A document template is defined as ‘a file that serves as a starting point for a new document’. This article looks at the specialised templates used by medical writers in their trade with a focus on the commercially available products. Templates allow a medical writer to prepare standardised documents that comply with the regulatory format requirements, and they increase productivity and allow rapid troubleshooting and document repair. The advantages and the disadvantages of using templates and some criteria of what makes an effective template are discussed. Templates available commercially are briefly presented.