I am teaching the course "Academic Writing" since 2006 and used a Microsoft Word template for the versions 2007, 2010 and 2013 to support students to write their academic papers and theses. Over the years the functionality of the template developed and now the latest version, the template Thesis2016E is available.
Obviously it is possible to create a text without using a template. The advantage of a template when writing an academic paper or thesis is that formatting is based on an established standard, which is often given by the university.
The template Thesis2016E includes formatting styles which can be used to format the text in a consistent manner. Using these styles makes sure that all types of content, e.g. lists, figures, figure captions, and headings, are always formatted the same way.
To allow a quick and easy access to the most frequently used functions when writing an academic paper or thesis, the template Thesis2016E includes the Tab Thesis2016E.
Additionally two more Tabs (Thesis2016EFeedback, APA6.0Feedback) are included in the template, which are intended for the supervisors to provide feedback.
The correct use of the template Thesis2016E is described in the book "Academic Writing with Word 2016". The template is designed to work properly for Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows, but will also work with the versions Word 2010 and Word 2013 for Windows . For students it might be advisable to acquire an "Office 365 University" license (see the advertisement from Microsoft for Students). To be familiar with the tools from Microsoft Office surely is a benefit not only during your life as a student but also later on.