Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

Training teams will often choose training as the first and best solution to a problem. In reality, the solution may be a hybrid of interventions and job aids that reach your front-line employees with an easy to use solution. This doesn’t negate the need for training, but defaulting to training causes training teams to miss opportunities to solve problems in other ways.

Examples of Job Aid Templates

You’ve used job aids in your job and personal life. 

  • The instructions for assembling a bookshelf are a job aid. 
  • The document posted on a conference room wall showing you how to operate the projector and conference system is a job aid.
  • A list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) created in MS Word for your product is a job aid.
  • Technical guides are job aids. You may not be expected to know every technical detail of your product, but you should know how to find the information for a customer or prospect.

Customer Service Job Aid Scenario

You hear that a manager is struggling because their staff is overwhelmed by information and can’t find the right process or answer to a customer’s questions. Some members of the leadership team say it is a training issue. Others say that the answers are in the memo or PowerPoint deck the company distributed. Some argue that the elearning on the LMS should solve the problem. When you see that teams need to be able to quickly access bits and pieces of information from an enormous catalog of information, you may need a job aid.

You might be tempted to seek out templates or powerful tools that create systems for customer service agents. There is nothing wrong with these systems, but if you need an answer today to make a difference in job performance, you should consider a tool that you likely use every day, Microsoft Word. (Important Note: You can apply these same practices and get some additional benefits by using Google Docs.)

With Microsoft Word, you can quickly and easily build a job aid that is easy to create, easy to use, and maybe most importantly, easy to update.

Steps to Create Your Own Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

If you’re curious about how to turn a Word document into a dynamic job aid with hyperlinks to the information you’re needing, it’s a fairly easy process. You don’t need a Microsoft Word job aid template. You just need to follow these steps:

1. Open a Word document

Ok. This is a simple step. The important thing is that you can do this with a new or existing document. For example, if you have an existing Word document that lists 40 FAQs, you can build it into a more usable and useful resource for customer service or sales teams. If you are using an existing doc, you will want to pay close attention to how the formatting was done. You’ll see more about this in step

2. Create Headers or Check Header

If you are creating a new resource, begin by organizing your content using Headers. If you haven’t done this before, you’re missing a powerful tool. Many people will organize a document in an outline or will simple bold a phrase to make it the header. This may work fine for looking at a document that is printed, but it doesn’t tell Word what you mean by that header. This will become absolutely critical in step 3.

Check headers in the microsoft word job aid template

If you are modifying an existing document to create your job aid, you’ll find that many people don’t use header styles. You can quickly tell by finding text that looks like a header. Click on it once and look at the top banner in Word. If the style says Normal or anything other than Header 1, Header 2, etc. you will need to apply those styles. This part is easy but can be time-consuming. Highlight that line that you want to be the header and click the header style.

How many header layers should I use?

Microsoft will automatically give you styles for multiple levels of headers. The question of whether to use these levels has less to do with what is possible and more to do with what is usable. If you want the document to be usable, we generally find that using 1 or 2 levels is going to give you the best structure for most documents. It will be up to you to determine what works best for your content, but just remember that you are trying to make life easier on your front-line staff. You don’t want to spend too much time explaining how to use a complicated job aid.

3. Create a Clickable Table of Contents

This is the step that is the most magical in Word. If you’ve done the previous steps, it is both easy and effective. You may think of a table of contents as something that points you to the correct page number, but the best part of the table of contents in Word is that it is clickable! If you have a 70-page document and 140 questions answered, a clickable table of contents is the only way that sales reps or customer service reps can realistically navigate that information and provide quick answers.

Insert the TOC in a Microsoft Word job aid template

From the References menu, click Table of Contents and insert an Automatic Table. The Automatic Table of Contents will use the headers that you created in step 2.

Refresh Your Clickable Table of Contents

One reason that you may choose to create a Microsoft Word job aid is that you expect the information to need updates. When you make an update there is one little step that you can’t forget. If you add a new topic (a header) or change an existing header, you must refresh the table of contents. This is also true if you set up your table of content while in the process of creating your document.

4. Create a PDF

Most likely, you are not creating a document that you want others to edit. If this is the case, you should use Microsoft Word’s built-in ability to convert a document into a PDF. 

Save the Microsoft Word job aid template as a PDF

Most likely, you are not creating a document that you want others to edit. If this is the case, you should use Microsoft Word’s built-in ability to convert a document into a PDF. 

But wait! What about the clickable table of contents? 

That’s a great question. Another wonderful part of this process is that the clickable table of content will still work in the PDF. 

Download a Working Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

When we were creating this we couldn’t think of a better job aid to include than this article! Now, you can download a job aid that is built out of this post!

Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

Adobe PDF Job Aid

Can I Create a Job Aid in Google Docs?

Yes! The instructions above focus on a job aid that you share in PDF because you don’t want anyone else editing. If you want to create what we would call a “living” job aid for a team, Google Docs may be your answer. The steps are identical, except that you don’t’ need to convert it to a PDF. 

If you are worried about users changing the document when they shouldn’t, you can always use the Google Doc history to see when changes are made.

You can also limit who on the team can edit. When you share, set members to either View or Edit.

Allow users to edit or view the job aid

7 thoughts on “Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

  1. A good practice is to make sure any Microsoft Word or Adobe pdf document you are providing to others is accessible to people with visual difficulties. Using headers will make it much easier to create an accessible document. To check your document for visual accessibility issues, once you have completed your document in Microsoft Word, click on Review in the top ribbon, then Check Accessibility. Correct any issues that are described in the Accessibility box. Next, check the readability of the document by clicking on Read Aloud. Then you can convert it to a pdf document. If you have Adobe Acrobat Pro DC on your computer, you can then click on Accessibility, then Accessibility Check and Accessibility Report to identify and correct any accessibility issues. Click on Read Out Loud to make sure your document is being read properly by the pdf reader. Remember, almost everyone has or eventually will develop a disability as they get older, so make sure that what you provide can be used by all.

  2. Excellent, simple solution. Perhaps even simpler would be to create the document first, then generate the TOC. If you use any kind of “Heading” style for your document (which you should be doing anyhow to title and segment the different chunks of information), it should require fewer steps to generate the TOC with hyperlinks.

    If unfamiliar with styles or TOC creation, click the “?” in Word, and search for “quick reference card table of contents.” There’s a video there on how to create a TOC, but more importantly, a link to a quick reference card that explains the process.

    • Absolutely, Karen. Your suggestions will take out several steps and make it easier.

      I’m quite clumsy when it comes to using Word and generally peck away without any headings. I kinda wish Word would keep the headings in the same font color as the rest of the text, so I generally just make text bold or perhaps change the font size to break up a document (instead of using Headings)… which then makes me take several extra steps when creating a TOC.

      Thanks for your suggestions!

      • Brian – I used to be the same way, but the utility and ease that using Headings brings finally won me over. (And just FYI, you can change the styles of the Headings – they dont have to be a different font color, etc!)

      • Yes, I’m starting to see the helpfulness of Headings (and yes, the first thing I do is go back and change their color back to black!!). I love the comments on the blog… they make me a better practitioner!!

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