How to Create Professional Reports and Documents in Microsoft Word

This guide examines the elements of a professional report and reviews the structuring, styling, and finalizing of your document in Microsoft Word.

If Microsoft Office had been a country, it would have been the third most populous country in the world. 1.2 billion people using a single suite of apps is mind-boggling. And, they "speak" 107 languages!

But right now, you and I are speaking in English and we are going to talk about the most popular tool in the Microsoft Office arsenal -- Microsoft Word 2016 .

This document editor is used for writing a variety of documents. From a simple application to the necessary resume. From a plain bucket list to an office memo. We think we can work with Word. But it is when we sit down to write a serious professional report, we discover an important fact.

Professional report writing needs a different set of skills.

So, ask yourself this -- can you make the leap from a single document to a lengthy report? Do you know all the Microsoft Word features that will help manage this large scale document project? Can you collaborate on the work with other team members?

You may be a student, a small business owner, or an office will need to create a report or a professionally formatted document of some kind. This MakeUseOf guide will help you update your techniques and sharpen your design approach.

In this guide:

Writing a Report -- Introduction | The Report Checklist

Useful Microsoft Word Tools -- Paste Special | Researcher | Freeze Parts of Your Document

Work on the Layout & Design -- Intro | Cover Page | Table of Contents | Header and Footer | Page Numbers | Font Styling | Paragraph Styling | Page Breaks | Styles and Themes | Captions | Quick Parts | Page Borders

References and Collaboration -- Index | Bibliographies | Cross-Referencing | Comments

Finalize Your report -- Signatures | Watermarks | Read Only | Print to PDF

The Next Step -- Conclusion

Writing a Report

Report writing involves research and then publishing the outcome of that analysis. In the professional world, the "look" or appearance of what you publish is paramount. The eye-pleasing final result could burnish your reputation and enhance your personal brand.

The steps below will handhold you through the expert features in Microsoft Word 2016. Spend a lot of time on a plan. Start with these guidelines…

Step 1: Decide the Purpose

Before you begin the report, you must first know why you are writing it in the first place. Reports are of many kinds but they are either meant to inform or persuade. It can be meant for describing a technical process, sharing background information, or demonstrate progress on a project.

Ask yourself – What and Why . This will help you distill the purpose to the one main point and stick to it instead of rambling on with unnecessary details.

Step 2: Identify Your Audience

The second important consideration is to evaluate your audience. Will they be able to understand what you are talking about? Are there different levels of readers who will read the report? The reader's knowledge of the subject will greatly influence the information that you need to include.

Decide on the primary audience and then script the report at the adequate technical level. The secondary audience can be supported with supplemental information at the end of the report.

Step 3: Know Your Topic

You must know what you are talking about. So, research the topic, and include all the relevant information to prove your point. Make sure that you come to a conclusion based on facts and not personal opinion. The information must be correct, current, and well-referenced.

Also use a variety of resources such as journals, newspaper articles, books, websites, brochures, raw data, annual reports, and speeches to help support your point. Just don't stick to Wikipedia.

Step 4: Outline the Report

You have done the research. There's a ton of information that is waiting to be typed and printed. But wait! Don't drown before you enter the water. Prepare the final outline of the report which will be the chart of waypoints to help you navigate from start to finish. The outline is the blueprint. It will give you a bird's eye view of the land and also show you where you need to fill in the details.

The structure of an idea report can include the following elements:

  • Executive Summary
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • The Body of the Report
  • Recommendations
  • Bibliography and References

Microsoft Word's Document Outline is a powerful feature that can help you organize a document even before you start filling it with research. Take advantage of brainstorming and mind-mapping templates too.

Step 5: Write, Edit, Proofread, and Finish

Once you have structured your report, it is time to fill out the headers with content. I personally find it best to tackle a little bit of each section, and then bulk it up with information. You can do that if you want, or finish each section as you go down the report structure. Make sure you focus on presenting your ideas and using supportive evidence rather than spelling and grammar first. Outline your argument and write a few sentences that cast your main ideas. If you find something worth quoting, quote it.

Once the majority of your text is written, it is now time to read through it and make sure it flows well. Make sure you guide the reader's understanding with transition words such as "This information shows…", "In other words…", "Similarly…" and do highlight relevant and key points.

Finally, spend time to proofread, check for grammar and spelling , and double-check all relevant information and its logical flow. It is best to leave at least one day to check and proofread your work. Don't try to edit it straight after you think you have finished, as you will tend to miss read what you have written. Get some sleep, and proofread it the next day.

The Report Checklist

Before you go and submit or hand in your report that you have worked so hard on, make sure you have done the following:

  • Completed the title page with the Title, Your Name, Date, Who the report is for, and a possible description of what the report is about.
  • The contents page has appropriate headings and pages numbers are correct.
  • Make sure the introduction covers key points, the scope of the report, and the objective it wants to meet.
  • You have added captions above tables and below images/graphs.
  • Does the content of the report present the information in a clear way, logical, factual, stay on topic, is to the point?
  • Does the conclusion state the results, restate main idea's, and does not include any new information?
  • Are the headings and sub headings clearly labeled?
  • Are quotes relevant, up-to-date, and correctly referenced?
  • Have you used page breaks where appropriate?

Now, let's launch Microsoft Word and take you through the features that will help piece together the draft of your report and present it as a professional document.

Useful Microsoft Word Features for Report Writing

Take these as bite-sized tips and master them one by one.

Microsoft Word is a big howitzer with many nuts and bolts. Let's focus on the key skill sets and the tools you will need to plan, prepare, and present the professional report. The Microsoft Word features we will cover below are also productivity shortcuts that will make your job easier.

Tip: Use Microsoft Word 2016's "Tell Me" assistant to learn more about new features in the Office suite.

Let's start with three preliminary tools...

Use Paste Special

For most of us, when we need to copy text or an image into Word, the CTRL+V shortcut does just fine. But sometimes we might want to paste the copied data into another format, such as Excel data as an image. With the Paste Special command you can discard or specify the format when you paste a picture, presentation data, table, or object from any other program into Word.

You will work a lot with Excel tables and charts in a professional document.

If you just copy what you want and click paste, you will notice that it will insert the data as tables. But, if it is a large area of cells you want to paste, and you do not want to edit it, you may want to paste it as an image, with the extra option to edit it.

In Microsoft Excel: Select and highlight the cells that you want to copy > Press CTRL+C.

In Microsoft Word: Go to Home > Paste > Paste Special . Select Paste Special and from the dialog select Microsoft Office Excel Worksheet Object .

You can resize the data as it was an image, and if you double click, you will be able to edit the values. You can change the table or chart and redesign it. And, if you update the data in the chart or table in Excel, you can automatically refresh the chart in Word.

Try the right-click context menu too. The Paste Special menu pops up:

There are more options to import data from Excel into Word . The Microsoft Office Support page also describes them in detail.

Use the Researcher

Yes, there is Google and Wikipedia. But constantly switching from Word to your browser can hamper your productivity. Office 2016 brings in powerful research integration to this grunt work. The Researcher can not only help you find content from within Microsoft Word but also help you quickly add citations. It uses the Bing Knowledge Graph to find the right content to support your document.

Go to Ribbon > References tab and c Choose Researcher . A pane will open on the right with the search options.

Type a keyword for the topic want to search for and press Enter.

The Results pane shows a list of sources you can use in your document. Choose a topic to explore in detail.

Add the topic to your Microsoft Word document with a click on the plus sign on the top-right. You can also click the plus sign on any result to cite the source in your research document. The cite source helps you support your research with web sources and books.

As we will see later, an annotated bibliography is one of the toughest parts of a document. The Researcher is an intelligent assistant who steps in.

Freeze Part of Your Word Document

Let's take for granted that your professional report will be a long and complex work. You can split the Word window into two panes so that you can view two different parts of a document at the same time. It is a valuable time saver when you want to copy and paste parts from one place to another or refer to one part of the document while working in another.

Go to Ribbon > View tab > Split .

To remove the split, click on Remove Split in the same tab.

The Windows group gives you several options to change the way you work with two or more documents. The features are self-explanatory.

To scroll both documents at the same time, click Synchronous Scrolling in the Window group on the View tab. You can also click on View Side by Side to put two parts of the document next to each other.

Tip: Use Split View to display two different layouts – for instance, Print and Outline. Set the split. Then, click in the pane that you want to change, and then select a different layout on the View tab.

Work on the Layout & Design

The presentation of a report is what gets someone to read a report in the first place, and that is why it is crucial that your report is well presented. If you had the choice of four reports to read, what will you choose?

  • A hand written report.
  • A document printed in black and white.
  • A report printed on normal A4 paper in color.
  • A report printed in color, with a catchy title page, neatly bounded, and slick?

You will pick up the fourth report because it will pull you towards it by the visual appearance alone.

The front cover is not the only reason. A well-designed report is easier to read. It is also easier to scan when you don't have time to read. That is why you need to spend some time on your headers and footers, and the different styles and themes. In short – the formatting of every element in the report.

