How to Create a Template in Google Docs

67232 How to Create a Template in Google Docs

Templates can be a huge time-saver when you need to create multiple documents that have the same structure and formatting. Rather than building each new document from scratch, you can use a template as a starting point that already contains the desired layout, styles, and content placeholders.

Google Docs makes it easy to create templates and use them to generate new documents quickly. In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to build your own custom templates to reuse whenever you need standardized documents.


Before getting started, make sure you have:

  • A Google account
  • Access to Google Docs

You’ll build the template in Google Docs, so you need to be logged into your Google account first.

Why Use Templates

Here are some key reasons why templates can be so helpful for document creation:

  • Save time – Skipping repetitive formatting tasks makes your workflow more efficient
  • Ensure consistency – Documents have the same look and feel every time
  • Promote brand identity – Templates allow easy brand and style guide enforcement
  • Improve quality – Pre-fill content that rarely changes between documents
  • Enable collaboration – Share templates across teams or departments

In summary, templates give you a reusable framework containing your ideal document structure and presentation details.

Steps to Create a Template in Google Docs

1. Open a New Google Doc

Go to Google Docs and start a new document. This will become your template file that you can base future documents on.

Give the document a descriptive name like “Report Template,” “Newsletter Template,” etc. so you can easily find it later.

2. Build the Template Structure and Contents

Add all elements you want to include in your template. For example:

  • Format sections with headings, fonts, text styles, paragraph spacing, etc.
  • Add logos and visual branding elements
  • Include reusable text like instructions, introductions, disclaimers etc.
  • Insert tables with the desired layout/formatting
  • Add placeholders highlighted in brackets for names, dates, etc.

Format the template to match your brand style guide. Add as much standardized content and as many design elements as possible.

3. Add Page Numbers and Footers

Use the Insert menu to add page numbers and footers if desired. Repeat on every page as needed.

4. Customize the Styles

Define any custom paragraph or character styles you want available for future documents.

For example, create styles for “Warning Text”, “Citation”, “Image Caption” etc.

5. Save the Template

From the Google Docs File menu, choose “Save as template” to save your designed template.

Save as template option

In the popup dialog box, check:

  • “Only me” to keep your template private
  • “Specific people/groups” to share your template

Then click “Save as template”

Your template will now always be accessible from Google Docs for you to reuse.

Using a Template to Create New Documents

Once you’ve built a template, generating new documents is very simple.

1. Open the Template

In Google Docs, open the “Template gallery” and select your custom saved template.

You can also open the template like a regular document if you have the link.

2. Customize Placeholders

Fill in any placeholder bracketed text with your real content. For example, replace names, dates, stats, etc.

Leave placeholders as needed for content you’ll add later.

3. Extend the Document

Add additional sections, formatting, images, tables etc. if needed to build on your template. The content will match the styles defined in your template.

4. Save/Export/Print

When finished, use the Google Docs sharing and export options to send or print copies of your new document.

Repeat these steps for every new document you need based on your template.

Recap and Next Steps

Now you know how to create reusable templates for fast document drafting that are customized to your needs in Google Docs.

Here are some additional tips for getting the most from templates:

  • Maintain multiple templates for different document types
  • Set up team template folders for easy sharing
  • Update the templates periodically if your standards change
  • Create templates for common tables and charts to copy/paste

With customized templates, you can save hours of work creating new documents that all share a common look, feel, and structure unique to your business. This allows you to focus on creating great content instead of repeatedly building layouts from scratch.

About The Author