How to create a document

Updated: 05/21/2018 by Computer Hope

To create a document, you must either have a word processor or a computer capable of creating a document on an online service.

Note

When we refer to a "document," we're talking about a rich text document with text formatting (e.g., bold), images, different fonts, and font sizes, and not a plain text file. See our how to create a text file page for steps on making a text-only file.

The most common and widely used word processor program is Microsoft Word. However, because of all of the different needs of users today, we've included additional options that are available for creating a document.

Create a document with Google Docs

Google Docs

Google Docs is one of our favorite solutions for most users, especially those who are new computers. The reasons we like it are because it's free, easy to access, supports collaborative editing, can open other document files, and may be accessed from many devices. To create a document in Google Docs, follow the steps below.

Create a blank document

  1. Open Google Drive. If prompted, log into your Google account.
  2. In the upper-left corner of the window, click the The New button in Google Drive. button.
  3. In the drop-down menu that appears, move your mouse cursor over the arrow next to Google Docs.

A list of Google Drive programs.

  1. Choose Blank document from the box that appears.

Create a blank document in Google Drive.

Create a document using a template

  1. Complete steps 1-3 in the previous section.
  2. Choose From a template instead of Blank document.

Create a document in Google Drive using a template.

  1. Select a template from the window that appears.
Tip

Your newly-created document may be accessed in the My Drive section (first tab in the left menu).

The My Drive selector in Google Drive.

Word

Creating a Document with Microsoft Word

To use Microsoft Word to open a document, follow the steps below.

Open Word in Windows

  1. Open Microsoft Word. If you're not sure how to open or find Word, skip to the finding Microsoft Word section.
  2. In newer versions of Word, the first screen will ask what type of Word document you want to create. Select the "Blank document" option to create a document from scratch. You can also select from one of the Word templates provided if you would like to create a specific type of document.
  3. Once the blank document or template is open, any new information can be entered using a keyboard or on-screen keyboard.
  4. Once complete or while working on the document, you can Save through the File tab at the top of the Word program window.

How to find Microsoft Word in Windows

  1. In Windows, click Start.
  2. In the search box, type word. If Word is installed, it shows in the search results. For example, you may see Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft Word 2013, or Microsoft Word 365.
Tip

In Windows 10, the search box is on the Taskbar next to Start. In Windows 8, start typing word on the Start page and the search results show on the right side of the screen.

Note

Word and WordPad are two different programs. See the creating a document with Microsoft WordPad section below for further information on this program.

How to install Microsoft Word

If Word is not found, it needs to be installed before it can be run, or one of the other free alternatives can be used. Today, the latest version of Word is included in Office 365 and requires a subscription. You can download Office 365, which includes Excel, Word, and other Office applications, from http://www.office.com/.

Tip

If you've purchased Office or Word in the past, older versions of Office can also be installed on newer computers, even those running Windows 8 or Windows 10. You must have the installation discs to install Office or Word again.

How to open a new document if a Microsoft Word document is already open

Press the shortcut keys Ctrl+N simultaneously to open a new document.

- OR -

  1. Click on the File menu or the File tab at the top of the program window.
  2. Select the New option.
  3. A prompt should open that presents you with several options. Select the Blank document option.

Creating a document with Microsoft WordPad

Microsoft WordPad is a free rich-text editor included with Microsoft Windows for viewing and editing rich-text files (.RTF, .DOCX, and .ODT) files. WordPad can perform basic text formatting like changing the font, alignment, and even inserting multimedia. However, keep in mind that it does not support all formatting options in .DOCX and .ODT files, so some formatting may be incorrect. To open WordPad, follow the steps below.

  1. In Windows, click Start.
  2. In the search box, type wordpad and select the WordPad application in the search results. Once open, you should see a blank window similar to the example below.
Tip

In Windows 10, the search box is on the Taskbar next to Start. In Windows 8, start typing wordpad on the Start page and the search results show on the right side of the screen.

WordPad

  1. Type and create the document how you want it to appear.
  2. After changes have been made to your document, you can save the file in the File section.

If WordPad is already open and you want to create a new document

Press the shortcut keys Ctrl+N simultaneously to open a new document.

- OR -

In the menu bar, click File and select New. If the File tab or menu is not available, click on the blue Menu tab WordPad menu button in the top-left corner of the window and select New from the drop-down menu that appears.

Creating a document with LibreOffice and OpenOffice

LibreOffice and OpenOffice Writer are other great free products that allow anyone to create documents on their computer and can even support most of the features in Word. Below are the steps on how to run LibreOffice and OpenOffice in Windows.

Open LibreOffice and OpenOffice in Windows

  1. In Windows, click Start.
  2. In the search box, type writer. If LibreOffice or OpenOffice is installed, either LibreOffice Writer or OpenOffice Writer show in the search results.
Tip

In Windows 10, the search box is on the Taskbar next to Start. In Windows 8, start typing writer on the Start page and the search results show on the right side of the screen.

How to install LibreOffice or OpenOffice

LibreOffice can be downloaded from https://www.libreoffice.org/ and OpenOffice can be downloaded from https://www.openoffice.org/.

Once either of these programs have been installed, you can follow the steps above to create a document.

Creating a document with AbiWord

AbiWord is another great free product and solution for creating documents on your computer. Below are the steps on how to create a document with AbiWord.

  1. Open AbiWord.
  2. Click File and New or press the shortcut Ctrl+N to create a new document.
  3. Type the document you want to create.
  4. Save the document by clicking File > Save or pressing the shortcut key Ctrl+S.

Additional information