Formatting may seem like a difficult chore, but it is a fun exercise that will exercise all your creative muscles. The key takeaways will be the skills you can apply to anything in Microsoft Office going forward. And the time you will save with all the productivity tips learned here.

Microsoft Word 2016 has a wealthy set of features. These are only some of the ways that your report design can stand out from the rest and be professional. So, let's break down the layout and design skills.

This section will cover these features step-by-step:

  • Start with a Cover Page
  • Make a Table of Contents
  • Create Your Header and Footer
  • Add Page Numbers

(Format the Content)

  • Pick the Right Fonts
  • Style the Paragraphs
  • Control Page Breaks
  • Use Styles and Themes
  • Use Quick Parts
  • Decorate with Page Borders

1. Start With a Cover Page

The first page is the first point of contact with your reader. It is also your opportunity to make a favorable impression. Don't let your lack of artistic skills be an excuse because Word takes up the job with its in-built gallery of title pages. All you have to do is marry one to the theme of the report.

Microsoft Word 2016 offers you 16 pre-formatted templates and three more on

Go to Insert > Pages Group > Cover Page .

The cover page appears at the beginning of the document by default.

As there are only 16 "official" templates on offer, you may find that all your other peers have the same cover page. So, why not customize it, and make it a bit more unique.

You can design a title page (or cover page) in Microsoft Word that can be an original in the stack. Save it as a template or easily change the design on the fly.

2. Make a Table of Contents

Casual readers scan. Good readers scan first and then dive deep. A table of contents provides the waypoints that help both. When it is a long and complicated document, wouldn't you rather check the lay of the land before you head to the section that interests you?

Consider a Table of Contents (TOC) if your document is more than 10 pages long. You should first make sure you don't need to rearrange any pages in your document before creating the TOC.

In Microsoft Word, you don't have to write the entire TOC by hand. There's a Table of Contents automatic tool under the References tab which takes your outline and designs it for you. Also, you can easily keep it updated when you want to change something.

There are also templates you can download and fit it around the nature of the content. For instance, a TOC for a thesis will look different from that of a company's annual report.

We have a complete tutorial on how to create a table of contents page in Word .

The gist of it is this:

Create the outline and use heading styles to organize the hierarchy. Apply the automatic TOC tool to the heading styles. Word 2016 searches for those headings and then inserts the table of contents into your document. Then you can automatically update your TOC if you make changes in your document.

For more hands-on control, you can also use the Manual Table of Contents style. Word inserts placeholder text and you have to insert and format each content in the list.

3. Create Your Header and Footer

Headers and Footers are important in reports as the main purpose is to provide information about the report on every page. They are the common display areas for page numbers. The header of the document should contain the title of the report, and possibly the name of who created it. The title of the current section is helpful.

The footer, on the other hand, should include the page numbers, date of publication, and other administrative information that is required. Do note that some style guides have special guidelines for headers and footers .

Let's start with the header in your document and give it a unique look.

Select Insert , then select either Header or Footer from the group. The built-in gallery shows you several options you can choose from.

The header and footer space is inserted in your document with placeholder text or table. The Header & Footer Tools opens on the Ribbon for other formatting work like the date, time, or picture.

Enter your text and then select Close Header and Footer .

You can start with a blank header and footer. If you have the design skills, use the Header & Footer Tools to design your own. Master the header and footer space if you want to create custom letterheads for your organization. You can use brand elements like company or organization logos at the top and neatly formatted footnotes at the bottom

Let's try with and modify one of the inbuilt headers. I selected Facet from the gallery.

The final look took two minutes to put together with simple text effects and an icon sourced from the Microsoft Office icon gallery.

The header and footer are in place. But, how do you know where you are in the document? Insert page numbers as the next important signpost.

4. Add Page Numbers

Page numbers look best in the footer (unlike in the header as in the image above). You can add a basic page number from the Insert > Page Number button on the Ribbon. You can also add it from the Design tab that appears when you add the header and the footer.

You have a lot of control over page numbers. Choose from a wide range of number formats and customize them to your needs. In this case, we are adding the number to the footer, but you can put them at the top or even at the margins. In this example, I have placed the page number at the bottom left. But, I would like to change the default look and the format.

For example: Using a "Page X of XXX" makes for a better indicator on a long document.

Select the page number. Go to Insert > Quick Parts . From the drop-down menu, select Field . You can also reach the Field dialog from the Header and Footer Design tab.

Choose NumPages from the long list of field names. From the box on the right, you can pick a specific format. I selected the usual 1, 2, 3. Click OK , and the number of the number of pages will appear. Now all you have to do is add your text such as Page X of XXX, and change the look of the numbers with the usual text formatting tools available from the Home tab.

It now looks like this:

Design the look on any page number in your document and Word updates all the remaining automatically. Page numbers are the most common elements in a footer, but it can also hold any other information like the header. From the options in the Insert group, you can add the date and time, document info, pictures, and more to your header or footer.

Next, we're heading into formatting the content.

The visual draw of your professional report comes together with the "beautification" you apply to the content. Formatting is also an essential step for a document that flows well. So, you must focus a lot of energy on picking the right font, paragraph space, and the colors.

Don't worry. Even, the artistically challenged will find this part easy because Microsoft Word comes packaged with default themes and visual styles. Let's start with the most basic element of a document.

5. Pick and Style the Right Font

Your choice of font in a professional Word report not only determines how the text stands out but also how it is printed. You want both for maximum impact.

You can apply a typeface (i.e. the visual look of the font) to either an entire document or to specific parts of a document. All font choices are available from the Home tab. Go to Home > Font .

The default font in Microsoft Word 2016 is Calibri. Look beyond that as you have lots of others to choose from. If you choose Times New Roman, you may be considered lazy, if you choose Windings, well… I don't think I need to explain that. So make sure you choose a font that is easy to read and suits the report. To play it safe, pick from one of these professional-looking Google fonts ; they're available for free.

Tip: Baskerville and Georgia are good alternatives to the over-used Times New Roman

Try different font pairing for the body text and Headings (and Subheadings). Several websites like FontJoy and TypeWolf will help you experiment with font pairings. You can download and use custom fonts too. But remember the thumb-rule -- never use more than three different typefaces in a document.

For that extra bit of pizazz, try a drop cap to enhance your text .

6. Style the Paragraphs

If you want to have your lines double spaced, or single spaced, you need to change the format of the paragraphs. By changing the spacing, you can make a document easier to read or give the impression that it is longer and that you have put more work into it.

To change the paragraph for the whole document, it is best that you select each block of text; otherwise, if you are using headers in your report, they will change too. Another better option is if you customize the particular style you are using to format the paragraph.

To do this, go to Home > Styles . Right click on the style you want to change and select Modify . Click on Format > Paragraph which is at the bottom of the dialog box. Now, change the spacing, indentation, and alignment for the paragraph. Click OK to close the dialogs.

When you want to change a smaller portion of the document , select what you want to change. Right click on the highlighted text and select Paragraph . The same dialog box as above will appear.

7. Control Page Breaks

A page break -- by its very name -- splits a continuous block of text across two pages. Page breaks are important structural elements for long documents. Word automatically inserts a page break at the end of the page. But in a long document, you can place page breaks where you want them.

To insert a manual page break, click Insert > Page Break. (Keyboard shortcut: CTRL + Enter)

A page break looks like this when you click on the Show/Hide command in the Paragraph group .

But what if you want to keep a bunch of lines together on a page or column and not have them separate because of a page break? The layout is in your control. Click the tiny arrow you see in the bottom right of the Paragraph group.

In the Paragraph box, click Line and Page Breaks. Select from these four pagination options:

  • Widow/Orphan control places at least two lines of a paragraph at the top or bottom of a page.
  • Keep with next prevents breaks between paragraphs you want to stay together.
  • Keep lines together prevents page breaks in the middle of paragraphs.
  • Page break before adds a page break before a specific paragraph.

We've also shown how to remove page breaks when necessary.

8. Use Styles and Themes

Styles and themes are perhaps two of the more underused features in Microsoft Word . But I think you should use them at every opportunity to save a lot of time.

But what is the difference between a theme and a style? Microsoft says:

Themes provide a quick way to change the overall color and fonts. If you want to change text formatting quickly, Word Styles are the most effective tools.

So, as themes control the general look with color, effects, and fonts – start with a good theme for your document first. Then , use Styles to dig into the specific portions you want to change the appearance for.

For Themes: Go to the Design tab. Pick a theme from the gallery. You can see previews of what the color combination is like.

For Styles: Select the part of the text you want to change. Go to the Styles group on the Home tab. You can see previews of what they look like. Choose the Style that is suitable for your content. For instance, choose a heading style for the headings in your document. Or, a particular style for any quotes. You can also modify an existing style and create new styles from scratch.

9. Captions

Every picture, chart, or illustration needs a caption to clearly describe it. It is a single line of text, usually located below a graphic. Captions are also an important reference when you need to mention them in another place. Many documents omit this small detail.

It is easy to add a caption. Right-click the illustration you want to add a caption to. Select Add Caption .

In the dialog box, add your caption text and configure the remaining options. Captions can be automatically referenced in Word.

