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Proposals & Reports - Are yours standardised?

Learning how to create Master Word documents to manipulate each style to benefit their particular use for report writing or creating proposals is really a time saving exercise in the long run.

Each document types have their own particular formatting, whilst report writing my concentrate on numbered headings, numbered sub-headings and then you may have each paragraph numbered - especially if it is a long report. This makes it easier for the client to refer back to you with a query in a specific area within your document. This numbering system is linked to the main numbering within the document heading.

Proposals may have a different system - as these could refer to the numbering system followed in the tender documentation, or even in a specified way in which your proposed client wishes you to reply to them; or you may adopt your own unique style.

In either case, you will need to have a Table of Contents at the front - you may even want to include Appendices and the headings inserted in your TOC.

Inserting images will break up a page of text so if you have a product, or perhaps a process which you can take a quality photo, this can be inserted to illustrate your proposal at certain intervals in your document.

Sometimes you may want to insert an whole document that has previously been prepared into your report or placed in the Appendices. You can do this easily without any fuss and the information will be inserted with the headers and footers already prepared in that document. Quite a simple process using the Outline View and this method is known as inserting sub-documents and all it will need after is a little tidying up.

As with anything, creating a Master Document (a template) will save you time in the long run and it is safer than overwriting a previous document. What you don't want to happen is to leave information in the new report/proposal which is not relevant.

Or even for that matter, bringing information into a proposal because you have written it for another. Make sure this information fully answers the current question from the tender, it may be that you have to tweak it a little.

All too often I have seen consultants in the "Corporate" business world not paying enough attention to the question and copy something that they think will provide an answer or explanation. It doesn't give a good impression and may mark you down if you have not answered the question fully or correctly.

As always if you would like training or help creating sub-documents and a Master document, please let me know.

Take care

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