Create SOP’s Easier and Faster using an SOP Template

If you need to create many Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s), then using an SOP template is certainly going to enable you to save time and energy. Not only will it allow you to not have to reinvent the wheel each time you create an SOP, you will be able to create a significant amount of SOP’s quickly and easily.

Standard Operating Procedure Template + 50 Free Templates

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It’s quite easy to create an SOP template. It is as easy as using Microsoft Word or any other word processing software to create an SOP template that you can use over and over again.

Firstly – So what does an SOP look Like?

Firstly, to create an SOP template, you should determine what you want it to look like and also what you want it to achieve. Take a look below at some real world examples of Standard Operating Procedures from typical businesses.

Example 1 – Boeing Aircraft Start Up

For example, check out this procedure below which relates to a Boeing Aircraft start up.

Example 01 - Boeing 737 Annotated Standard Operating Procedures
Example 01 – Boeing 737 – Sample Standard Operating Procedure Template

Source: Scribd

SOP‘s are usually simple to read, are process or task based and consist of a number of steps within the procedures.

There are 3 columns and laid out in a simple to read manner. There is 1 column for Procedure, 1 column for Action and 1 column for Notes.

Also note the instructions in brackets at the top under the headings. These instructions require action in addition to just reading the procedure. This procedure has no step by step direction indicated in a graphic which is beneficial, and it is assumed that the checklist is followed by moving down the list.

It is pretty simple really. The hard part is the quantity of documentation required, and the effort required to put processes in place. Typically, there is usually a lot required.

Example 2 – Equipment Cleaning and Sanitizing

OK, so let’s have a look at another real world procedure. This one is a little bit different.

Example 02 - Equipment Cleaning and Sanitizing
Example 02 – Equipment Cleaning and Sanitizing

Source: iastate

So you can see from above, this one is simply a list of what to do. It is simple enough. Possibly presented slightly better and include headings in step format such as, step 1, 2, 3 etc. This would likely make it easier to read without too much more effort of creating the procedure.

It shows when the procedure was last revised. I’m not sure why this is important. Does it really matter when the procedure was last revised? I would think the more important thing is if the procedure is correct, accurate and still relevant.

Anyway, you can see the procedure is simple, easy to read and shows each step in the process for completing the task and also refers to the managers responsibility with regard to the task.

Example 3 – Accounting Standard Operating Procedure

This example below is definitely different. I am not sure I would like to be following the procedures in this organization. Take a look below.

Example 03 - Accounting Standard Operating Procedure
Example 03 – Accounting Standard Operating Procedure

You can see it is pretty simple but also graphically doesn’t really have much going for it. There are no steps and it looks like a list of items.

This was also in a document with hundreds of pages. Imagine trying to wade through all this?

If you are creating a SOP, it should be easy to read, easy to use and relevant. This means laid out well. Step by step instructions make a massive difference. Include graphics to make the instructions more meaningful.

Below are 7 important parts of an SOP.

What are the 7 Parts of an SOP?

Generally, there are around seven parts of a typical Standard Operating Procedure. This can vary widely, however if you are creating an SOP Template for repetitive use, then creating a base file outlining the following seven parts below would be satisfactory.

Part No.Section
Part 1Title Page
Part 2Table of Contents
Part 3Purpose
Part 4Procedures, steps or detail of process
Part 5Quality Assurance or Quality Control
Part 6Terminology, Glossary and Definitions
Part 7References
7 Typical Parts of an SOP

Let’s take a look at each of these in detail.

Title Page

  • The title page should clearly identify the SOP. Due to the large amount of SOP’s in a manual, the title is important for easy locating and identification.

Table of Contents

  • The table of contents should clearly identify the parts of the SOP for easy reference. An automated TOC is even more useful such as the system used by MS Word.


  • The purpose section of an SOP succinctly describes the objective or goal the procedure aims to achieve, providing a clear understanding of its intended outcome.

