How to Create Spreadsheet Templates in Excel

Save time and avoid repeating work

Saving an Excel spreadsheet as a template, as depicted by woman's hands at laptop with spreadsheet on the screen

In Microsoft Excel, spreadsheet templates help users save time if they're creating the same type of file repeatedly, such as a weekly log or expense report. A template file is saved with a different file extension and is used to create new files with the same features, content, and settings.

Here's a look at the types of content and formatting you can save in an Excel template and how to create a new template.

Instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and 2007, as well as Excel for Office 365 and Excel for Mac.

Content and Formatting in a Template

A template can hold a variety of text features, such as page titles, row and column labels, section headings, and more. Save data, including text and numbers. A template can also house graphics, such as shapes, logos, and images, as well as formulas to be reused in new workbooks.

Fonts, text sizing, and color are formatting options you can save to an Excel template. More formatting options include background fill color, column widths, number and date formats, alignment, and the number of default sheets in a workbook.

More advanced features can be saved to a template, as well. This includes locked cells, hidden rows or columns, or worksheets containing information that is not for general access. Macros can be saved to a template, as can custom toolbars.

Create Spreadsheet Templates in Excel

Excel 2013 and Later

If you’re saving a workbook to a template for the first time, start by setting the default personal templates location:

  1. Select File > Options.

  2. Select Save in the menu list.

    Excel 365 save options for setting a default custom template location
  3. Locate Default personal template location about halfway down the page.

  4. Type in the directory where you'll save your custom templates, such as Documents\Custom Office Templates.

  5. Select Save. Now, all custom templates you save to the My Templates folder automatically appear under Personal on the New page (File > New).

After you set the default personal templates location you can save a workbook as a template:

  1. Open the workbook you want to save as a template and make any adjustments you want.

  2. Select File > Export.

  3. Under Export, select Change File Type.

  4. In the Workbook File Types box, double-click Template.

  5. In the File name box, type the name you want to use for the template

  6. Select Save and then close the template. It's now available for use anytime you need it.

To create a new workbook based on your template, Select File > New > Personal, and then select the template you just created.

Excel 2010 and Excel 2007

The functionality for template creation is a little different with Excel 2010 and 2007.

  1. Open the workbook that you want to use as a template.

  2. Select File > Save As.

  3. In the Save as type box, select Excel Template, or click Excel Macro-Enabled Template if the workbook contains macros that you want to make available in the template.

  4. Select Save.

The template is automatically placed in the Templates folder and will be available when you want to use it to create a new workbook.

Excel for Mac

Edit the workbook until you have made all the changes you want to see in the template, and then select File > Save as Template. Name the template and save it. The template is now available for all new documents.

There are many free Excel templates available on the web, so you don't always have to create your own.