10. Use Quick Parts

Professional documents can get repetitive. This is why you should start using Quick Parts for boilerplate content you reuse all the time. For instance, let's say there is a contract clause you include with every document. Or, some introductory information. Instead of repeated copy-paste, save them as Quick Parts and re-use them again and again.

Quick Parts is also a type of building block . You can see the gallery of all reusable blocks of content in the Building Block Organizer .

Save and reuse your own Quick Parts in two steps:

  • Select the phrase, sentence, or other portion of your document that you want to save to the gallery.
  • Go to Insert > Text group > Quick Parts > Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery . Change the name and add a description if you like. Click OK .

Just as easily, you can re-use the saved snippet of content.

Place your cursor where you want to insert a selection from the Quick Parts Gallery. Go to Insert > Text group > Quick Parts . Then click the sentence, phrase, or other saved selection you want to reuse.

You will notice three other categories in the Quick Parts menu.

AutoText: Word 2016 has retained the old AutoText feature. It works like Quick Parts for any block of text that you use a great deal. Example: A note you want to use with every document.

Document Property: A set of constant properties that you can include with every document. Example: Company name or author.

Fields: These are predefined elements that update automatically. Example: Date, time, page numbers etc.

Remember, entries for document property can sometimes include information you wouldn't want to share with everyone. So, keep a close eye on these fields and remove the hidden personal data whenever required.

11. Decorate With Page Borders

Page borders look good not only on flyers and invitations. If done right, they can add a touch of class to a document. A variety of line styles and widths and art borders are available from the Design menu on the Ribbon.

Go to Design > Page Borders.

In the Borders and Shading box, use the Page Border tab to design your border.

The settings are self-explanatory. Try Shadow or 3-D with the right colors to add a subtle but elegant border. The Art styles with their clip-art borders might be too garish for professional documents.

Use the four corner buttons in the Preview window to select the sides of the page to draw borders. Click these buttons to remove or add borders, as you wish.

Place the cursor on the first page of a document if you want to put a border around only the first page. You can also put borders around certain pages in a section. Place the cursor in the section — either in the first page of that section or in a subsequent page.

References and Collaboration

A Word report can seem like an unmanageable chore. It's like organizing a million piles of hay into neat little stacks. The idea is to know precisely which stack has the pin you are looking for. These features are meant to make it easier.

1. Create an Index

When writing large documents such as a report that contains a lot of information, a contents page may not be enough. An Index should appear at the end of the document, with page numbers to keywords and information in the report. Create an index to help the reader reference the right information with just the page number.

Make an index if your document has more than 20 pages. Microsoft Word 2016 doesn't let the process overwhelm you. It basically has two parts:

  • Select the words or information you want to include in the index.
  • Place the index at the right place in your document.

You can scroll through the finished document and mark the words or phrases you want to include in the index or mark them as you go along. Either way, select the text you'd like to use as an index entry or click where you want to insert the entry.

1. Click References > Mark Entry .

2. Edit the text in the Mark Index Entry dialog box. You can also add a sub-entry which further defines the main word you used in the index. You can add multiple levels and each appears indented under the main entry.

3. Under Options , you can also create a cross-reference to another main entry. A reader can use this to refer related information elsewhere in the same document.

4. Use the Page number format to decide on the appearance of the page numbers in the index.

5. Click Mark to mark the index entry. To mark this text everywhere it shows up in the document, click Mark All .

6. Repeat the process for all the words and phrases you want to include in the index.

You have now built your index. Insert it at the right place towards the end of the document.

1. Click on the page where you want to insert the index.

2. Click References > Insert Index .

3. The Index dialog box is displayed. Here you can choose to format the text entries, page numbers, tabs, and leader characters.

4. Choose the appearance from the different formats in the list and check the Preview window on the right. Remember, the Preview window doesn't show you actual index. It is just a "simulation" of how it will look like.

5. Click OK . Your Index is now ready.

Sometimes, you may need to add more entries to the index after you have inserted it on the page. Mark the entry and go to References > Update index to include the new mentions.

Also, add a heading for the index because Word doesn't do it automatically.

2. Creating Bibliographies

Your document is almost done. Now, you need to credit all the other research work and ideas which you have referenced in your document. It's time for a bibliography.

A company report might not need a bibliography but an academic paper isn't finished without one. The bibliography is one of the most painstaking jobs in an academic report. You need to have all your citations in order before you sit down to frame the bibliography. Also, decide on the citation style (typically MLA, APA , or Chicago-style ) as per the guidelines of your subject.

Don't hesitate to take advantage of third-party citation and bibliography generators for constructing this section.

But, Microsoft Word 2016 has a complete toolset to make this process as painless as possible. So, go to the point in the document where you would like to place the bibliography. It's good if you have at least one citation to include, but even if you don't, Word 2016 lets you use a placeholder citation and fill in the sources later.

Click References > Bibliography .

Word offers a few bibliography styles that differ only in their heading names. Choose the appropriate style and then insert citations from the button in the Citations & Bibliography group .

The bibliography tool has a few steps to it. For the sake of brevity, I will direct you to the excellent Microsoft Office help page which is a step-by-step guide.

Some academic papers will ask you to create an annotated bibliography . It is a more fleshed out version of a bibliography with a list of citations to journals, books, articles, and other documents followed by a brief paragraph. The paragraph is a description of the source and how it supports your paper.

3. Cross-Referencing

You can use a cross-reference to help the reader navigate through a long document. At any point in a document, you can tell the reader to refer back to a heading, page number, image, chart, footnote, endnote, and paragraph. A cross-reference link is a neat way to connect related information together. The reader just has to click on the link to go that snippet of information.

Here's how you begin:

1. Select the place for the cross-reference and type the text that tells the reader about it. For instance: "Refer to Chart 3 for future trends."

2. Go to Insert > Cross-reference .

3. In the Reference type box, click the drop-down list to select what you want to link to.

4. The options in the Insert Reference to drop-down will change according to your choice above.

5. In the For Which field, go through the choices and tell Word the exact information to link to.

6. Check the Insert as hyperlink box to create the hyperlink for the referenced information.

7. Click on Insert to include the cross-reference in the document.

Remember, our mention of captions? You can make cross-references to equations, figures, graphs, and tables if you used captions below them.

Word cannot create a cross-reference for something that does not exist. Word will let you know about these errors and also update the cross-references automatically when you change the page number or text of the referenced item.

4. Using Comments

A professional report can be a solitary job or you can take the help of a team to prepare the first draft. The humble Comment is one of the most underused tools of a Word document. It is displayed as a rectangular colored balloon in the margin or in the Reviewing Pane.

You can use comments as small "stickies" or self-notes. Leave little notes to yourself in the margins as you write, edit, and revise your way through a report or a manuscript. Be creative – add extra links to other resources, use them for tips and pointers, link to different parts of a document, or set up a feedback link for your readers. And when you finalize, you can easily remove all comments in Word .

Microsoft Word 2016 is also an enhanced collaborative writing tool. Comments play a huge role in communicating feedback across a team. Here's how the comment system works...

1. Highlight the text you want to add a comment to or click at the end of a text block.

2. Go to Insert > Comment . Type your comment in the box. The comments appear in the markup area on the right. The Print Layout view is usually the best way to see the comments alongside the text.

3. Go to the Review tab and see more options for comments. This tab also shows all the controls for tracking changes and comments in a collaborative document. Use the Markup options to display or hide the comments. For instance: No Markup will hide the comments and the markup area on the right.

Finalize Your Report

Once the bulk of your report is completed and saved, it is time to finalize your report. When I say finalize, I don't mean proofread it. That should be done too. Now, you have to take the security measures to protect the report from unauthorized changes and plagiarism.

These security measures will give an extra level of authenticity to your electronic file before you share it.

This section will cover:

  • Insert watermarks
  • Make the document 'read only'
  • Password protect your document
  • Print your document to PDF

1. Signatures

You can add text signature for a personal touch to the report. But a simple text signature does not need any authentication. A digital signature is the better way to protect your document from unauthorized access. A digital signature confirms that the document came from the signer and hasn't been tampered in any way.

Let's create a signature line in Microsoft Word 2016.

In the document, place your cursor where you want to create a signature line.

1. Go to Insert > Text group > Signature Line and click Microsoft Office Signature Line .

2. The Signature Setup dialog box is displayed. Fill the fields as indicated. If you are sending the document to someone else for signing, add instructions for the signer in the field reserved for it ( Instructions to the signer ). The signer can also add give the purpose for the signing if the Allow the signer to add comments in the Sign dialog box is checked.

3. Click on OK and the document will now display a placeholder for the signature.

Enter a signature:

When you need to sign a document with a digital signature, go to the signature line and right-click on it.

You will be prompted to sign with a digital ID. If you don't have one, Microsoft will tell you to get one from a signature service partner.

If you don't have a digital ID, you can just insert a textual representation of a signature line . You can use a written signature or an image that doesn't require authentication.