Procedures, steps or detail of process

  • The procedures, steps, or details of the process in an SOP provide a systematic, step-by-step guide outlining the specific actions and methods to be followed when performing a particular task or activity.

Quality Assurance or Quality Control

  • The quality component of the SOP is a monitoring tool to ensure the quality is maintained at all times.

Terminology, Glossary and Definitions

  • This section of an SOP clarifies and defines specific terms and jargon used within the document, ensuring a common understanding of language and terminology among readers and users.


  • The references section of an SOP provides citations or sources of information used in creating the procedure, ensuring transparency, credibility, and traceability of the documented processes.

If your SOP template uses these components above as a minimum, you are well on your way to communicating the correct processes to your team easily and efficiently.

The Easiest and Fastest Way to create SOP’s

What is the Easiest Way to Create an SOP?

Microsoft Word has to be the easiest way to create a template that you can use over and over again. Microsoft Word gives you the ability to create standard templates and save them off in the cloud or wherever you would like on your system.

This gives you the ability to replicate your SOP’s and also easily delegate parts of the SOP task making process to others quite easily. The ability to use software such as MS Word or Google Docs allows the production of SOP’s efficient and to co-ordinate and collaborate with others makes it very efficient and easy-to-use.

What is the Easiest Software to use to create an SOP Template?

Keep it simple for easy updates

The easiest programme for you to use will depend on your preferences and needs. There are many options for creating Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) templates.

Below are 6 simple choices frequently utilised to create SOP templates.

Option 1 – Microsoft Word

  • Popular word processing programme Microsoft Word has a user-friendly interface and a variety of templates. You can use text, photos, tables, and other components to construct intricate SOP documents. There are pre-made templates available, or you can make your own from scratch.

Option 2 – Google Docs

  • A cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Word is Google Docs. It is available for free, has tools for collaborative editing, and offers a selection of templates via the Google Docs Template Gallery. It is simple to use and available on any internet-connected device.

Option 3 – Lucidchart

  • It is possible to construct flowcharts, process maps, and other visual representations of SOPs using the cloud-based diagramming tool Lucidchart. It has a drag-and-drop interface that makes it simple to make SOP templates that look good. Microsoft Office and Google Workspace are also integrated.

Option 4 – Trello

  • Trello is an easy-to-use project management solution that arranges tasks and procedures using cards and boards. Setting up Trello boards with precise instructions on each card will allow you to construct SOP templates. Trello is especially helpful for teams who prefer a more participatory style of working and visual learners.

Option 5 – Process Street

  • Process Street was created with the creation and management of SOPs and workflows in mind. It offers pre-made templates and an intuitive user interface for creating unique SOPs. It also has features like form fields, task delegation, and conditional logic, which makes it a strong option for companies with intricate operations.

Option 6 – SweetProcess

  • Another programme made specifically for SOP creation is SweetProcess. With a step-by-step editor, it is intended to make the process of documenting procedures simpler. Your SOPs can include text, pictures, and videos. You can also assign assignments and monitor progress.

The software you choose ultimately depends on your unique requirements, financial constraints, and personal preferences. The most popular and beginner-friendly options tend to be Microsoft Word and Google Docs, while specialised programmes like Process Street and SweetProcess offer more sophisticated functionality for companies with stringent SOP standards.

4 Approaches to Create a Standard Operating Procedure Template

Below is a simple table that outlines 4 easy approaches you could take to create a Standard Operating Procedure Template and use these templates to create SOP’s for your organization.

ApproachEase to CreateEase of UseTime to CreateAbility to UpdateCost
MS Word Template2/52/52/55/55/5
Website Template1/55/55/53/55/5
WordPress Template1/55/52/54/55/5
MS Sharepoint Template3/52/53/55/51/5
4 Ways to Create a Standard Operating Procedure Template

You could really use any software based platform to create your Standard Operating Procedures. However you will need skills in operating the platform system or the ability to hire someone to do it for you.

