How much is Word inefficiency really costing me?

Without knowing more details, it's hard for me to say.

There are several ways to check:

Word uses what are called styles. If you're not using them, or even not using them correctly, then the way you use your documents/templates will be costing you (we just don't know how much). This method shows you how you can carry out a quick, 2-minute check.

Do We Really Need Your Help, Russ?

That all depends.

Just so you know, I've been creating Word templates for businesses since 1999. In this time, I've seen very few templates that have been designed correctly.

(Note: even Microsoft's own Word templates aren't all designed with best practice and functionality in mind. I've told them that, where they're making errors, and what they need to do about them.)

As such can I help you?

Probably. I'd be surprised if I can't.

The question is...

Is it Worth It?

That has to be your call.

If there's just you, then having a professionally designed template - and I'm necessarily not talking about how the template looks - I'm talking functionality-wise, it will save you time.

It'll also mean your material is consistent, looks professional, and is a reflection of how you should want your business to be viewed.

If you're an organisation with a team of people who use Word, then yes, it'll do all of the above (and more). Plus, given you have multiple users, the time savings will be multiplied.

If your documents are complicated, then I'd recommend video training as well (see What Do You Cover In Your Video Training).

Please note: if you're unsure about whether I can help, get in touch, I'm more than happy to have an informal chat.

Can You Really Help Me and My Business?

I'd be surprised if I couldn't.

As mentioned, in my over 2 decades of using Word, I'm yet to see an organisation with well-designed templates.

However, though I outline my process below, if I can't help you (for whatever reason), then there's no charge whatsoever.

$48,000 /year, 200-hours/year - how can you guarantee these savings?

I can't and there is no guarantee.

However, in my experience - and I've worked with hundreds of clients, very few are using Word correctly. (I'll go out on a limb here and even Microsoft don't follow best practice on some of their templates.)

As such, savings are there to be made.

What If You Can't Help Me?

If I can't help you (for whatever reason), then there's no charge whatsoever.

Again, I'll be surprised if I can't.

However, even if I can't help your particular case, if there's a better way forward then I'm more than happy to advise.

Why Is Microsoft Word SO Complicated?

That's the thing...

Unlike Excel, PowerPoint, and similar, if you're creating anything but the most basic of documents, then you need to dig a little deeper into how Word works.

Excel and PowerPoint are forgiving... Word isn't.

As such, it's not just a case of selecting text on the page and then clicking on the B (bold), the I (italic), and U (underline) buttons. There's a lot more to it than that (thought that is the basis of it).

We Use Word Already, So How Can My Business Get Better With It?

Word has this thing called styles.

Styles are THE most important aspect of Word.


Because everything in Word uses a style of some sort (if you create a new document, you'll see that cursor is automatically using the Normal style:

The Normal style in Word

As a result, you cannot NOT use styles in Word. It stands to reason that you need to learn them and how to use them.

The problem is, there are different kinds of styles.

Let me explain further...

Word uses 4 levels of formatting:

  1. Direct formatting - (the B, I, and U buttons are an example of direct formatting: you click and the formatting is applied directly to the text or paragraph. We call each of these a formatting attribute there are many more, e.g. font type, font colour, line spacing, paragraph spacing - each is an attribute.)
  2. Styles - this is a set of attributes grouped together for quick and easy application, e.g. the Normal style, in the above image. You can see that its font type is Calibri, its font weight is 11 points, it's left-aligned, and so on. If you look to the right of the Normal style, you can see Heading 1, Heading 2, and all the rest of the styles in the ribbon have different attributes as well. This is the beauty of Word's styles.
  3. Style-sets - this is yet another, higher-level, grouping in Word. This time a grouping of the styles themselves - the built-in Word styles - this allows for rapid changes across the entire document (headings as well as body text styles)
  4. Themes - the 4th and highest level takes the style-sets and, together with colours, fonts, paragraph spacing, groups them into yet another set (a theme file that you can download). If you're familiar with PowerPoint, you're more likely to have experienced theme files there.

Themes (left) and style-sets in Word

This layering of styles is recommended best practice in Word.

What Is It You're Actually Offering Here?

A very experienced certified Microsoft Word expert, I've worked with hundreds of companies to help improve their documentation and the way they use it. To great success.

Essentially, I am offering to improve your business documentation and the way that your team use it. In my experience, many organizations are grossly inefficient in this aspect and massive savings are possible.

  1. I will look at your existing documentation
  2. I will make suggestions how I can improve it
  3. With your approval, I'll then make the changes
  4. Once done, I'll then recommend the video training that your team will need to work with these templates effectively

No two businesses are alike, and your needs will be different.

How Long Does Working With You Usually Take?

It all depends on how many templates you have and the quantity of video training that you'll need.

Some businesses I've worked with have 2 or 3 templates. Some have had upwards of 20 or more. it's usually 1-2 weeks, max.