2. Insert Watermarks

A Microsoft Word watermark is a "fake" but still useful visual indicator for the status of the document. For instance, you can use a watermark that says "Drafts" to differentiate it from the final version of the document. Or, use the watermark to suggest the document is "Copyrighted" or "Confidential".

The "Draft" mark is the most common. But, Microsoft Word gives you several other watermarks to choose from.

1. Go to Design > Page Background and choose Watermark . The Watermark button will be enabled in the Print view only.

2. You can choose a picture or a text watermark from the gallery. Both horizontal and diagonal versions are available. The dialog box gives you all the customization options for the final look of the watermark. Try different fonts, layouts, sizes, and colors.

3. You can type your own text in the Text field to create your custom watermark.

4. Choose OK to apply the watermark to your document. Word automatically applies the watermark to every page except the title page.

3. Make Documents "Read Only"

A professional report by its nature should not need to be edited by its readers. Converting the document to a PDF is one way. But, you can also apply a few more restrictions in Microsoft Word and prevent accidental modification or omission of any kind.

There are three ways to protect a document.

First -- Make your document "read only".

This ensures that your document can only be read or copied. It won't prevent anyone from copying the file and making changes to the copy.

1. Go to the File tab > Info > Protect Document > Mark as Final.

2. When readers open a document, a bar on top will prompt readers to treat this document as read only. But, they can click on "Edit Anyway" to open the document in Edit mode.

Second -- Password Protect Your Document.

Protect your document from unwanted edits with a password barrier.

1. Under Protect Document , choose Encrypt with Password . Type a password and click OK .

2. In the Confirm Password box, type the password again, and then click OK . The document will open with the reader prompted for a password.

Microsoft uses the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), 128-bit key length, SHA1 (a cryptographic hashing algorithm which generates an almost unique 160-bit key to replace the plaintext), and CBC (cipher block chaining) to give a hacker a well-deserved headache.

Third -- Restrict Editing.

This control feature helps you as the author decide which parts of the document others can edit and which will be locked out. Think of it as the bouncer who lets the VIPs in but otherwise bars the door for the common folk.

1. Go to Review > Restrict Editing .

2. Under Editing restrictions , check Allow only this type of editing in the document , and make sure the list says No changes (Read only) .

No changes (Read only) is the default restriction type. For a different restriction level for the document, click the menu and select from Tracked changes, Comments, or Filling in forms.

3. To free some sections from the editing blockade, select the sections for editing without restrictions. To select more than one area, click CTRL while selecting the area using the mouse.

4. You can check Everyone under Exceptions (optional) in the Restrict Editing panel. Or, click More users … and allow only specific users to modify the sections. The allowable areas will be marked with square brackets.

5. Click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection .

Now, type a unique password in the box that opens. You have to type it again to confirm it.

The password is optional. But it ensures that no one can just click Stop Protection and edit the document. If you are still paranoid, go ahead and encrypt your Microsoft Word document as we did in the second process above.

4. Print Your Report to PDF

The Portable Document Format comes with many advantages. Not least is its cross-platform compatibility across all computers. Your document is ready and now you need to share it or send it across to be printed. Many professional reports -- for instance, a legal document -- need to retain the format as intended.

Save or convert a copy to PDF. Microsoft Word 2016 does not need any third-party add-ins.

Go to File > Export > Create PDF/XPS .

Remember, your Word document may contain sensitive information that you do not want to be included in the PDF. Remove it before you publish to PDF. In the Publish as PDF or XPS window, choose Options . Then select Document and clear Document properties . Set any other options you want and choose OK .

Browse to where you want to save the file and click on Publish .

The Next Step...

You are close to the finishing line. The report is ready to be handed over to your readers. But there's one last job left.

Turn the pages and make sure (again) that your report is reader-friendly. Approach it with the eye of the reader. Have you organized your thoughts and written persuasively? Does the information flow well with the charts and illustrations? Can they skim through and find the information quickly? Is the text readable? Use the readability score to gauge the readability level of your documents as a final step.

You also might have noticed we didn't cover some aspects of Microsoft Word. For instance, Microsoft Word Tables are an important tool for data display. Or, the power of lists in information management.

Microsoft Word is more than a quarter of a century old, and packed with little features. At MakeUseOf, we have covered every nook and cranny of this beast. So, do use our resources to learn more about this software for free. Each new feature of Microsoft Word learned will make your life easier.

Make Your Report Shine

As author Nathaniel Hawthorne said,

Easy reading is damn hard writing

Isn't this true for professional report writing too? After all, if given a choice, no one may want to read it. Writing a business report and using it to communicate are two different things. Microsoft Word is just a tool -- it's your job to engage.

For some alternatives, check out the best online word processors . And for more help with professional writing, take a look at how to apologize in an email and mean it .

What are the best practices for writing professional business reports? Tell us in the comments.

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Frequently asked questions, where can i use microsoft word.

Microsoft Word is available as an app for desktop (Windows and MacOS), mobile devices, and tablets (iOS and Android), and online.

Is there a free version of Microsoft Word?

Yes, Microsoft Word for the web is free for anyone to use online.  Sign up or sign in  using any email address.

Can I collaborate with other people in Microsoft Word?

Yes, Microsoft Word supports real-time collaboration with multiple people.

In what languages is Microsoft Word available?

Microsoft Word is available in many different languages.  Learn more .

What is a word processor?​

A  word processor  is a computer application used for creating, editing, formatting, and storing textual documents.

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Work design magic with Word templates

Weave a little wow into your next document when you work with a customizable design template for word. from professional documents to schoolwork, there's a word template that'll take your next project to the next level., resumes and cover letters.

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How to Create Professional Reports with Microsoft Word

How to Create Professional Reports with Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is one of the most popular word processing tools for creating reports and other documents. Whether you are a student, professional or anyone who does documentation works, proficiency in Microsoft Word is a skill that is necessary for today’s digital age. Microsoft Word software comes with a vast number of features to improve the productivity of your works and to produce accurate outputs. In this post, I will show you how to use some of these features to create professional reports with Microsoft Word.

When you write a Thesis, Dissertation, Project Report, and Technical Report, etc… Microsoft Word helps you to keep your content more organized, clear and structured. Microsoft Word comes with inbuilt options such as Source Manager for managing your citations, Track Changes, Document Outlines, etc… to make it easier to handle your documents and related resources.

If you closely observed any professional report created with Microsoft Word, you can identify there are several common features in every document. Those common features include Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures, different levels of Heading Styles, Sections, Image and Table Captions, Index, Headers & Footers, Page Numbering, etc… Microsoft Word has specific ways of creating and generating those features. If you follow those methods correctly, you can create your report more easily and correctly.

In this series of tutorials, I will show you how to create Microsoft Word reports and make use of the inbuilt features correctly to make your report looks professional.

For better understanding, I have created a separate post for each key options that you will need to create reports and documents with Microsoft Word. I have listed out all the posts below, and it is not necessary to follow the same order. How ever, to use some options there are some prerequisites. I have added links to those prerequisites within the post itself.

First of all, let’s identify the main sections of a report.

Identify the main sections of a report

In a professional report, the appearance or look of the report as well as it’s flow is significant. So, you should first identify the main sections of the report. The sections given below are the most common in a professional report. (in this post I assume that you know the meaning of bellow terms)

  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • List of Acronyms
  • Main Content/ Chapters

Creating these sections manually is not an easy task. However, if you practice the following Microsoft Word features, you can easily create the above sections.

The list of must-know features in Microsoft Word to create Professional Reports

Each feature below described in separate pages. You may click the post image or “read more” link to access these pages.

Insert Section Breaks

Insert section breaks in Microsoft Word

As the name suggests, section breaks used to break the document into separate sections. Sections allow you to handle its contents separately with the contents of other sections. Read More…

Create Numbered Multilevel Heading Styles

Numbered Multilevel Heading Styles in Microsoft Word

Numbered multilevel heading styles let you clearly distinguish the heading levels make the report easy to read & track. Correctly styled headings are used to generate… Read More…

Add Captions

How to add Captions in Microsoft Word

It is a good practice to caption all the tables, images, maps, etc… added to your report. Caption helps you to refer to those objects precisely in your text. Read More…

Add Citations and Bibliography

add Citations and Bibliography in Microsoft Word

Citation is “a word or piece of writing taken from a written work” [Cambridge Dictionary]. If you are obtaining information from another source, you must reference them. Read More…

Add Headers and Footers

Headers and Footers in Microsoft Word

Headers and footers are areas in the top or bottom of each page in a document. You can add title, page numbers, dates, or some graphics to every page in a document using headers and footers. Read More…

Add Page Numbers

How to add Page Numbers in Microsoft Word

Page numbers are generally added in the footer section of the document. Therefore the easiest way to add Page Numbers in Microsoft Word is to select a footer with page numbers when you are adding footers to the document. Read More…

Create a Table of Contents

How to Create a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word

Table of content help readers to easily navigate through your document. In this post, I will show you how easily you can create a table of contents in Microsoft Word. Read More…

Create List of Tables and Figures

How to create list of tables and figures in Microsoft Word

When you add several tables and figures or any other objects in your report, it is a best practice to create a list of tables and figures or lists of other objects in the preface of the report. Read More…

Create an Index

How to Create an Index in Microsoft Word

An Index is a list of terms and topics that are discussed in a document. The terms and topics are listed along with the page numbers that they appear in the document. Read More…

Wrapping Up

The listed above are the essential features required to create professional reports with Microsoft Word. Here I have explained the basics of those features only. Once you get used to them, you can find more design and customization options inside those features. These features not only adding rich & professional looks to your documents, but they also help you to create and manage your report more easily and productively.