Creating Your Standard Operating Procedure with MS Word

So, the easiest way to create a Standard Operating Procedure is to use MS Word. Simple to do and easy to set up and virtually free. No doubt if your business becomes complex then you will need something better to grasp all that information. Otherwise you will be wading in documents.

Really it isn’t anything more than a checklist is it? Start here and finish there and make sure you do all steps in between. (Landing gear is important).

Step by Step Checklist - Cleaning the Store
Step by Step Checklist – Cleaning the Store

Steps to Successful SOP’s

The fastest and easiest way to create an SOP is to document it step by step. Just do it in MS Word. You will be done in 5 minutes. Forget the fancy graphics and all the flow chart explanations. How are you get going to possibly keep updating those things for the whole of your business?

Procedures change all the time. They are constantly tweaked.

Maybe once you have your system outlined and documented you can start thinking about graphics. However, imagine trying to do this for the your whole business from day 1?

Steps to Successful SOP's
Steps to Successful SOP’s -Standard Operating Process Template

Just document the steps.

  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • etc.

Surely this is the fastest and easiest way to start a SOP and get it out to your team to review, amend and implement don’t you think?

You might find it difficult to read or follow, unless it has graphics. Possibly it is.

However, getting the process right is the first priority, so focus on that. Getting the steps right is critical. Errors will effect customers and potentially the perception of your business. So it makes sense to get the steps correct first so the quality of output leaving your business is kept high.

Pros and Cons of Using an SOP Template

Creating SOP’s using SOP templates takes a huge amount of work. For a complex business, this is going to take you and your team a significant amount of time, effort and resources to make it work for your business.

That being said – there are many benefits and also a few drawbacks. Take a look at the list below before you set sail on your SOP creation in your organization to determine if it is worth the effort.

Pros of Using an SOP Template


  • SOP templates offer consistency and uniformity in the documentation of processes across an organisation. For procedures to be appropriately understood and followed, there must be consistency.


  • Compared to writing SOPs from scratch, templates offer a ready-made structure. For recurring or shared processes that several departments employ, this is extremely helpful.


  • Templates frequently include standardised terminology and layout, which makes SOPs simpler to read and comprehend. Clear instructions lessen the possibility of misunderstanding.


  • SOP templates can be made to conform to industry standards, rules, and best practises, making sure that processes follow all applicable laws and regulations.


  • Templates might offer instructions and advice to help individuals just starting to draught SOPs. This can be especially useful for staff members who lack writing experience for technical or procedural documents.

Easy Updates

  • It is simpler to update a template and distribute the updates across all pertinent SOPs when a standard procedure changes, ensuring that everyone is using the most recent version.

Cons of Using an SOP Template


  • Not every distinct organisational procedure or workflow may be supported by templates. A template might not be able to provide the flexibility that some processes demand.

Lack of understanding

  • Lack of understanding: SOPs can be erroneous or incomplete if templates are used without knowing the underlying procedures. Employees could fill in the spaces without knowing why each action was taken.


  • Over-Reliance: Relying only on templates could put off people from considering processes critically. Employees could adhere to procedures mechanically without considering their efficacy or looking for ways to make them better.


  • Complexity: Particularly for smaller operations, certain templates can be too complex. Instead of helping employees grasp the procedures, this intricacy may confuse them.

Generic Nature

  • Templates frequently have a generic nature to meet a variety of circumstances. In some circumstances, a general template might not sufficiently handle the unique idiosyncrasies of a given procedure or department.

Lack of Ownership

  • Lack of Ownership: If employees are only filling in the spaces on a template, they may not feel personally invested in SOPs. Less detailed documentation may result from a lack of personal engagement.

SOP templates, in conclusion, can be quite helpful for standardising processes, guaranteeing compliance, and saving time. Striking a balance between encouraging staff members to comprehend the processes they are recording and allowing for flexibility when necessary is crucial.

