How to Create a Google Sheets Template

Empower your templates in Google Sheets

Spreadsheet illustration on a laptop

Free Vector Art by Vecteezy

There's a limited supply of Google Sheets templates, and while they can definitely be useful, chances are you have your own spreadsheet in mind that you want to use as a template.

Creating your own template in Google Sheets can be helpful if you like to use or share a spreadsheet that conforms to the same design with every use. Maybe it's for work or school, or even an at-home to-do list or special financial spreadsheet.

Regardless of the template type, you can make custom Google Sheets templates for whatever you like and never worry that you'll lose the original. Just copy the spreadsheet contents to Google Sheets and make a copy of the file to always have the original at hand.

What You Need for a Custom Google Sheets Template

Google Sheets monthly budget template

Your Google Sheets custom template will contain information specific to the template you want to make. So, the primarily item you need to make a custom template is a spreadsheet file.

The spreadsheet file can be created by any spreadsheet program, such as LibreOffice or Microsoft Excel.

You can even make the template in Google Sheets itself, either from scratch or from the Template Gallery. Just open one of those templates and edit it as needed to fit your project.

If it's not clear already, you need a Google account to access Google Sheets. You can make a free Google account now or log in with the same account you use to access Gmail or YouTube.

Make a Folder for Custom Templates

Now that you've made your first template, it's time to create a home for it.

  1. Open Google Drive and sign in if asked.

    Make sure you’re in the root folder (that is, the top-most folder and not a subfolder).

  2. Go to New > Folder to make the new folder.

    New Folder menu item in Google Drive
  3. Pick a name for the folder. Call it something you'll associate with your templates, like SPREADSHEET TEMPLATES, and then select CREATE.

    Create button to name new folder in Google Drive
  4. The new folder will appear alongside the other folders in Google Drive.

Add Your Templates to the Folder

The next step is to add your custom templates to the newly created folder.

  1. Open the templates folder you created in the steps above. In this example, we'd open SPREADSHEET TEMPLATES.

  2. Go to New > Google Sheets to make an empty spreadsheet.

    New Google Sheet menu item in Google Drive

    You might notice an entry in this menu called From a template. This is just a shortcut to the Google Sheets Template Gallery; it doesn't let you upload templates or create a blank template.

  3. Open the custom template you've already created, and highlight all of its contents by either selecting everything manually or using the Ctrl+A or Command+A keyboard shortcut.

    Also copy the highlighted content, either from the menu or with Ctrl+C or Command+C.

    Copy menu command in Google Drive
  4. Return to the empty spreadsheet you made in Step 2 and paste the template's contents. You can do so with your keyboard via Ctrl+V or Command+V.

    Paste menu command in Google Drive

    Make sure to select the cell at which you want the paste to take place. For example, if you copied literally everything from the spreadsheet, then select the small square to the left of A and above 1 to highlight everything, and then paste from there.

  5. Name the new template something recognizable.

    Spreadsheet named
  6. Select the Google Sheets icon from the upper left corner of the window to return to Google Sheets.

Using Your Custom Templates

This is where it gets tricky. You’d think you should simply open the newly created template and get to work. While that's true, the moment you edit the original template, you'll no longer have that unaltered template available for use again in the future.

The best way around this is to make a copy each time you want to use the template. After all, that's what a template is for; the original needs to be kept unedited so that it can serve as a template.

To do that, right-click or tap-and-hold the template you just made and then choose Make a copy.

Make a copy menu command in Google Sheets

If you want, rename the copy to something else and even move the copy out of the templates folder so that you don't accidentally work with the template directly.