Cloud

How to create files faster with G Suite templates

Templates can reduce repetitive work and increase document content consistency. Here's how G Suite Business and Education admins can manage custom templates for the enterprise.

Illustration of mobile new document and "Choose document" template button
Image: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic

When you notice that you've done a few document tasks twice, it might be time to create a custom template. In my case, I realized that every time I created a new set of Google Slides, I would change the font, adjust the title and end page layouts, and add contact information. I also often create slides with unusual aspect ratios (e.g., square or vertical slides for viewing on phone screens in portrait mode.) By creating a Slides template, I saved myself a few minutes of work on each presentation.

Templates also help standardize work and create repeatable processes. A spreadsheet template provides not only a consistent style, but a consistent checklist of items as well. For example, an IT project spreadsheet template might include a list of hardware, software, service, support, and staffing items. As costs and considerations change, update the template. Anyone who creates a new spreadsheet from the template gets the benefit of the latest content along with consistent formatting.

Screenshot of Google Drive > New > Google Docs > From a Template menu

In your desktop browser, choose New, select Docs, Sheets, or Slides, then choose "From a template" to create a new file from a G Suite template.

Google provides a set of standard templates to anyone who uses Docs, Sheets, or Slides. To view these standard templates, choose Create New from the Google Drive menu on your desktop. Or, in the Docs, Sheets, or Slides mobile app on your iOS or Android device, tap the red button in the lower right corner, then tap Choose template. The standard templates include a variety of work-related documents such as brochures, proposals, reports, invoices, budgets, purchase orders, and expense reports.

Screenshot of "Submit a template" dialog box on Template gallery page

If your organization allows, G Suite users can submit Docs, Sheets, and Slides as templates.

G Suite customers can also create and share custom templates. In a desktop browser, access your organization's templates at the following URLs:

From the template gallery page you can choose a template to use or submit a template to share. Templates you submit can be used by other people in the organization.

In G Suite Business and Education editions, an administrator can manage who may submit templates. To control the template settings, a G Suite Business or Education edition administrator will need to login to the Admin console (https://admin.google.com), select Apps > G Suite > Drive and Docs > Templates.

Screenshot of Google Drive template settings options

A G Suite administrator can manage template submissions and modify template categories.

Most small organizations will prefer to leave things Open, which allows any G Suite user to add a custom template. Larger organizations might prefer either Moderated or Restricted modes, to ensure that templates appropriately reflect the organization's brand or content standards. These latter two settings place a Docs Templates administrator in charge of templates. In moderated mode, a Docs Templates administrator must approve templates before they appear—but any G Suite user may still submit a template. In Restricted mode, only an administrator with Docs Templates permissions may submit a template.

Screenshot of G Suite admin roles showing "Docs Templates" permissions setting

Some organizations may want to give specific people the power to moderate or submit templates. To do this, modify the Drive Template settings, then add the 'Docs Templates' permission to the roles assigned to selected users.

Additionally, a G Suite administrator can enable Docs Templates permissions for Admin roles. To do this, login to the Admin console (https://admin.google.com) and select Admin Roles. Then, either create a new role—or select an existing role—then browse to the role Privileges, and look for Drive and Docs with the Docs Templates permission. Make sure the box is checked. Any user assigned to a role with the Docs Templates permissions may either approve or submit G Suite docs templates for organizational use.

Finally, in the Docs, Sheets, and Slides mobile apps you can create new documents from standard templates, but not custom templates (as of mid-May 2017). There's a work-around, though: Create a new, blank document from a custom template on your desktop browser and save it to Google Drive. From your mobile device, open Google Drive, find the document, tap the three dot menu (to the right of your file), then choose Make a copy (or, in some cases, Send a copy). Save the copy to Google Drive, then rename the newly created file and edit it as needed.

If you use the standard G Suite templates, which templates do you use? And if you use custom templates, what sorts of document templates are most helpful? Tell us in the comments.

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About Andy Wolber

Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.

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