Can you really afford to not have a Standard Operating Procedure Manual in Your Business?

How Standard Operating Procedures will Improve Your Business

A group of SOP’s is known as an Standard Operating Procedure Manual. This type of manual holds all of your SOP’s in one secure place. This could be a software program or a simple MS Word document.

If you need to improve the performance of your business quickly and cost effectively, you need a Standard Operating Procedure Manual.

Review an example of an SOP Template using MS Word below.

SOP Template
Huge Benefits | Standard Operating Procedure Template Word

Operating a Small Business is Not Easy

If you operate a small business then you will realize that systematizing your business is really the only answer to producing your product or service consistently and to a high standard each and every time. If you don’t do this then there is a risk of losing customers because people want to get the same product or service each time they experience your business.

If you haven’t read the E-Myth then it is certainly worth reading as it will give you an insight on how to operate a small business better so that the business is efficient and deliver it’s product or service to a high standard each time it delivers.

SOP Template
SOP Template

This particular book by Micheal Gerber is a great source of information for your small business. It will help to get all your ducks in a row and deliver your product or service more accurately and efficiently to a set standards.

Think about any time you go to purchase something. You really on return to purchase the product or service if you enjoyed the buying experience. Therefore your team need to understand what to do each time they work with your customers.

The best way to train them around this is to use Standard Operating Procedures to ensure the process is followed each time.

Learn more about the benefits of having standard operating procedures in your business.

Read More About Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template

How will you create Your Standard Operating Procedures?

The Advantages of Using a Template – Primarily a Huge Time Saver

When developing your Standard Operating Procedure Manual, a template will save you a lot of time. These instructions are often extensive and can take a long time to develop. Using a template will not only save you time, but it will also provide you with a framework to get started and will most likely save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you need to produce a Standard Operating Procedure Manual, Quality Manual, Policy and Procedure Manual or Employee Handbook you are in for a lot of work.

Note – all of these things are usually the same thing. They just have different names.

It is a great idea to find a sop template that suits your business instead of starting one from scratch. Digital Documents Direct have a number of options available.

Standard Operating Procedure Template + 50 Free Templates

A professional, business eBook cover with Standard Operating Procedure Template text on it. Blue, white, and red background with Digital Documents Direct logo and website address.
Download a Standard Operating Procedure Template

Share Your Thoughts

In your experience, what is the best way to create a standard operating procedure and ensure it is useful to your business?

  • Have you created a systems manual for your business?
  • Do you use Standard Operating Procedures in your business?
  • What is the easiest way you have found to create a Standard Operating Procedure?
  • What other tips can you share with other small and medium business owners to help them create better a small business?

Creating SOP’s can be a time consuming task. It make sense to find a template and stick with it.

Leave a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an SOP Template make it easier to create SOP’s?

Yes, using an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) template can significantly simplify the process of creating SOPs for various tasks and processes within an organization.

What is the easiest way to create an SOP?

The easiest way to create an SOP is to outline the specific task or process clearly in a single sentence, detailing the steps and responsibilities involved, ensuring it is concise and easy to understand.

Who uses SOP’s?

SOPs are used by organizations to provide standardized step-by-step instructions for employees to follow, ensuring consistency, compliance with regulations, and efficient handling of various tasks and processes.

How many different types of SOP Templates are there?

There is no fixed or specific number of SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) templates, as they can vary widely based on the nature of the organization, industry, and specific processes being documented.

What is an SOP Format?

The SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) format is a structured document that outlines the step-by-step instructions for completing a specific task or process within an organization.

How do I write my own SOP?

Writing your own SOP’s is easy. Simply determine the end result desired, list out the steps as a preliminary list and then document the process in detail.

What is the best format for an SOP Template ?

MS Word is a great format for SOP templates as it is commonly used, easy to use and very easy to update.

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