Image: Jack Wallen

Update: It looks like there is an issue with the built-in ONLYOFFICE document server on Nextcloud 19. I’ve made the developers aware of this. If you’re having problems with the ONLYOFFICE feature, hopefully the devs will resolve the issue asap.

With that said, the developers of the on-premise cloud solution Nextcloud are at it again. With the latest release of Nextcloud Hub (version 19), a new feature has been added that should have many users giddy with excitement.

Maybe “giddy” is a bit hyperbolic, but what they’ve added does go a long way to help make the ONLYOFFICE portion of Nextcloud a cloud-based office suite that anyone could adopt as their go-to.

The new feature is templates.

I know, it’s boring. Templates aren’t something that’ll make the everyday user rush out of their quarantined home office, toss devil horns into the air, and shout, “Huzzah, my cloud solution rocks!”

Or maybe templates will have you that excited. If so, awesome. If not, they’re still an incredibly handy feature to have in an office suite. In fact, some users might say templates are a make or break feature.

Why? Because templates make it such that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You create the perfect document or spreadsheet, one that can be used over and over again. That’s efficiency. Now that Nextcloud includes a template feature, you can bet the ONLYOFFICE suite is even more likely to be an attractive option for those having to work from home.

I’m going to show you how to use the new Nextcloud ONLYOFFICE template feature.

SEE: Serverless computing: A guide for IT leaders (TechRepublic Premium)

What you’ll need

In order to use the new template feature, you must be using Nextcloud version 19. You’ll also need a template or two to use, so before you attempt to work with this feature, make sure to get your templates ready. If you need, you might find a few valuable templates in the TechRepublic Tools & Templates section.

The one caveat to the templates feature is that all templates must be in the Open Document Template file format. So your files must be .odt (document), .ots (spreadsheet), or .otp (presentations). You cannot upload a template in the MS Office format.

With those bits in hand, let’s see how the template feature works.

How to upload a template

The first thing you must do is upload your templates. I’ll show you how to do this in two different ways. The first is on a user-by-user case.

To do this, log in to your Nextcloud instance and navigate to the Files root directory. All templates must be uploaded to the Document directory, so navigate into that folder and click the + button. Click Upload File. Locate the template file(s) you want to upload, select them, and upload them.

To add global templates, you must be logged in as an admin user. Click on the profile icon in the upper-right corner and click Settings. In the resulting window, scroll down until you see Collabora Online Development Edition in the left sidebar. Click that entry and then scroll down until you see Global templates (Figure A).

Figure A

Adding a global template to Nextcloud 19.

Click the + button and, in the resulting window, navigate to the template you want to upload. Once you’ve uploaded a global template, it’ll be available to all users.

After you have all of your templates uploaded, you are ready to use the feature.

How to create a document from a template

Now that you’ve uploaded your templates, it’s time to use them. To create a new file from a template, click the + button and then click the type of file you want to create. Once you’ve named the file, and click the right-pointing arrow, you’ll get to select from your uploaded templates (Figure B).

Figure B

Selecting a document template in Nextcloud 19.

Select the template you want to use and click Create. Your new document will open, ready for work.

As I mentioned at the top of the article, this feature is very much a work in progress. You might find it works perfectly out of the box, or you might find it incapable of functioning with your templates. My guess is with the next update, the developers will have the template option working seamlessly.