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Create a Project report

With Project, you can create and customize striking graphical reports of whatever project data you want, without having to rely on any other software. As you work on the project, the reports change to reflect the latest info — no manual updates required! See a list of all reports and how you can use them.

Click the Report tab.

In the View Reports group, click the type of report you want and then pick a specific report.

For example, to open the Project Overview report, click Report > Dashboards > Project Overview .

Dashboard menu on the Report tab.

The Project Overview report combines graphs and tables to show where each phase of the project stands, upcoming milestones, and tasks that are past their due dates.

Project Overview report

Project provides dozens of reports you can use right away, but you don’t have to let that limit your choices. You can customize the content and the look of any of the reports, or build a new one from scratch.

Work with your report

Change the data in a report, change how a report looks, make your own report, share a report, make a new report available for future projects, more ways to report project info.

You can choose the data that Project shows in any part of a report.

Click the table or chart you want to change.

Use the Field list pane on the right of the screen to pick fields to show and filter information.

word report

In the Project Overview report, you could change the % Complete chart to show critical subtasks instead of top-level summary tasks:

Click anywhere in the % Complete chart.

In the Field List pane, go to the Filter box and pick Critical .

In the Outline Level box, pick Level 2 . For this example, this is the first level of the outline that has subtasks instead of summary tasks.

The chart changes as you make your selections.

Project Overview report with Chart Data pane open

With Project, you control the look of your reports, from no-nonsense black and white to explosions of colors and effects.

Tip:  You can make a report part of a split view so you can see the report change in real time as you work on project data. To learn more, see Split a view .

Click anywhere in the report and then click Report Tools Design to see the options for changing the look of the whole report. From this tab, you can change the font, color, or theme of the whole report. You can also add new images (including photos), shapes, charts, or tables here.

Report Tools Design tab

When you click individual elements (charts, tables, and so on) of a report, new tabs appear at the top of the screen with options for formatting that part.

Table Styles group on the Table Tools Design tab

Drawing Tools Format tab. Format shapes and text boxes .

Picture Tools Format tab. Add effects to pictures .

Table Tools Design and Table Tools Layout tabs. Configure and tweak tables, like you would in other Office programs .

Chart Tools Design and Chart Tools Format tabs. Configure and tweak charts.

Say you decide that the % Complete chart in the Project Overview report needs a facelift.

% Complete Chart on the Project Overview report

Click anywhere in the % Complete chart, and then click Chart Tools Design .

Pick a new style from the Chart Styles group. This style removes the lines and adds shadows to the columns.

Chart Styles group on the Chart Tools Design tab

Give the chart some depth. Click Chart Tools Design > Change Chart Type .

Change Chart Type button

Click Column > 3-D Stacked Column .

Change Chart Type dialog box

Add a background color. Click Chart Tools Format > Shape Fill , and pick a new color.

Shape Fill color options menu

Change the bar colors. Click the bars to select them, then click Chart Tools Format > Shape Fill , and pick a new color.

Move the numbers off the bars. Click the numbers to select them, and then drag them upward.

Just a few clicks make a big difference. And we only scratched the surface of the formatting options.

Formatted % Complete chart on the Project Overview report

Click Report > New Report .

Pick one of the four options, and then click Select .

Give your report a name and start adding information to it.

New Report menu on the Report tab

Blank     Creates a blank canvas. Use the Report Tools Design tab to add charts, tables, text, and images.

Chart     Project creates a chart comparing Actual Work, Remaining Work, and Work by default. Use the Field List pane to pick different fields to compare, and use the controls to change the color and format of the chart.

Table     Use the Field List pane to choose what fields to display in the table (Name, Start, Finish, and % Complete appear by default). The Outline level box lets you select how many levels in the project outline the table should show. You can change the look of the table on the Table Tools Design and Table Tools Layout tabs.

Comparison     Sets two charts side-by-side. The charts have the same data at first. Click one chart and pick the data you want in the Field List pane to begin differentiating them.

Any of the charts you create from scratch are fully customizable. You can add and delete elements and change the data to meet your needs.

Click anywhere in the report.

Click Report Tools Design > Copy Report .

Copy Report button on the Report Tools Design tab

Paste the report into any program that displays graphics.

Tip:  You might need to resize and line up the report when you paste it into its new home.

You can also print the report to share it the old-fashioned way.

Use the Organizer to copy a new report into the global template for use in future projects.

See a list of all reports and how you can use them.

Compare actual work against your estimates with burndown reports .

Create a timeline of key tasks and milestones.

Set the status date for project reporting.

Visual reports allow you to view Project information graphically using enhanced PivotTables in Excel 2010. Once Project information has been exported to Excel, you can customize the reports further with Excel 2010 enhanced PivotTable features, such as filter slicers, searching within PivotTables, sparklines within PivotTables to show trends instantly, and OLAP write-back improvements.

Available visual reports

The report templates in Project 2010 are divided into six categories in the Visual Reports - Create Report dialog box, which you can access by clicking Visual Reports in the Reports group of the Project tab. The following sections provide descriptions of the visual reports in each category.

You can also create your own custom reports. Custom reports will appear in the category for the type of data used.

Task Usage category

The following table describes the visual reports in the Task Usage category. These reports are based on timephased task data.

Note:  Timephased assignment data is available in reports in the Assignment Usage category.

Resource Usage category

The following table describes the visual reports in the Resource Usage category. These reports are based on the timephased resource data.

Assignment Usage category

The following table describes the visual reports in the Assignment Usage category. These reports are based on the timephased data, similar to the data found in the Task Usage and Resource Usage views.

Task, Resource, and Assignment Summary categories

The following table describes the visual reports in the Task Summary, Resource Summary, and Assignment Summary categories. Summary reports do not include timephased data.

Create a visual report by using a template

Reports group graphic

In the Visual Reports dialog box, on the All tab, click the report that you want to create.

If the report that you want to create is not listed, select the Include report templates from check box, and then click Modify to browse to the location that contains your report.

Tip:  If you know which category contains the report, you can click that category's tab to view a shorter list of reports. If you only want to list reports that open in either Excel or Visio, select or clear the Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Visio check box.

To change the level of usage data included in the report, select Years , Quarters , Months , Weeks , or Days from the Select level of usage data to include in the report list.

Note:  By default, Project sets the level of usage data to what it recommends for your project's size. For most projects, this will be weeks. If you choose to include data at a more detailed level, report performance may be decreased. For best performance, if you are viewing multiple reports for the same project at one time, refrain from changing the data level. If you change the data level, the temporary reporting database stored locally must be recreated. If you don't need to include usage data in your reports, set the data level to Years for best performance.

Click View to generate the report and open it in Excel or Visio.

Edit an existing visual report template

In the Visual Reports dialog box, on the All tab, click the report that you want to edit.

Tip:  If you know which category contains the report, you can click that category's tab to view a shorter list of reports. If you only want to list reports that open in either Excel or Visio, select or clear the Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Visio check boxes.

Click Edit Template .

On the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, click the fields that you want to add or remove from the report, and then click Add , Remove , or Remove All to move fields between the Available Fields and Selected Fields boxes, or between the Available Custom Fields and Selected Custom Fields boxes.

Fields in the Selected Fields and Selected Custom Fields boxes are included in the report.

Click Edit Template to create the report with the modified list of fields.

On the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, some fields are identified as dimensions. It is important to select fewer than six dimensions for your report. If you select more than six dimensions, report performance is significantly decreased.

Not all fields are available in all reports. Some fields are only available in Visio reports, but not in Excel reports.

If you are unable to locate the field you want to include on the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, it may be stored in a different category of data. For example, many fields that you might think of as Task Summary fields are actually Assignment Summary fields.

Create a new visual report template

In the Visual Reports dialog box, click New Template .

In the Select Application section, click Excel to create an Excel template, or click Visio (Metric) to create a Visio template.

In the Select Data Type section, select the type of data that you want to use in the report.

To include timephased data, select Task Usage , Resource Usage , or Assignment Usage from the list in the Select Data Type section.

Click Field Picker .

On the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, hold CTRL and click the default Project fields that you want to add to the report in the Available Fields box.

Click Add to move them to the Selected Fields box.

Hold CTRL and click the custom fields that you want to add to the report in the Available Custom Fields box.

Click Add to move them to the Selected Custom Fields box.

If you have the English version of Office Project 2007 installed, you have the option to create a Visio template that uses U.S. units.

To remove a field from the report, on the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, click the field in the Selected Fields or Selected Custom Fields box, and then click Remove . To remove all default or custom fields from the report, click Remove All in the Select Fields or Select Custom Fields section.

