How to Create a Free Google Slides Template

Working with custom templates in the free version of Google Slides

What to Know

  • Open Google Drive. Select New+ > Folder. Name the folder Slides Templates and select Create. Create a template on your PC.
  • Click File > Save as > ODF Presentation (.odp) and name it. Go to the Google Drive Slides Templates folder. Click + > File upload.
  • In the Slides Templates folder, right-click the template. Choose Make a copy. Rename it and make changes.

This article explains how to create and use free templates for Google Slides, either by creating them in software on your computer and uploading them in the ODP format or by modifying existing templates in the Slides Template Gallery.

How to Create External Templates for Google Slides

Unlike working with Google Docs and Google Sheets, you cannot simply copy and paste the contents of a locally-created customized presentation into a Google Slides file. Instead, upload them in the supported .odp format. With a bit of work, you can use customized templates created with LibreOffice or MS Office.

Because you cannot add new templates to the Slides Template Gallery, you first need to create a new folder that will house the customized templates.

To create a locally-created customized template, do the following:

  1. Open Google Drive. Select New+ > Folder. Name the folder Slides Templates and select Create. This only has to be done once.

  2. Create a new custom template in your locally-installed application.

  3. When finished, click File > Save as (or type Ctrl + Shift + A).

  4. Select ODF Presentation (.odp) as the file format.

    ODF extension selected for file

    Because Google Slides doesn’t support MS Office file format, you have to save the files with the .odp file extension.

  5. Name your presentation template something fitting for its usage.

  6. Go to the Google Drive Slides Templates folder.

  7. Click + and then click File upload.

    File upload option for Google Slides
  8. Locate the newly created template file and upload it to the folder.

How to Use Your Custom Templates

Now that you’ve created and uploaded your new template, you can’t just open it and start adding content. If you do that, the template is no longer a template, but regular presentation file. Instead, do the following:

  1. Open your Slides Templates folder.

  2. Right-click the template you want to work with.

  3. Choose Make a copy. This will create a copy of the template you want to use. The new spreadsheet will appear in the Slides Templates folder and the filename will start with Copy of.

    Make a Copy in Google Drive right-click menu
  4. Right-click the file name and then click Rename. Give the presentation a unique name, and you can then open it and begin adding content. Since you made a copy of the original presentation template, the template is still intact and can be copied as many times as needed.

    Rename in Google Drive right-click menu

    How to Create a Template From a Google Slides Template

    If you don’t have software like LibreOffice to make your own custom templates, you’re not out of luck. Instead, you can modify one of the free templates in the Slides Template Gallery

  5. Open one of the templates from the Google Slides Template Gallery.

    Google Slides Template Gallery
  6. Edit the template to suit your needs.

  7. Rename the template by selecting the current name (in the upper-left corner) and typing a new one.

    Template name highlighted

    Give the new template a fitting name, such as Workflow Template or Project Template.

  8. Modify the design to fit your needs. After the changes are made, the new template is saved in My Drive.

    Don’t add content to the template at this time.

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