Write Fast with Templates


—Bite-sized advice for better business writing—

Write Faster with Templates

“Prepare the umbrella before it rains.”

— Malay Proverb

Sometimes your job requires you to write the same sort of document over and over. Basic memos, bid rejections, progress reports—if you must routinely produce certain types of messages, you can speed up your writing process by developing a boilerplate response based on a template.

How can I find a template?

Decide what type of document you need. Then request a quality sample from a colleague or explore numerous effective templates from Write for Business. Here are a few samples:

After you find a template based on a frequent writing situation, you should study the model closely. Pay special attention to its ideas, organization, voice, and formatting.

How can I create a boilerplate document?

You can create a boilerplate document by replacing specific information with brackets, alerting you to details that need to be filled in. The sample boilerplate document below is adapted from a Bid Rejection template.

Dear [Receiver Name]:

SUBJECT: [Bid Identification Number]

Thank you for your bid to [description of bid].

Your bid was competitive for several of the criteria outlined in our original Request for Proposals (RFP). Your [description of strengths of bid]. However, [reason why competitor won bid].

[My Organization] appreciates the work that you put into your proposal. We look forward to your interest in future [My Organization] projects.


[My Name]
[My Title]

How can I use a boilerplate?

After creating your boilerplate document, store it in a digital folder. When you need to write that sort of message, copy the boilerplate and replace the bracketed material with information that suits the given situation. But make sure you edit it carefully so that none of the seams show. You don't want to deliver a Frankenstein's monster of a document.


Try It Out!

  1. Choose a template from Write for Business or from your own workplace.
  2. Use it to create a boilerplate document.
  3. Replace specific information with bracketed text that describes what should go in its place.
  4. Return to the boilerplate the next time you need to write a similar document. 

Get More Support

Check out the Write for Business Guide, Courses, and eTips for more resources for writing effectively at work.