Now that Google’s Smart Canvas tools are widely available, I’m realizing things about Google Docs that I’ve never really cared about before. Generally, I use it for writing out my thoughts and less so for business documents. Well, that’s true now, but before this year, I did quite the opposite – I used Docs for lengthy formatted collaborative work and Keep for quickly capturing my ideas.
One of the things I’ve started doing is setting up a Doc with a bunch of special formatting and smart chips like a timer or stopwatch or perhaps dropdowns for classifications. I’ll use dropdowns, for instance, as categorization tools in my documents. If something is a thought, an idea, or something I’ve reflected on, or if a story fragment I’m fleshing out is an idea, a rough draft, a first pass in editing or if it’s a final draft, Google’s new tools are fantastic for quickly tagging them as such.
Some more uses for Google Docs Templates in your organization
Google Workspace Admin Help
- Promote your organization by creating branded templates for external-facing documents, such as proposals and reports, using any of the Docs editors.
- Get an instant format for invoices, budgets, expense reports, or schedules in Sheets.
- Make your sales pitch, case study, proposal, or status report stand out with a Slides presentation.
- Add signatures to an agreement, flowcharts to a process document, import metrics into a spreadsheet, and more with add-ons.
Supported editions for this feature: Business Standard and Business Plus; Enterprise; Education Fundamentals, Education Standard, Teaching and Learning Upgrade, and Education Plus; Enterprise Essentials Plus; Nonprofits; G Suite Basic and G Suite Business.
With so many unique, new possibilities, you’re probably going to want to avoid having to copy and paste these special items between documents, and quickly gain access to a premade format for different use cases such as the ones I’ve outlined above. Today, I’m going to show you how to take any Doc and turn it into a template that you can quickly launch which will help you do exactly that.
Before we get started, I want to make something clear – you must have a paid Workspace account in order to use this feature. Personal Google Accounts can’t perform this action, which makes me sad. I hope that in the future, Google lets standard account holders utilize the template feature, but unless you’re a tinkerer like me, it doesn’t really make much sense for someone not conducting business where it would be necessary to.
Last thing – go ahead and create a Document with a bunch of special smart chips, headers, perhaps even an image logo. Do whatever you’d like to duplicate for quick use before we start following the steps below. You’re going to want something to work with, right?
Accessing the Template gallery
Okay, let’s get started! First, visit Google Docs on the web. You should see a ‘Template gallery’ at the top just above your most recently created documents. Click the ‘Template gallery’ text itself at the top right to drop down all of the options. Here, you’ll see many pre-made templates that you can use for a wide array of use-cases. It’s worth noting that regular non-paying users can make use of these, they just can’t make their own custom templates like we’re about to do together.
Next, click over from the ‘General’ tab to the tab named after your organization. Here, you can see my game studio name at the top of the screenshot just below the page title. Once you’ve arrived there, you’ll see a ‘Submit template’ button at the top right. Click that to get a pop-up dialogue box with some options.
Submitting your own template
If you click the ‘Select a document’ button, you’ll be met with another window that asks you to select a file for use as a template. Go ahead and choose the file you recently created that has all of the great Smart Canvas features built-in. You should see it immediately as the first option since you’re starting out on the ‘Recent’ tab, but you can also browse different sections of your Google Drive using the tabs at the top or even via Search!
Clicking a file will reveal a blue ‘Open’ button at the bottom right that you can click to finalize your choice. Do keep in mind that any template you create will be accessible by anyone in your organization. You can also toggle the ‘Submit a copy of this file instead of the original’ option if you want to preserve the original file, but that’s entirely up to you. If you do though, you’ll be asked to give the copy its own unique name.
Lastly, click the ‘Category’ dropdown and select an appropriate category before tapping the blue ‘Submit’ button. You now have a template unique to your organization! You should see it appear immediately in the Template gallery tab named after your company as shown below. Now, you can immediately spin up another file using those exact elements without having to build them from scratch!
Finding your Templates
One important thing to keep in mind is that Google is working hard to bring ‘Custom Building Blocks’ to Docs over the next few months. This will allow you to create a dropdown or any other Smart Canvas element or smart chip in one file and call it up in any other document without having to copy and paste. Once this rolls out, they will appear under the ‘@’ menu, which is incredibly exciting for someone like me who is using these things religiously this month.
Let me know in the comments what kind of templates you have or create for your company, school, or organization that simply don’t exist in the default template gallery. I’d be interested in getting some more ideas for my own use cases and of course to see if this feature is being used much if at all by regular users.