Creating a Microsoft word policy and procedure manual is a relatively easy task. It gets more difficult as your business expands.
You will eventually need a more flexible tool that allows you to manage data better. However you can start off with a basic MS Word document as this will be low cost.
What is an office procedure manual?
An office procedure manual is a document or set of instructions that allows you to perform tasks by following the instructions. It can have a range of things in it depending on the type of business you have, how complex it is and how it operates.
It can also include policies and rules about how your team should behave in your business. As business owner if you haven’t communicated this to your team then it is likely they will adopt their own standards.
The last thing you want is a team of people that behave however they want in your business. Setting the standards is good business and making sure everyone understands these requirements is essential to build team moral and provide a vision and direction for your business.
How do you write a procedure manual?
If you need to create a policy and procedure manual, the easiest way to do this is to use Microsoft Word. It is a fast and easy way to create a manual within minutes.
Microsoft Word is a fast and easy way to create a Quality System for your business
It’s even easier if you use a template you can find online. You could download our template if you like and you would have your manual started immediately.
This will save you a massive amount of time. Creating something using MS Word is going to allow you to focus on getting the content right. It also allows you to see how things go in your business with the Policy and Procedure Manual without outlaying too much expense before you know what is actually going to work and be best for your business.
Every business is different and will require different methods of staff accessing the manual so starting out with an MS Word file could be a good planning tool for your Policy and Procedure Manual.
Do your business really need one?
We think so.
In fact, can you really develop a business without one? It would be very difficult to create a good quality business if you don’t have any rules, policies and guidelines for your team to follow.
They would be like a ship without a rudder.
There is a lot to add, so make a start today and think about the future of your business.
How do I create a procedure manual in Word?
MS Word has been around for donkey’s years. This program is the staple diet of all IT keyboard warriors across the planet. If you need to create any simple document, chances are it was created on MS Word.
To create a searchable documents it is a relatively easy task. However as your business expands it becomes difficult to manage. However if you are just starting out – then it is the best way to create a policy and procedure manual for relatively low cost.
Easy Accessibility is Essential
Think about how your team will be best interacting with your Quality System and make it as simple and as easily accessible as possible.
They need to be able to get instant, easy access to it and be able to read and understand it easily. If they can’t then chances are they won’t. No point in making a quality system that is cumbersome, difficult to use, or difficult to read.
Take away all potential roadblocks for staff using your quality system.
The last thing you need to do is make your team’s job harder. This defeats the purpose of having a good quality system to keep your business nimble and flexible.
Create a Policy and Procedure Manual Fast with MS Word
So if you are going to create a template fast with MS Word, check out some of the tips below you can utilize to speed things up. If you know how to use it, it saves a lot of time and you can produce professional documents very quickly.
Let’s take a look at a couple of great feature of MS Word. Firstly, the Automated Table of Contents. This feature is awesome.
Automated Table of Contents Benefits
The automatic table of contents in Word is great once you know how to use it. If you don’t, it will take a little bit to understand how it works. However, there are numerous benefits of using the automated table of contents feature.
A couple of these are:
Once it is set up – it is very easy to update your Procedure Manual;
It makes it very easy to plan out your document accurately;
You can easily see the context of your document every time it is updated in the Table of Contents;
It helps you plan your document and improve the overall structure.
Table of Contents Feature
Let’s take a quick look at some of the settings to speed things up for you.
So go to References then click Table of Contents in the left corner.
You can insert the type you want pretty easily. Changing it does become a bit harder but use the Styles to create your automated styles.
Click the image to enlarge.
How to Open MS Word Styles Box
To Open the MS Word Styles press the following keys together…
SHIFT CTRL ALT and the letter S.
Unreal! Yep – 4 keys at once…..
This will open up the styles and you can go through and change the styles to suit.
You can see the Styles box on the left hand side in the image below.
Click the image to enlarge.
Using the styles takes a bit of practice. There are plenty of options to consider and you might need to do some research online on how to make it work right.
Find and Replace Feature
The find and replace feature in MS Word is really powerful to replace text fast and accurately.
Step 1 – Find the Find and Select Button
You should find the option to open this feature in the top right hand corner of the screen. See below.
Step 2 – Click the More Button
Once the popup box opens, you can see there is an option to expand the box. See circled below.
You can see the options are now expanded and they can be hidden again by simply clicking the same box.
Step 3 – Enter the Text you want to Find and Replace
Now you can include the text you want to change in the options provided. Also note the other check boxes below this which allow some pretty powerful functions and are worth experimenting with.
The Find and Replace feature has plenty of options to try. Experiment with what they do because they can make your life a lot easier when amending a file.
What is an example of a procedure?
The following image is an example of a very simple procedure. Creating a procedure is relatively easy. However, should you be breaking down the task into something small so it is manageable?
Providing images in the step by step process makes it easier to absorb the tasks. However, this is going to take you a lot of time to create. Particularly if the process is complex and detailed.
The Positive Benefits of Using Microsoft Word
OK, so there are massive benefits of starting a Policy and Procedure Manual with Microsoft Word.
It is very cheap. All you need is MS Word software and you are ready to go.
It is easy to add information. You can simply open the document and start adding policies and procedures.
It is easy to update. Nothing to it. Just open up the file and away you go.
The search function is already in there and easy to use. Train your team to use the search function.
You can use MS Word to start things off and this will allow you to get content together which you can still use down the track if you decide to use another method such as a database.
Giving others access to the file is easy. They just need to know where it is.
The Negatives of Using Microsoft Word
Once your manual gets to a certain size it is going to be harder to manage.
You can’t really keep printing out your manual each time it gets updated.
It makes it hard to track changes if you want to track changes in your manual.
You cannot separate your manual into different permissions for each type of team member in your business. Some area you may not want your team to view.
Giving other access to the file might be risky. They could potentially change it which might have significant consequences to your quality control.
MS Word Alternatives
Did you know there are a ton of alternatives to using MS Word?
Similar programs that allow you to do the same thing. If you check Google this is what pops up. There are quite a few alternatives to consider.
LibreOffice – Another Free Option
LibreOffice is another free alternative to MS Word. It is very similar however the best bit about it is it is free.
This open source software is great and will do the job for you with no dramas. The biggest benefit is that it is free. Something you should be looking out for if you are starting out in business.
LibreOffice functions much the same way as MS Word. It has a lot of the features of MS Word and all you simply need to do is get used to using it and before you know it you will be an expert and using it.
Save heaps of cash by using LibreOffice.
MS Word Policy and Procedure Manual Template
Digital Documents Direct’s Microsoft Word Policy and Procedure Manual Template is below. Our template already comes set up a ready to go with the Automated Table of Contents in place.
This procedure manual template will allow you to instantly implement a Policy and Procedure Manual in your business in minutes instead of days.
It includes a ton of generic information that is applicable to almost any type of business. There are easy ways to update the template to fit your business simply using the Find and Select tool in MS Word.
Check it out at the following link. Click the image below.
Let’s Hear Your Opinion
We would love to hear from you about how you are building your business.
Are you using a Procedure Manual Template at the moment?
Have you already started creating a procedure manual with MS Word?
Do you use the MS Word Table of Contents?
Create a conversation below.