Not all fields are available in all reports. Some fields are only available in Visio reports, and not in Excel reports.

When you have finished creating your visual report, you can choose to save it to the default template location (c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates) or to another location on your computer or your network. Templates saved in the default template location automatically appear on the Visual Reports - Create Report dialog box.

If you begin using a different language pack after saving a custom visual report template, the template remains available but is not populated. The original field names are not recognized in the new language and are not included in the report.

Export report data

You can select specific data to export within a category (OLAP cube), or you can export all project data as a reporting database.

Export data as an OLAP cube

In the Visual Reports dialog box, click Save Data .

In the Save Reporting Cube section, select the category that contains the type of data that you want to save.

Click Field Picker to modify the fields included in the list of data to export.

On the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, click the fields that you want to add or remove from the list of data to export, and then click Add , Remove , or Remove All to move fields between the Available Fields and Selected Fields boxes, or between the Available Custom Fields and Selected Custom Fields boxes.

Fields in the Selected Fields and Selected Custom Fields boxes are included in the exported data.

Click OK on the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, and then click Save Cube .

Browse to the location where you want to save the cube data, and then click Save .

Cube data is saved as a .cub file.

When accessing cube data with Visio, the .cub file cannot be stored on a network share.

Export data as a reporting database

Click Save Database .

Browse to the location where you want to save the database, and then click Save .

The data is saved as a Microsoft Office Access database (.mdb) file.

Project for the web offers two main options for reporting: Excel and Power BI Desktop. Excel reporting comes with Microsoft 365, while Power BI Desktop is licensed separately.

When managing a project in Project for the web, export your project to Excel allows you to:

Create reports and visuals

Send a file containing project details to external stakeholders

Archive copies of your project data for audit and compliance

Print copies of your project

Here's how to export your project:

Go to and open the project you want to export to Excel.

In the top right corner, select the three dots ( ... ), then select Export to Excel .

Screenshot of the menu in Project for the web showing the Export to Excel option

When you see the message " All done! We've exported [your project name]. " at the bottom of the screen, you can look for your new Excel file where you store your downloads.

When you open the Excel file containing your project, you'll see a worksheet named "Project tasks" that contains a summary of project-wide information at the top, including its name, project manager, and the start and finish dates, duration, and percent complete for the whole project. You'll also see what date it was exported. Under that, you'll see a table of all the information for your project.

More about Excel Report options

Import and analyze data

Create a PivotTable to analyze worksheet data

Ideas in Excel

Power BI Desktop

To get started,  connect to Project for the web data through Power BI Desktop , then open the Project Power BI template  and explore the reports it includes. 

Important:  You'll need a Power BI subscription (and a Project subscription in many cases) to use this reporting tool. See the following section for details.

To use Power BI reports on Project for the web data, you need to be a licensed user of Power BI Desktop or Power BI Pro. See Power BI Pricing for more information.

To build or customize Power BI reports on Project for the web data, you'll also need Project Plan 3 (formerly Project Online Professional) or Project Plan 5 (formerly Project Online Premium).


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10+ Report Templates in Word

There are certain situations wherein one must be able to gather information on particular subjects. This can be anything from an event that took place to even an incident that people have managed to witness. You can also like report templates .

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Table of Content

Report template bundle, elements of a report, how to make a report in word, types of reports.

report template bundle

  • Google Docs

Incident Report Template

incident report template

Project Management Report

project management report

Project Progress Report

project progress report

Annual Business Report

annual business report

  • Business Trip Report

business trip report

  • Employee Incident Report

employee incident report

  • Market Research Report

market research report

  • Annual Sales Report

annual sales report

Company Report Template

company report example

Church Report Template

church report template

  • Open up Microsoft Word.
  • Click on the “File” tab and select “New”.
  • Choose if you want to start from a blank document or if you would like to make use of a template.
  • If you chose to go with a template, then go through the list of available ones that you can use or download a template that you can open with Microsoft Word.
  • Define the purpose of the report: The only way to make sure that you know what you should put inside of the report is to know what its purpose should be. Not only will it help you do that, but it will also aid you in coming up with an appropriate title.
  • Know who you should give it to: You may be required to provide the name of the person to whom you are making the report for. Make sure to get all of the information such as that person’s name and job title so that you can place it properly into the report.
  • Provide all of the necessary information: Again, this will depend entirely on the type of report that you are making. So let’s say that you’re making a report about an accident that occurred. This means that not only will you have to point out what kind of accident it was, but you also need to share other details such as where it happened, when it happened, who was involved, etc.

Tips for Making a Report

  • Always check the information you’ve put into it : You do not want to hand over a report that is full of inconsistencies and inaccurate information. So what you are going to have to do is to check all of your sources to confirm that all of the information that you have managed to gather is accurate. Also, doing this can also help guarantee that you are able to acquire all of the details that the report is going to need.
  • Always proofread and edit your report: Before you finalize your report and hand it over to the people that need it, it’s best that you make sure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors. The best way to avoid them is by going through the report thoroughly so that you can proofread and edit anything that you need to. Best that you go through the report at least twice so that you don’t miss out on anything that you will need to correct.
  • Management Report
  • Assessment Report
  • Company Report

Report FAQs

Is word the best way to make a report, how can i easily make one, more in report templates.


Report Template


Project Status Report Template


Daily Progress Report Card Template


Weekly Status Report Template


Analytics Report Template


Expense Report Form Template


Home Equity Report


Service Report Template


Report Form Template


Report Worksheet Template

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Report Templates – 12+ Free Report Samples in MS Word

Download my collection of Free Report Templates to assist you in prepare your own formal report quickly. All my templates are in MS Word Format and contains standard table of index to guide you. Anyone can just start typing after downloading these templates to come up with a unique and professional looking report.

Free Report Templates

Here are previews and download link for these Free Report Templates in MS Word Format.

Event Report Template

Event Report Template

Experiment Report Template

Experiment Report Template

Customer Service Report Template

Customer Service Report Template

Damage Report Template

Damage Report Template

Project Status Report Template

Project Status Report Template

Project Progress Report Template

Project Progress Report Template

Fire Investigation Report Template

Fire Investigation Report Template

Interview Report Template

Interview Report Template

School Grading Report Template

School Grading Report Template

Company Analysis Report Template

Company Analysis Report Template

Annual Financial Report Template

Annual Financial Report Template

IT Incident Report Template

IT Incident Report Template

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Creating a Word Report Layout for a Report

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After you design a dataset for a report, you can create a Word report layout that can be used when you view and print a report from the Dynamics NAV client. This topic describes how to create blank a Word report layout on a report from the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Development Environment. After you create the layout, you can modify the layout to include dataset fields and define the general format.

To create a Word report layout for a report

In the development environment, open the report in Report Dataset Designer as follows.

On the Tools menu, choose Object Designer .

In Object Designer, choose Report , select the report, and then choose the Design button.

On the Tools menu, choose Word Layout , and then choose New , and then choose the OK button.

If the New item is inactive, then the report already has a Word report layout.

Save the report object.

A blank Word report layout is created on the report object. The report layout includes a custom XML part for the current report dataset. You can now design the layout in Word. For more information, see How to: Modify a Word Report Layout .

Designing Word Report Layouts

Additional resources

16+ Professional Free Report Cover Page Templates for MS Word


What should it look like?

Download free formats & designs, beautiful format for an analytical report.

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Best for Formal & Informal Reports

Formal & Informal Reports Cover Page Template in MS Word

For Functional Report

Cover Page Template for Functional Report in MS Word

For Internal & External Reports

Cover Page Sample for Internal & External Reports - MS Word

For Social Media Report

Cover Page Template for Social Media Report in MS Word

Format for Informational Report

Informational Report Cover Page Template for MS Word

What is the importance of a good cover page?

Best cover pages for business reports.


Cover Page for Annual Report


Cover Page for Financial Report


Cover Page for Internship Report


Cover Page for Project Reports


Important Considerations for Designing Report Cover Pages:

Benefits of well-designed report cover pages:.

  • Convenience in integrating necessary details at the end of the writing process.
  • Reflecting the effort and dedication put into the report.
  • Impressing readers and earning their respect.
  • Establishing a strong base for readers to delve into the content.
  • Encouraging positive engagement and fruitful outcomes.

Enhancing Your Report with a Well-Designed Cover Page: Tips and Tricks

  • Font Selection: Choose a font that is professional, legible, and aligns with the tone and purpose. Opt for fonts that are easy to read both in print and digital formats.
  • Color Schemes: Select a color scheme that complements the report’s content and reflects the branding or visual identity of the organization. Use colors strategically to evoke the desired emotions and enhance visual appeal.
  • Layout: Design a clean and well-organized layout that balances text and visual elements. Ensure that important information, such as the title and author’s name, is prominently displayed.
  • Overall Design Principles: Embrace simplicity and consistency in design. Maintain a cohesive visual style throughout the cover page by using consistent fonts, colors, and alignment. Avoid overcrowding the page with excessive elements.
  • Visual Elements: Incorporate relevant visual elements, such as icons, graphics, or images, that enhance the understanding of the subject matter. Ensure that visuals are high-quality, relevant, and effectively support the overall message.
  • Branding Elements: If applicable, include branding elements like the company logo or tagline to reinforce brand recognition and establish a sense of professionalism.
  • Test and Iterate: Test the cover page design for readability, visual appeal, and overall impact. Seek feedback from colleagues or peers and be open to making improvements based on their suggestions.

