Free Microsoft Word Reference Letter Templates

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Not sure how to begin a reference letter for someone who is searching for a job? Or perhaps you are asking someone for a reference, and aren’t sure how to frame your request? Microsoft Word has free letter templates for a variety of reference documents, including general reference letters, letters requesting a reference, letters thanking a reference, and other reference letter samples. (Microsoft Word also has resume templates.)

Microsoft Word stores these employment reference letters in the Templates section of Microsoft Word. You can access these online, and through the Microsoft Word program on your computer.

Read below for information on how to access these letters, and how to use a template to create your own, personalized letter.

How to Use Letter Templates

A template helps you format your letter. For example, it shows you where to include the recipient’s address, how to space out the paragraphs in your letter, and how to sign off at the end of the letter. It also shows you what font and font size you should use in your letter.

Templates also show you what elements you need to include in your letter, such as the type of information you should include on the person you are writing the reference for.

A template is very useful as a starting point for your own letter. However, you should always personalize and customize your letter. When you use a template, type over the text included, replacing it with your own information. For example, be sure to type over the sample name with your own name and contact information.

You can also make some format changes to the template, as you see fit. For example, you might want to change the font size or style. Or, if the template includes four body paragraphs but you only want to include three, you can remove one.

You also want to personalize the content of your letter. While the template might give you some ideas for the language you will use, you want to make sure your reference letter is focused on the person you are writing the letter for.

How to Access Letter Templates from Your Computer

Read below for step-by-step instructions for opening templates from Microsoft Word on your own computer.

  1. Open Microsoft Word, then click on:
    File - New from Template
  2. Click on:
    Online Templates (this will show you a larger collection than what you have on your computer)
  3. Click on:

Then, select the template you want to use. This will open a Microsoft Word document, and you can begin to personalize the template. You can then save it to your computer under a file name such as “Reference Letter for Firstname Lastname.”

Note that another option is to search for a specific letter using the “Search” bar in the top right-hand corner of the “New from Template” box. You can type in a phrase such as “Letter of Reference” or “Reference Request” to see what templates are available in that category.

How to Access Letter Templates Online

You can also go to Microsoft online to access a variety of templates. You can find reference letter templates under the “Letters” category, or you can search for a specific type of template in the “Search Office Templates” bar in the top right corner of the page.

Browse the different reference letter templates, and then click on the letter title to preview the reference letter sample, and to see a brief summary of the template. You can click the “Download” button to open the document in Microsoft Word on your computer. You can then edit the template to fit your needs, and save it to your computer.

Instead of downloading it, you can also click “Edit in Browser” to edit the document in Word Online (Microsoft’s online editing program). You can either save the document to OneDrive (Microsoft’s online drive) or download a copy to your computer.

Note that you generally have to have a Microsoft account to access these online templates. You also need a Microsoft account to edit a template in Word Online or download a copy to OneDrive. If you do not have an account, you can easily create one online. When you click on an online template, you will be asked to either sign in or create an account.

Also, keep in mind that not all templates work with all versions of Word, so check before you download. There will be a message next to the download button advising if there are restrictions. For example, you might need to upload the newest version of Word to access a particular template.

Use the Template to Create a Customized Letter

Once you have downloaded or opened a template file, type over the text in the file to create your own, personalized reference letter.

More Free Microsoft Templates

Microsoft offers letter templates for job search documents beyond just references.

Microsoft letter templates are available as a free download for Microsoft Word users or are available within your Word program, to use to create a variety of letters. There are letter templates for cover letters, resignation letters, reference letters, thank you letters, interview letters, and a variety of other business letters.

Other Reference Letter Templates

There are other templates online that you can use to write your reference letter. Here is a detailed reference letter template that shows the format of a typical reference letter.