Contest: Stupidest Word Template?

I needed to generate an electronic recommendation letter for a former student yesterday, and printing the letter on paper and scanning the paper copy seemed a little too... 1998 to be worth doing. As a result, I spent an inordinate amount of time fiddling around with Microsoft Word to come up with a template that looked like the official department letterhead.

Of course, there's nothing in the many pre-installed templates that could easily be modified to suit, because Microsoft employees have the aesthetic sense of a syphilitic squirrel, but I was surprised to discover just how many absurdly specific templates they offer. Including one for a letter complaining about a teacher, which not only comes with blanks to fill in the addresses and salutation, but pre-written complaint text:

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the quality of teaching provided by my daughter Sarah's fourth-grade teacher, Nancy Anderson.

When my daughter started the fourth grade, she was excited about learning and had already established a record as an enthusiastic and diligent student. Her grades last year were consistently As and Bs. Yet in the past three months, Sarah has become extremely negative about going to school. She has told me that she doesn't like school anymore because she is confused by Ms. Anderson's lessons and because Ms. Anderson becomes impatient when Sarah asks for clarification on difficult lessons.

It continues on in that vein for a while. I'm going to go out on a limb, though, and say that if you need Microsoft Word to pre-write your complaint letter for you, you're probably not qualified to complain about your child's teachers.

So, here's a time-wasting contest for you, since it's Rag On Microsoft Day here:

What is the most ridiculous pre-written template in the collection of pre-written templates in Word 2007?

"Ridiculous" can mean anything from "nobody with a functioning brain should need this pre-written for them" to "this is a stunningly poor example of the form it's supposed to demonstrate." Leave your suggestions in the comments (ideally, including a description of where to find it in the template selector, so I can verify it). The winner will get some fabulous prize that I'll make up later.

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Ah, the syphilitic squirrel: the Dame Edna of the animal kingdom

because Microsoft employees have the aesthetic sense of a syphilitic squirrel...

A serious contender for my favourite quote of the year!

In the absurdly specific category, how about this: "Job offer to electrical engineer." It comes complete with details concerning pay, vacations, benefits, etc. I'm not sure how often anyone uses that one, especially given the current state of the economy. To find it, click on "Employment" and then "Job offer letters."

By Chemistry undergrad (not verified) on 18 Mar 2009 #permalink

The government agency I work for doesn't even have real letterhead anymore. It's all just in a Word template. You should have the department look into that. Supposedly it's been a big money saver.

Ah, so that's what a Word template is. In all my years of using Word, I've never been so much as tempted to look at one.

I'm in the process of migrating to Pages (iWork '09) and haven't even checked to see if there are any templates present.

By Julie Stahlhut (not verified) on 18 Mar 2009 #permalink

I wonder if someone has slipped in an epistolary novel in there? That would be hilarious, but some of the sequences of sample letters tell some great stories.

Oh, those are great. I love "Demand for retraction of statements." ("In the August 3 evening newscast, your reporter, Mandy Vance, stated that the antiviolence program members arriving at the scene of a violent murder âmay have interfered with police attempts to apprehend the suspect.â)

Also, "Floral Delivery Complaint. ("The arrangement was delivered as promised, but the quality of the flowers was poor. They were wilted and browning, and both my niece and I were very disappointed.")

And "Apology for behavior during sales call." ("Alex is a new representative and was probably not aware that he was causing difficulty in your school. I have talked with him at some length, and he thoroughly understands that when he visits a school he must get the principalâs permission to visit teachers. Also, Iâm making note of this matter to be discussed again at our next sales conference on October 16.")

@Julie #7: I can't answer specifically about Pages '09 (I own the '08 version of iWork, and I use Numbers and Keynote more than Pages), but I'm pretty sure they have templates. There aren't as many, or as specific, as Word offers. I invariably use the blank template, so I don't know whether the templates include actual text or just formatting.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 19 Mar 2009 #permalink