Incorporating Branding Elements in Report Cover Pages: Why It Matters

  • Reinforces brand identity and recognition
  • Establishes professionalism and credibility
  • Enhances brand recall and differentiation
  • Creates a cohesive visual experience across marketing materials
  • Builds trust and establishes a consistent brand image

Evoking Emotion: The Role of Relevant Imagery in Report Covers

Writing effective titles for report cover pages: key strategies.

  • Be Concise and Descriptive: Keep your title succinct while conveying the essence of the report. Use clear and specific language to give readers a glimpse of what to expect.
  • Highlight Key Findings or Insights: Incorporate the most significant findings or insights from your report into the title. This instantly grabs attention and indicates the value of the content.
  • Use Action Words or Power Verbs: Opt for action-oriented language that creates a sense of urgency or intrigue. Strong verbs help convey the purpose or impact of the report.
  • Consider the Target Audience: Tailor your title to resonate with your intended readership. Use language and terminology that they can relate to and understand easily.
  • Experiment with Formatting: Explore different formatting options, such as using catchy subheadings, incorporating keywords, or adding visual elements to make your title visually appealing.

Considerations for Different Types of Reports

  • Include the company logo and relevant branding elements.
  • Use a professional color scheme that aligns with the company’s branding.
  • Clearly state the purpose, such as financial analysis or market research.
  • Follow the formatting guidelines specified by the educational institution.
  • Include the title of the paper, the author’s name, and institutional affiliation.
  • Use a clear and legible font, such as Times New Roman or Arial.
  • Highlight the research topic and objective on the cover page.
  • Include the names of the researchers and their affiliations.
  • Use appropriate graphics or visuals to represent the research subject.
  • Emphasize the project title and a concise summary of the proposal.
  • Include the names of the project team members and their roles.
  • Incorporate relevant project imagery or icons to enhance visual appeal.
  • Reflect the brand identity through color schemes and typography.
  • Include key marketing metrics and findings on the cover page.
  • Incorporate eye-catching visuals or infographics to illustrate data.

Best Practices for Printing and Presentation

  • Choose the right paper size: Use standard sizes like letter (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 for compatibility.
  • Set appropriate margins: Ensure important content isn’t cut off and maintain a balanced layout.
  • Check the print quality: Use high-resolution settings for sharp images and text.
  • Consider paper weight: Opt for slightly thicker paper to convey a sense of quality.
  • Proofread before printing: Double-check for any typos, formatting errors, or inconsistencies.
  • Optimize for readability: Use clear fonts, appropriate font sizes, and sufficient spacing.
  • Ensure accessibility: Make sure the cover page is accessible to all users, including those with visual impairments.
  • Use PDF format: PDF files are widely compatible and maintain the intended formatting.
  • Include hyperlinks: If applicable, add clickable links to related resources or supplementary materials.
  • Test on multiple devices: Verify that the digital version looks good on different screens and resolutions.

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Word & Excel Templates

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Report Cover Page Template for MS Word

Report Cover Pages

Documentation of a file is a significant part of the business. A cover page of any document is an essential page that displays the title of the page. The report cover page includes the information which depends on the report for which it has been prepared.

The format of the cover page:

There is no rule or strict format to follow while preparing a report cover page. This provides you an opportunity to use your creativity to choose different designs to make an attractive cover page.

Key elements of the report cover page:

The main details include in the report cover page are:

  • The name of the author
  • The file names
  • The version of the document

Report cover page templates:

Those people who are not familiar with the format of the cover page can use the template. Apart from this, drafting a cover sheet for your report from scratch can be time-consuming. For this purpose, readymade templates are always there to facilitate the user.

A cover page is required to be attractive so that it can grab the attention of the onlooker. For this purpose, you can use different styles and themes. There are some templates with beautiful designs and textures that can be used by downloading free of cost.

Elegant and professional-looking templates are the best source of the nice report cover page. They not only provide you with customization features but also enable you to use these templates with ease and comfort. No matter you want to download a cover page template for personal use or your business, there is always a unique style for you to use.

You can get a template with bright colors and abstract design and also one with decent and soft colors with personalized themes. If you have the design in your mind, adding it to the readymade template is very handy. Most of the available templates have been prepared in MS Word format. These templates are easy to edit and serve as the best tool for documentation.

Business Report Cover Page Template

File Size: 3MB

Business Report Cover Page Template

Longhorns Country on FanNation

Longhorns Country on FanNation

Texas Injury Report vs. Incarnate Word: Who’s In, Who’s Out?

Posted: November 6, 2023 | Last updated: November 6, 2023

AUSTIN, Texas — The No. 18 Texas Longhorns host the Incarnate Word Cardinals on Monday night at the Moody Center to tip-off the 2023-24 season.

The Longhorns have dealt with injury issues ahead of the season, but now have a clearer look at where things stand as the first few games of non-conference play begin. 

Per college basketball insider Jon Rothstein, Texas big man Kadin Shedrick is officially active for Monday’s opener after dealing with injuries to both of his shoulders during the offseason that required surgery. The transfer from Virginia didn’t play in the Orange-White scrimmage or in the exhibition against St. Edwards, but was fully cleared to return this past Tuesday. 

While Shedrick is returning, the Longhorns will be without guard Chris Johnson (ankle) and forward Dylan Disu (foot). Johnson injured his ankle in the first half of the exhibition against St. Edwards on Oct. 30 while Disu has been battling the foot injury all offseason. Disu is out indefinitely, per insider Jeff Goodman.

"I got fully cleared to start going up and down yesterday (Tuesday)," Shedrick said Wednesday. "So the goal is to be out there Monday. We'll see how this week goes. ... I'm feeling good."

Texas coach Rodney Terry provided an update on Johnson when speaking to the media Wednesday.

"You know what, you never know," Terry said when asked if Johnson will play Monday. "We've got a great training staff that does a great job when our guys get banged up ... But we won't put him back out there until he's fully ready to go. He turned his ankle the other night, and young players, sometimes it may take them a little bit longer to get back out there, but they're doing a great job with the rehab right now with him."

Texas and UIW tip-off at 7 p.m. CT. 

Chrisb <a>© Mikala Compton&comma; Austin American-Statesman</a>

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Tai chi helps boost memory, study finds. one type seems most beneficial.

Allison Aubrey - 2015 square

Allison Aubrey

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People who practice cognitively enhanced tai chi significantly improved their scores on memory tests. PYMCA/Avalon via Getty Images hide caption

People who practice cognitively enhanced tai chi significantly improved their scores on memory tests.

Your keys aren't in the spot you thought you left them? Can't recall the title of a book? I've had those moments.

Amid our busy lives, distraction or fatigue may explain our forgetfulness. But instances of "brain freeze" make me realize I want to do everything in my power to keep my brain sharp.

There's plenty of evidence that exercise can help protect our bodies and brains. And as we age, daily movement doesn't need to be super intense. In fact, a new study finds tai chi , a slow-moving form of martial arts, can help slow cognitive decline and protect against dementia.

The study included about 300 older adults, in their mid-70s on average, who had all reported that their memory was not as good as it used to be.

As part of the study, all the participants took a 10-minute test , called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, to gauge cognitive function. A normal score is 26-30. A person who scores between 18 and 25 is considered to have mild impairment, which means they don't have dementia but they're not as sharp as they used to be and may need to work harder to maintain everyday activities. The average score of participants at the start of the study was 25.

word report

A tai chi class held at the North Potomac Community Rec Center in Potomac, Md. Tai chi has been shown to improve balance, prevent falls and help slow down cognitive decline. Allison Aubrey/NPR hide caption

A tai chi class held at the North Potomac Community Rec Center in Potomac, Md. Tai chi has been shown to improve balance, prevent falls and help slow down cognitive decline.

The study found that people who practiced a simplified form of tai chi called Tai Ji Quan twice a week for about six months improved their score by 1.5 points. This increase may not sound like a lot, but study author Dr. Elizabeth Eckstrom says "you've basically given yourself three extra years" of staving off decline. The study is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

A person with mild cognitive decline can expect to lose, on average, about a half point each year on the test, and once their score drops under 18, people experience quite a bit of impairment from memory loss and cognitive decline, Eckstrom explains.

So, based on these results, "if you're able to keep doing [tai chi] two or three days a week on a routine basis, you're going to get extra years before you hit that decline into dementia," she says.

Eckstrom and her collaborators also tested a more rigorous type of tai chi, called Cognitively Enhanced Tai Ji Quan , where they layered on extra challenges. For example, participants were asked to spell a word, backward and forward, as they moved through a series of tai chi moves.

"You're really forcing your brain to think hard while you're also doing the fluid mind-body movements," Eckstrom explains.

