How to Create a Free Google Slides Template

Working with custom templates in the free version of Google Slides

If you use the free version of Google’s tools, you cannot instantly use your custom templates. However, with a bit of work, you can use customized templates created with LibreOffice or MS Office. Although you’ll find multiple templates in the Slides Template Gallery, those are still somewhat limited. With a bit of time and creativity, you can add your own Slides templates.

What You’ll Need To Create a Google Slides Template

Screenshot of the Google Slides Template Gallery.

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 a supported format. If you don’t have software like LibreOffice, you’re not out of luck. Instead, you can modify one of the free templates from the Google Slides Template library.

Because Google Slides doesn’t support MS Office file format, you’ll have to save those files with a specific file extension.

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

    Google template gallery
  2. Edit the template to suit your needs.

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

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

    Name field for Google presentation
  4. Modify the design to fit your needs. After the changes have been made, the new template will be saved in My Drive.

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

Creating a Templates Folder

Because we cannot add new templates to the Slides Template Gallery, what we want to do is create a new folder that will house our customized templates.

  1. Open Google Drive and select New + in the upper-left corner.

    New in Google Drive
  2. From the popup menu, select Folder.

    Folder in New menu in Google Drive
  3. In the resulting popup, name the folder Slides Template and select Create. You now have a folder to house your presentation templates. Double-click to enter that folder.

    Adding Templates

    There are two ways you can do this:

    • Modifying one of the default templates in the Slides Template Gallery.
    • Uploading one of your locally-created custom templates.

    Use External Templates in Google Slides

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

  4. Create the new custom template in your locally-installed application.

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

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

    Screenshot of saving a LibreOffice presentation in the .odp file format.
  7. Name your presentation template something fitting for its usage.

  8. Go to the Google Drive Slides Presentation folder.

  9. Click + and then click File upload.

  10. Locate the newly created presentation file and upload it to the folder.

Using Your Custom Templates

Now that you’ve created or uploaded your new templates, you can’t just open them and start adding content. If you do that, those templates are no longer templates, but regular presentation files. Instead, do the following:

  1. Navigate into 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