like:
- Name: Give the cover page a Name.
- Gallery: Choose “Cover Pages” from the dropdown.
- Category: Choose a category. For better organization, make a new category.
- Save in: Save it in your template or in the building block. When saved as a building block, you can use it in any Word document without opening the template.
Click OK and close the Building Block dialog box. Go to the Insert menu and check your new cover page template.
Add Some Style with a Cover Page
A cover page is one of the best ways to stylize your document. But is it one of the more underused features of Microsoft Word7 Underused Microsoft Word Features and How to Use Them7 Underused Microsoft Word Features and How to Use ThemAre you overlooking some of Microsoft Word's most useful features? This application features a surprising number of underused tools and options. We have unearthed seven and will show you how to use them.Read More? A Word document is often bland. So, do consider the merits…
- A cover page gives the reader a quick visual of the content inside.
- Save and re-use a generic company-wide cover page in the gallery.
- Convert a document with a cover page to PDF with one button and send to any device.
Most of us don’t commonly employ a cover page with a document. Or do you? Let us know the benefits you find in inserting a well-designed cover page.
Image Credit: faisalsk007 via Wikimedia Commons
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Cover Page Templates
Editable Cover Pages for Business Documents, Academic Assignments, and BooksIn the professional and academic arenas, many projects require you to create a cover page. Since this is the first thing the reader sees, the cover design should be professional and convey clearly what the content inside is about. The information and elements you include will depend on the type of document you are creating and other specifics of the project. We have numerous cover page templates available in various formats, all of which can be customized to fit your needs.
- Business Plans/Proposals
- Professional Reports
- Academic Essays
- White Papers
Essentials of a Strong Cover PageYour cover page design should draw the reader in and give them a compelling reason to go deeper into the document. It may include some or all of the following elements:
- Document Title/Subtitle
- Author’s Name
- Author’s Title
- Cover Photo/Cover Image
- Completion/Submission Date
- Document Description
Academic Cover PagesIn the world of academia, following the rules is most often just as important as the content inside the paper. This means you must have proper in-text citations, quotations, references, etc. Most importantly, the document must be presented in the proper format. The three most common formatting styles for academic papers are:
- American Psychological Association (APA): Currently in its Sixth Edition, the APA format is typically used in the social sciences field. The APA cover should include a running header, title, author’s name, institution name, and any author notes you want to include. Times New Roman in font size 12 is also recommended.
- Modern Language Association (MLA): Currently in its Eighth Edition, the MLA format is typically used in the arts and humanities fields. While this format does not require you to create a cover page, some instructors may still want it. If you are asked for a title page, be sure to follow the specific guidelines you are given.
- Chicago Manual of Style (CMS): Currently in its 16th Edition, the CMS format is also often used in the arts and humanities. In this format, you may be required to create a standalone title page, or you may be asked to include the title on the first page of your text. As always, consult with your instructor for additional formatting guidelines.
Business Cover PagesIn the corporate world, the cover page design is largely dependent on the nature of the organization and the type of document you are producing. Certain cover pages should be formal and professional, while others may call for more creativity and flare. For example, technical reports that mostly show facts and figures typically have more conservative covers, while business and marketing plans might be more colorful and use attractive imagery that makes the reader feel good about the company. Your title page should identify with the brand, be consistent with the organization’s mission, and follow all pre-set guidelines. Above all, be sure to create a design that will be pleasing to your target audience.
Book Cover DesignsWhether you are creating a magazine, ebook or paperback book cover, a compelling design is essential for the success of the project. The cover is what sells the book, and if it doesn’t immediately grab the attention of potential readers, many will not take the time to read the description and learn what the book is about. Keep in mind that many consumers today shop for books and magazines using electronic formats such as tablets and smartphones, rather than on bookshelves. For this reason, the title should be large and easy to read and the graphics should be professionally designed in a way that allows the reader to connect emotionally with the subject matter. Also make sure any graphic images are easily viewable in thumbnail size, so they can be seen by readers on all devices.
Free Title and Cover Page TemplatesWe have an extensive cover page gallery with numerous free template designs you can use. Our cover and title page templates are M.S. Word-based, and can be edited using Microsoft Word, Open Office, or Mac Pages. Find the template that best suits your needs, download it, and quickly get started on your cover page project.
APA Title PagesThese cover page templates have everything you need to easily put together the title page for your APA-formatted academic report. Each title page contains a running head, Times New Roman size 12 font, and the correct spacing requirements for the information you need to insert. From standard and typical APA formats to formats with multiple authors and multiple affiliations, we provide a wide range of options to fit your requirements.
Report Cover PagesWhether you need a cover page for an annual financial report, marketing report, business proposal or any other type of corporate project, our report cover page templates can help put the best face on your project. Each template is formal, professional and designed to impress your audience.
Cover Page DesignsLooking for a cover that allows you to showcase your creativity? Our cover page design templates provide several options that can be used as they are or as a starting point to create a more unique design. These designs feature stylish images and fashionable color schemes blended seamlessly to help tell your story. They can be used for more creative projects such as magazine and book covers, brochures, and family scrapbooks.