The process is the same:

  1. I look at what you've got and what you need (where you are now versus where you want to be).
  2. I look at your brand guidelines (fonts, logos, and so forth)
  3. I build your master template (or templates)
  4. Once these are approved, I then build your other templates from the master(s)
  5. When the templates complete and signed-off, we then review the video training required.
  6. I then script, record, edit, and deliver the videos
  7. We then close the contract (and you're kind enough to give me a fantastic testimonial and recommendation on LinkedIn).

I follow up in a few weeks to ensure that all is working as it should and nothing else is required.

Typically, this all takes around 1-to-2 weeks (1 week for a smaller number of templates, 2 for double-figure numbers)

What's this likely to cost?

Again, it all depends on what you need.

My fees are based on day rate ($1k/day) and, typically, for most companies, we're looking at 1 week's work, maximum (all 3 companies I cover in my case studies, here, were under 1 week's work) .

This involves a suite of templates 10-15, usually: agenda, invoice, memo, legal report, standard report, procedural report, policy template, SOP template, job description, quote, agreement, new vendor form, etc., but it can include what you need.

You don't have to have the video training (but I really do recommend it - if your team struggle with Word and your documents, then this teaches them exactly how to use them. (See what can I use your training videos for?)

All told, you can have a 100% working solution for anywhere between $500-$3,000 (no video training) or anything up to $10k (full video training)

What does the video training consist of?

One of the biggest problems with Microsoft Word is people don't know how to use it. They open Word up, the blank document is in front of them, and away they type.

Sure, that's fine, and it is how you get started, but that's the very tip (less than 1 mm) of the iceberg. There's so much more you need to do.

I saw this in a Technical Writer group the other day:

And that, unfortunately, is how many view Word - just start typing.

I will admit that Microsoft really haven't helped here, as their interface design lends itself towards type > point-click (to format), but in anything but the simplest of documents, it'll end in tears.

You need to do more than that, and that's where people - and businesses - struggle and fall down.

That's where the video training comes in.

I teach you exactly how to use the very templates that I build for you. That way, your team knows exactly how to use them.

  • Yes, they will most likely have to unlearn some bad habits.
  • Yes, they will probably resist.
  • Yes, they will eventually see the reason why

The training itself

This is dependent on exactly what you need (I'm not going to cover mail merges in Word if you never have to use the mail merge functionality).

But here's one I did for a company in 2018:

This was a suite of some 13 videos and it included, as you can see:

  • Introduction - what the training consists of
  • Word setup - Word out of the box won't help you much and it can actually make things harder for you)
  • Document properties - Word is very powerful and these types of features can make your life much easier
  • Quick Access Toolbar - a much underused feature in Word. I'd encourage you to use it more. I explain why in the video.
  • Images - something many struggle with in Word. This can sometimes run to 2, 3 or even more videos, depending on your organization and what/how you use your templates and what you create
  • Shortcut keys - these multiply your work rate within Word like you wouldn't believe. But, there can be some issues - I know exactly how to solve/get around them, and show you how here.

And so much more. The exact contents are different for each organization and, though there are a core set of topics that I cover, the rest is only determined once I've created your templates - it's not something I can preempt.

You might be wondering what you can use this video training for, click here to see.

What can I use the video training for?

Most clients will use it to train their current teams to get them up to speed with the new templates.

They can then use the training to on-board new employees, as part of training, evaluations, assessments, that kind of thing.

Some larger organizations have a training library for their staff, so it can be added there and referred to as and when required.

Ultimately, it's up to you how you utilize the training. If I can assist further in any way, please ask.

Do You Do Both PC and Mac?

I do, yes.

My main computer is a Windows 10 machine and I have a MacBook Air.

What Do You Cover In Your Video Training?

As mentioned in 'We Use Word Already, So How Can My Business Get Better With It?', Word needs to be used in a certain way. So that's the essence of what the video training covers - it's standard across Microsoft Word.

However, having designed your templates, I know exactly what your team need to do to use them - this is where it becomes unique.

I know all the shortcuts, all the pitfalls and problems, and know what to avoid. This is the difference (and what you'll never be able to get in a generic video training course).

Word does have a lot of peculiarities and it's knowing these (and being able to avoid them) which will save your organization countless hours of frustration and hassle.

What Clients Have You Already Worked With?

I've worked with a few hundred clients over the years, including Fortune 500 companies such as:

  • Microsoft
  • McDonalds
  • Aviva
  • Barclays Bank
  • Fidelity Insurance

Plus a few others who I can't say because of NDA's (Non-disclosure Agreements)

Rest-assured, I an very experienced with what I do.

Where Can I Find Out More?

If I haven't covered what you need, the best way would be to get in touch to discuss your actual needs.

In the first instance, use the Enquiries button in the bottom right. Fill out the form and it comes straight through to me.

I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

How Do I Get In Touch With You?

In the first instance, please use the Enquiries button in the bottom-right. Fill out the form and it comes straight through to me.

My timezone is ICT, which is either GMT+6 (summer) or GMT+7 (winter). I usually respond promptly.

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