How To Create Documents Using Google Templates

Templates are one of the easiest ways to save time while creating new documents based on a predefined designs that people might use repeatedly.

For example, creating an expense report based on a template might save someone a lot of time instead of making it from scratch. We will show you how to set up a new document based on a template using Google Docs. The principals are the same regardless of what software or cloud document service you use.

To start you will need a Google Docs account. If you have a Gmail account or your company/web site has Google Apps for Your Domain set up. We will assume that you have one or the other. For this How To we will use the publicly available Gmail version. It should look the same on a Google Apps account.

Log into your account and select the “Documents” link near the top towards the left side.


Now select the “Create new” drop down box and click “From template…” at the bottom.


A new window will open showing you all the “Template Gallery” which has three tabs as follows:

  • Public Templates – those available to all Google Docs users
  • Templates I’ve Used – those you have used before; this will be blank unless you have created a new document from a template before
  • My Templates – these are templates you create; it too will be blank unless you have made your own template in the past

Along the left side is a list of filters which will narrow down the kinds of templates that are available. For example, the top section filters by those that are “Hottest”, “Most users” and “Highest rating”. Below that are types of templates – documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings – which corresponds to the various modules of Google Docs. The best filters are on the bottom as they are categorized by purpose. For example, there are templates for Calendars & Schedules, Personal Finance, and many others.

Now lets select the category Students and Teachers at the bottom. My wife is a teacher, so she might wish to use one of these. All the templates that fit that category will be listed. There are a bunch of them so you may still want to filter by type. Select Document and Highest rating to narrow the list down more.


In each template there is a thumbnail of it, the title of the template and it’s creator, with the rating below the title. There are other links for rating the template yourself, embedding it on your own site by copying the code that is displayed when the link is clicked, and the a link to report abuse in case the template is something that is inappropriate. The description gives an idea of what the template does.

The above Reading Notes Template is one we might want to use so we can click “Preview” to see a sample. If you like it then click the “Use this template” button.

If you don’t see the template on your list, it is simple to find. Just do a search in the “Search Templates” box at the top.


The template will be open in your account. You can now edit it the way you want. For example our chosen template has fields marked by brackets.


We can replace “[AuthorLasName]” with the name of the author of the book we are taking notes about. Continue till you have all the other content changed. Then use the template as it was designed.

This is a very simple template. Others are more complex. But there are so many templates. If you wish you can create your own and even submit it by clicking on the “Submit a template” link in the upper right.

Here is a short video showing you how to use templates in Google Docs:

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