How to Create a Certificate in Word: THE Ultimate Guide

Next-generation skills help candidates stand out from the crowd in the ever-evolving digital landscape. HR professionals and educational institutions look at certificates to validate the credibility of candidates’ claims.

Jan 13, 2023
8 min
|      by
Sucharita Myakal
digital badges education

Designing certificates from scratch and delivering them in large quantities can be quite an undertaking. Often, organizations hire a professional designer or coder to help them create certificates. If you find yourself in a similar position, this guide will be your saving grace.


The following guide will explain two simple ways to create a certificate in Microsoft Word: 

  1. Using a certificate template — This is the easier way to generate certificates in Word. All you need to do is choose a template and edit the text.
  2. Without using a template — This is a lengthier method since you’re starting with a blank page. You must choose every design element, from borders to text boxes, and fix the alignment. 

And as a bonus, we will introduce you to, an intuitive, easy-to-use certificate generation tool.

Create a certificate using a Word template

Using Microsoft Word templates is one of the quickest ways to create certificates for most occasions. It is free, customizable, and offers a considerable number of pre-made templates. 

This step-by-step guide will teach you how to create a certificate in Word with a template.

Step 1: Open a new Word document 

Launch the Microsoft Word application from your Desktop or the taskbar. Once you’ve opened the application, you’ll see a blank document. If you don’t, click on File, and from the side menu, click on New on the Home tab to open a fresh document for editing.

Create a New Word Document

Step 2: Search for certificate templates

Click in the Search box on the New screen, type “certificate” and press Enter. This will display a bunch of certificate templates for you to pick from.

Search through Templates

Next, select a certificate template that fits your requirements and click Create. It should now open the template as a new document. 

Select a Template

Step 3: Customize your template

You can now start customizing your selected template. Select the Design tab on the topmost menu, and under Page Borders, go to the second tab: Page Border

Design Your Template

Unable to find your preferred border? Click on Custom under Setting, and select your favorite border design. Finally, click OK to apply your chosen border.

Does your organization have specific brand colors? If so, it's recommended to select your brand colors for your certificates. To do this, under the Design tab, expand the Colors option. 

Next, hover over a theme that best fits your brand colors. Select your theme and Save changes. This action will automatically change the default colors on your certificate template to the chosen theme.

Adjust the Colors

Step 4: Edit certificate content 

Once you’ve finalized the design, you must now edit the text. Word lets you change the text font, color, size, and spacing. 

To edit content:

  • Start by updating the certificate title. Click inside the title box to edit. 
  • In the Home tab, you can find the current font style and size. Click on the font name to access a drop-down menu. Scroll down and choose your favorite font. You could also change the font size if you’d like.

Add Your Desired Text

  • Type your personalized text, such as “Certificate of Award,” “Certificate of Achievement,” etc. Add a message to highlight the recipient’s achievements and more.
  • Repeat the same steps for the rest of the content on your template.

You now have your very own certificate that’s ready to download and send.

Your Final Product

Pro tip: Using the MS Office Mail Merge functionality, you can auto-populate multiple participant names, and thus create multiple certificates at once. This feature pulls data from your local spreadsheet and populates recipient names on your designed certificate. To access, select Start Mail Merge > Letters > Use an existing list (to upload recipient list) > Insert.

Create a certificate without using a Word template 

If you’re creative, Microsoft Word also lets you design certificates without using templates. However, since you’re starting with a blank canvas, this method is more complex.

Step 1: Launch a new Word document and choose a layout 

Open and launch a new blank Word document. Once opened, select the Layout tab on the topmost menu. Under Orientation, select Portrait or Landscape as the preferred certificate configuration. We’ve chosen Portrait for this example.

Adjust the Document Layout

Step 2: Choose and add borders 

Once you’ve selected your certificate’s orientation, start adding borders. 

Like the previous method, under the Design tab, select Page Borders. Now, in the pop-up menu, select Page Border and choose either Style or Art (for professional certificates, choose only Style). 

Select your preferred border color under the Color dropdown, and choose the line width. Finally, select the Box option under Setting, and click on OK to apply the changes.

Add Borders

Step 3: Add text boxes for certificate content

Your certificate will need a ton of text boxes for various elements, such as title, message, participant name, date, signature, etc.

To add a text box, under the Insert tab of the main menu, click on Text Box and select Simple Text Box. Next, start placing text boxes on your blank canvas, and modify content using your preferred font styles, sizes, colors, and more.

Once complete, you can save and preview the certificate. Download the file to print your certificate once you’re satisfied with your design. 

Some tips for success

Let's take a look at some expert tips that will make your Word certificate creation a breeze:

  • Add your organization’s logo to your certificates to inject more authority. This way, you indirectly promote your brand when your attendees share your certificates online.
  • Include your attendee’s picture to add a touch of personalization. Although this may not be suitable for most professional certificates, adding pictures can be a good idea for a few more casual options.
  • Ensure your certificates are well-formatted before you print them. Check for font alignment and size consistency.
  • Have a checklist of the must-have components, such as participant name, company logo, date and place, signature, and more. This checklist could change depending on the certificate type.

Common mistakes to avoid 

Here are some common mistakes designers make while creating certificates:

  • While using templates, not double-checking if the default elements have been modified can be an embarrassing error. Creating certificates that can't be validated leads to authenticity issues in the future and a bad reputation for your organization.
  • Overloading your design with multiple text boxes and graphics can ruin the intent behind issuing the certificate. Space out your design elements and text while including only what’s truly necessary.
  • Using fonts like Comic Sans can make professional certificates look sloppy.
  • Not checking for typos and grammatical errors reflects poorly on the certificate’s credibility and you, as the issuer.
  • Haphazard lines, mixed-up font colors, and pictures as certificate backgrounds show carelessness in design. 

Although creating a certificate using a Microsoft Word template is relatively easier than starting from nothing, it is not efficient when you need to send out certificates in bulk—which is often the case. 

Want an easier way to create certificates? has got you covered 

Imagine this: You just finished hosting your course and need to send out course completion certificates to 60 participants. You come across a tool that lets you create one certificate and apply the data from the list of 60 participants to auto-generate the rest. That’s how easy certificate generation is with

With a account, you can:

  1. Choose from over 100+ pre-filled certificate templates or create a fresh certificate using a blank canvas and Virtualbadge’s numerous design elements.
  2. Upload your own designs, background images, logos, and more.
  3. Edit once and let the software handle the rest. Upload your recipient list as a CSV file, and will create certificates automatically for each member.
  4. Send certificates with QR codes and validation links.
  5. Enable adding certifications to LinkedIn under Licenses and Certifications for recruiters to validate easily.

       6. Track and measure metrics, such as certificates shared, claimed, and downloaded.

        7. Integrate with several advanced tools, such as Zapier, Mailchimp, Zoom, and others.

Final thoughts: How to create a certificate in Word

Creating your own certificate using Microsoft Word is quick and straightforward. But when you want to design and send certificates in mass quantities, Word is not a practical tool to use (and employing Mail Merge is a long and error-prone workaround of that problem). 

An all-in-one tool like is efficient and easy. This leading certificate generation tool takes care of all your requirements, from designing to sending and validating certificates—all within one platform. 

Are you ready to create and send certificates with one click? Get a 7-day all-access free trial today to test-drive all the features. 

* You can find the organisation ID in the URL when you access your LinkedIn Company page as an admin.

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