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How to create and use templates in Google Docs

Android Police 1/28/2023 Rachit Agarwal
© Provided by Android Police

A blank page with a blinking cursor is more intimidating than many people realize. Most of us need some help to get started, and that's where the built-in templates in Google Docs come to the rescue. Whether you want to write a letter, create your resume, or jot down meeting notes, the templates in Google Docs provide you with a beginning you can build upon.

The best part about this feature is that it's available on both mobile and desktop devices. So, whether you use Google Docs on your laptop or one of the shiny new Chromebooks, you can use this feature to improve your workflow. Let's find out how to create and use templates in Google Docs.

How to create templates in Google Docs

Google Docs lets users create and upload custom templates, but not all users can use this feature. The custom template feature is only available for Business Standard and Business Plus users, along with educational and non-profit accounts. You can check the complete list of supported accounts by visiting the Google Help Center page.

If your Google Workspace account is supported, but you still don't see the custom templates feature, it means your account admin has disabled this feature. To resolve this issue, contact your account admin and ask them to enable this feature. If you are an account admin, open the Admin console, click the hamburger menu, and go to Apps > Google Workspace > Drive and Docs > Templates to enable this feature for users.

Once your account satisfies all the requirements, you can create custom templates. To create custom templates, create your template file or files in Google Docs. Then, ensure that the Templates gallery option is available on your Google Docs homepage. If you don't see it, open the hamburger menu and use the Settings panel to enable it.

  1. Open Google Docs in your browser and click Templates gallery.
  2. Select your organization's name and choose the Submit template option.
  3. Click the Select a document button to select the template file you created.
  4. Select the template file and click the Open button.
  5. Name the template and give it a category. You can also choose to submit a copy of the file instead of the original file. Click the Submit button to save your template.

How to use templates in Google Docs

Apart from the custom templates you created, you can also access more than 50 built-in templates focusing on different writing assignments, including letters, essays, class notes, resumes, and office work. The good news is that these templates are available to both Google Workspace and free Google account users. So, even if you use a personal Gmail account, you can use these templates.

How to open a template in Google Docs on the web

  1. Open Google Docs in a browser and hover your cursor over the Add (+) button in the lower-right corner.
  2. Click the template button to open the Templates gallery.
  3. Alternatively, open the Google Drive app in your browser and click the New button.
  4. Click the Add (+) button and choose Google Docs > From a template.
  5. To use your custom template, select your organization name and choose the template you want to use.
  6. Go to the General tab to access the built-in templates. If your account doesn't support custom templates, the General tab is the only option you see.
  7. Edit the template to suit your needs.

How to add a template on Android

You can use the same steps on your Android device to start a document with a template. Click the Add (+) button in the lower-right corner and select the Choose template button to start.

How to add a template to an open Google Docs file

You can also insert a template in an open Google Docs blank document.

  1. Open a Google Docs document and click the File menu.
  2. Hover your cursor over New and select the From template gallery option.
  3. You will see the same Template gallery as before. Choose the template you want to use.
  4. Start editing it as per your needs.

How to show the Template gallery on the Google Docs homepage

You can also show the Template gallery on the Google Docs homepage to access the templates Google offers.

  1. Open the Google Docs homepage and click the hamburger menu in the upper-left corner.
  2. Click the Settings menu.
  3. Enable the checkbox below the Templates heading and click the OK button to save changes.
  4. The Google Docs homepage shows you the Templates gallery. Click the drop-down button to access the templates, including your custom templates.

How to create a Google Docs custom template with a personal Google account

If you use a personal Google account or one of the Google Workspace accounts that doesn't support custom templates, you can use a workaround to use templates in Google Docs. It won't be as easy and requires some extra steps, but it's better than re-creating documents again and again.

  1. Open the Google Docs web app and start a blank document.
  2. Enter a document name in the name field. A good practice is to include the word "template" in the file name to make it easily identifiable.
  3. Create a folder to save all your templates in one place. Click the Move icon and choose the New Folder option.
  4. Give it an identifiable name and click the blue checkmark.
  5. Select the Move here button to save your template file.
  6. Enter your template content and save it.
  7. Next time you want to use this template, open Google Drive in your web browser and locate the template folder you created.
  8. Open the folder, and right-click on the template you want to use.
  9. Select the Make a copy option to create a copy of your template.
  10. Drag and move the file outside your template folder.
  11. Click to open the file, rename it, and start working.
  12. Alternatively, to use the template you created, open the Google Docs homepage and locate the template file you created.
  13. Open the template and use the File menu to make a copy of your template document.
  14. Rename the new file and use the folder option to choose a location outside your template folder.
  15. Click the Make a copy button to save the new document and start working on it.

Create and use templates in Google Docs

We wish that Google allowed Google Docs users to create real templates that are accessible from anywhere in the app. That way, users wouldn't have to resort to copying and renaming documents. However, we are stuck with this method until the company decides to do so.

If you want to learn more about Google Docs' other features, like creating and inserting signatures, adding page numbers, and more, check out our article on Google Docs tips and tricks.

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