The people who practice this type of cognitively enhanced tai chi improved their scores by about 3 points. "We've just given you six extra years of cognitive function," she says. "That's a lot."

Her theory on why tai chi is effective is that it combines the memorization of the movements, known as forms, almost like a dance choreography. "So, you're getting the physical activity, plus the memory piece," she says.

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Dr. Joseph Quinn , a neurologist at Oregon Health & Science University, who was not involved in the study, says the results fit with a body of evidence, including a meta-analysis , showing the benefits of tai chi. "This has fascinated me," Quinn says, because the results are impressive, but "honestly, I don't understand why it works so well."

The benefits of cardiovascular workouts, which help protect the heart and the brain, are better understood, he says. But tai chi isn't much of an aerobic workout, so he says perhaps the meditative component has a stress reduction effect that helps explain the other benefits.

"It becomes a meditative practice," says Mary Beth Van Cleave, 86, who lives in a retirement community with her wife and their cat in the Portland, Ore., area. She started tai chi at age 75 and says her practice helps her feel grounded and enables her to let go of stress. "It's become an important part of my life," Van Cleave says.

In terms of a cognitive boost, she thinks tai chi helps with concentration. "I'm more conscious of trying to do one thing at a time," she says.

One limitation of the study is that most of the participants were non-Hispanic white and about two-thirds had college degrees. It's hard to know whether the benefits would hold up for the broader population. A study published last year found there's a disproportionate burden of cognitive impairment and dementia among Black and Hispanic populations in the U.S., and among people with less education. Researchers say they'd like to see efforts to make tai chi more accessible given the benefits, and given that by age 65, about 1 in 5 people has mild cognitive impairment.

If you've never done tai chi, which is a martial art that incorporates a series of movements, known as forms, with a focus on controlled breathing, too, it may look like nothing much is happening. But that's a misconception, Van Cleave says. "We are working very hard, " she explains. And, she says, the physical benefits are pronounced.

"There are so many times I've avoided a fall," she says. "That's because of the balance that tai chi gives me."

Many studies have shown that practicing tai chi can help prevent falls and improve balance in older adults, and the benefit is greatest for people who keep up a regular practice over time.

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Six Flags, Cedar Fair Near Merger Deal

Agreement between two of the largest regional theme-park chains in the u.s. could be unveiled this week.

Updated Nov. 1, 2023 2:59 pm ET

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Six Flags is nearing a deal to merge with Cedar Fair Entertainment , a move that would combine two of the largest regional theme-park chains in the U.S.

An agreement could be finalized as soon as this week assuming there is no last-minute snag, according to people familiar with the matter. Cedar Fair is scheduled to report quarterly results on Thursday morning.

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    Home Productivity How to Create Professional Reports and Documents in Microsoft Word By Saikat Basu Published Dec 11, 2019 This guide examines the elements of a professional report and reviews the structuring, styling, and finalizing of your document in Microsoft Word. Readers like you help support MUO.

  5. 137+ Professional Report Templates for MS Word & Excel

    The word report comes from the Latin word " reportare " which refers to the meaning of "carrying back". Reports are special pieces of documents that are designed keeping a specific meaning in mind and are sharp, precise, and accurate in their meaning and purpose.

  6. How to Write a Report: A Guide

    Matt Ellis Updated on May 10, 2023 Students A report is a nonfiction account that presents and/or summarizes the facts about a particular event, topic, or issue. The idea is that people who are unfamiliar with the subject can find everything they need to know from a good report.

  7. Free Online Document Editing with Microsoft Word

    Copilot in Word will write, edit, summarize, give suggestions, and create right alongside you. Copilot will bring in information from across your organization to create first drafts, add content to existing documents, summarize text, and rewrite sections—or even entire documents—to make them more concise.

  8. Create a template

    Double-click Computer or, in Office 2016 programs, double-click This PC. Type a name for your template in the File name box. For a basic template, click the template item in the Save as type list. In Word for example, click Word Template. If your document contains macros, click Word Macro-Enabled Template.

  9. Word design templates

    1. Find your perfect Word template Search documents by type or topic, or take a look around by browsing the catalog. Select the template that fits you best, whether it's a resume, cover letter, card, brochure, letter, certificate, or something else. 2. Customize your creation Use Microsoft Word to make your design unique.

  10. Download free, pre-built templates

    You can download free, pre-built document templates with useful and creative themes from Office when you click File > New in your Office app. Templates can include calendars, business cards, letters, cards, brochures, newsletters, resumes, cover letters , presentations, social media and much more.

  11. Create a simple report

    In the Navigation Pane, click the table or query on which you want to base the report. On the Create tab, in the Reports group, click Report. Access builds the report and displays it in Layout view. For more about viewing and printing your report, see the section View, print, or send your report as an e-mail message.

  12. How to Create Professional Reports with Microsoft Word

    December 20, 2022 by Admin Microsoft Word is one of the most popular word processing tools for creating reports and other documents. Whether you are a student, professional or anyone who does documentation works, proficiency in Microsoft Word is a skill that is necessary for today's digital age.

  13. Create a Project report

    Click the Report tab. In the View Reports group, click the type of report you want and then pick a specific report. For example, to open the Project Overview report, click Report > Dashboards > Project Overview. The Project Overview report combines graphs and tables to show where each phase of the project stands, upcoming milestones, and tasks ...

  14. 10+ Report Templates in Word

    31+ Expense Report Templates - PDF, Word: Weekly Status Report Templates - 30+ Free Word Documents Download- MS Word, Apple Pages: Annual Report Template - 57+ Free Word, Excel, PDF, PPT, PSD: Own Executive Report Template: 23+ Business Report Templates- PDF, Word, Pages: Management Report Template - 35+ Word, PDF, Apple Pages, Google Docs

  15. How To Write a Report for Work (With Examples)

    How To Write a Report for Work (With Examples) Jennifer Herrity Updated July 21, 2023 Business reports are often a common part of many peoples' work responsibilities. There are several types of work reports that you may be required to write, including daily work reports, sales reports and analyses.

  16. How to Add Fields to a Word Report Layout

    A report dataset can consist of fields that display labels, data, and images. This topic describes the procedure for adding fields of a report dataset to an existing Word report layout for a report. You add fields by using the Word custom XML part for the report and adding content controls that map to the fields of the report dataset.

  17. Report Templates

    All my templates are in MS Word Format and contains standard table of index to guide you. Anyone can just start typing after downloading these templates to come up with a unique and professional looking report. Free Report Templates. Here are previews and download link for these Free Report Templates in MS Word Format.

  18. Free Online Report Maker: Design a Custom Report

    Download and print Download and save your report as a print-ready PDF or share online in a few easy clicks. Open a new Report design

  19. Create Word Report Layout

    Save the report object. A blank Word report layout is created on the report object. The report layout includes a custom XML part for the current report dataset. You can now design the layout in Word. For more information, see How to: Modify a Word Report Layout. See Also. Designing Word Report Layouts

  20. Free, printable, customizable report templates

    2,110 templates. Create a blank Report. Modern Annual Report. Report by Leftheria. Blue And Grey Modern Professional Annual Report. Report by Guioco Graph. Annual Marketing Report in Sky Blue White Clean Style. Report by Canva Creative Studio. Blue Yellow Modern Cover Annual Report.

  21. 16+ Professional Free Report Cover Page Templates for MS Word

    Each template is optimized for printing on standard US Letter size paper, ensuring hassle-free printing and distribution. Download now and unlock the potential to create stunning cover pages that leave a lasting impression. Impress your audience and set the tone for your content with our premium cover page templates. #01.

  22. Free report cover page templates to edit and print

    760 templates. Create a blank Report Cover Page. Pink and Blue Handwritten Project Proposal Cover A4 Document. Document by Noisy Frame. White And Navy Modern Business Proposal Cover Page. Document by Carleigh Emelie. Modern Marketing Cover Page Document. Document by Lectrathink.

  23. 20 Report Cover Page Templates for MS Word

    20-. File Size: 3MB. Download. Satisfactory Health Condition Certificate. Membership Roster Template. Elegant and professional-looking templates are the best source of the nice report cover page. They not only provide you with customization features but also.

  24. Texas Injury Report vs. Incarnate Word: Who's In, Who's Out?

    Nov 14 Coyotes vs Blue Demons. AUSTIN, Texas — The No. 18 Texas Longhorns host the Incarnate Word Cardinals on Monday night at the Moody Center to tip-off the 2023-24 season. The Longhorns have ...

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    Research shows that a daily dose of tai chi, the slow-moving meditative, martial art can boost our body and brain. A new study finds adding word games to tai chi doubles the increase in memory.

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    Photo: Tyler Dane Hansen for The Wall Street Journal. Six Flags is nearing a deal to merge with Cedar Fair Entertainment, a move that would combine two of the largest regional theme-park chains in ...

  27. WWE Crown Jewel 2023 Results: Winners, Live Grades ...

    Welcome to Bleacher Report's live coverage and recap of WWE Crown Jewel on November 4 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. When the show went live in the stadium, Zayn came out to a huge ovation. This was the ...