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Home arrow Articles arrow Marketing & Promotions arrow Marketing your Entertainment arrow Using a Contract Template in MS Word
Using a Contract Template in MS Word PDF Print E-mail
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Contributed by Dale Obrochta   
Jan 23, 2008 at 03:12 PM

Many people nowadays have access to Microsoft Word.  It’s one of the leading word processors, but most people do not take advantage of its full potential. Word can generate professional looking entertainment contracts that can improve your business.   This article will quickly tell you how to produce a Word template.

Improving your business
-- Some entertainers simply printout a contract form and hand fill-in the information while others skip doing contracts all together.  Computer savvy users use their word processor and create document templates.  You too can quickly improve your image and give the appearance of a high end Entertainment Company by using Microsoft Word.

One of the features of Word is its ability to save a document as a template.  Templates have fields which prompt users to fill-in fields. These templates allow the user to reuse the documents over and over with out accidentally modifying the original form. In my typical contract, I have 13 fields to fill-in. Once these fields are filled in, the document is ready to print, email, fax, or to save on a disk.

Creating a contract --
Now I’m no attorney, but here are some simple pointers. You will need: your contact information (name, full mailing information, contact telephone numbers, and website information), customer’s information (full name, mailing information, all contact telephone numbers), location, time, type of performance (show or walk around), date of event, event telephone number, and contact person at the event. Also consider adding a partial credit card number and driver’s license number.  Since I rarely accept credit card payments, I don’t include this on my standard contract. 

Make the contract usable for multiple events like birthday parties, picnics, or corporate events. Add fields like company name, fax number, contact person, or even email address.  These fields may be left blank half the time, but when needed they will be available.  Don’t forget about cancellation penalties, acceptable payment methods, or discounts.
As you design the contract you’re basically making a form with appropriate fill-in spaces. So feel free to add in graphics, watermarks, or any other extras you want into your contract. At this moment, it is a normal Word document, so any of the fonts, colors, graphics, or word art will all work like normal.

Saving the file
-- Save the document as a template not as a Word document. A Word document and templates are two different types of documents.  Templates allow you to fill in only the fields necessary while creating a new document. When saving a template document, they automatically go to the Save As mode which prevents you from overwriting existing files.  If you modify a Word document and click on save, it would overwrite the document and save the newly typed information in place of the original file. 

Creating fill-in fields -- Place your cursor at the point where you would like the information filled-in.  Let’s use Customer Name as an example.  Move your insertion point (cursor) to Customers Name, then in the menu bar click on Insert, Field, and look at the Field Names window.  Scroll down to fill-in.  An additional window will appear asking for prompt information.  Type the words Customer Name and then click OK. Continue moving through your document inserting fill-in prompts. 

When you use or open this document a popup field will appear asking for customer name.  Simply delete the words customer name and type in the actual customers’ name.  Every fill-in equals a new popup window.

Saving, using and a template -- Now let’s try the template.  After saving the contract template, close it. To use the template, click on File, then New.  Word will open up a New Document window.  Under New from templates click on General Templates, select the tab or location where you saved the file. Click on the file, if you have done it correctly the file will open and immediately prompt you for information.  Simply fill-in the prompts and your contract is ready to go.

Modifying the template -- If you need to make changes, completely finish filling in the prompts then move through the document and make the changes.  If you need to make changes to the template itself, open the document up as a template.  Click on Open and then select Templates.  If you don’t select Templates you will not be able to modify the template document. Once open, make your changes and then save the file.

It may take some time for you to setup your contract template, but over the year you will be surprised how effective it works and how professional you will look. To help, I have included an example of a Microsoft Word contract template for you to work with and use as a starter template.

More about the Author Dale Obrochta
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