Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Sharing a Google Spreadsheet Template in 5 Easy Steps

Sharing a Google Spreadsheet Template in 5 Easy Steps


It is no secret that I love spreadsheets.  However, I also love to share my spreadsheets.  If you share a Google doc with viewing rights users have to use the file menu to create their own copy if they want to edit it or have it for themselves.  Google Sheets has a nifty trick that allows you to share your spreadsheets and to automatically create a copy.

Example: Click Here to link to a template for creating a self grading rubric.

Notice when you click on the above link you are prompted to make a copy of the document.  This is relatively easy to do and is great for sharing your spreadsheet work with colleagues or more importantly with students.

Having students create spreadsheets has so many practical applications for any subject area.  Just using it to organize text is incredibly useful, let alone having it set up as a graphic organizer or template with project requirements already organized for the student.  Sharing the link to create their own copy will allow for the teacher to more quickly and easily get students to work.

Step 1: Create a Google Spreadsheet or a Google Form that uses a spreadsheet as the response destination.

Step 2: Click on the blue share button in the upper right hand corner to make the spreadsheet visible by anyone with the link.

Step 3: Modify the spreadsheet URL.

Notice at the end of the URL you have #gid=0 or #gid=24 or #gid=a number
The #gid= is the reference code to the tab the spreadsheet is displaying.  Notice if you click on different tabs the #gid= displays a different number.

Remove the #gid=0 from the end of the URL.

Step 4: Replace #gid=0 with &newcopy

Original: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AiqrAI5UxSJNdE93dHAyTmNXVE9Bd0w2ZGg4TTViREE#gid=0

New: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AiqrAI5UxSJNdE93dHAyTmNXVE9Bd0w2ZGg4TTViREE&newcopy

Step 5: Share this new link with students.
Suggestion to use a URL shortener such as http://goo.gl to create a short URL that students can more easily type into their computer to access the spreadsheet template.  http://goo.gl also creates a QR code automatically for the teacher to possibly make it easier for students to obtain the template on their mobile devices.

Shortened URL: http://goo.gl/Lnn3z

For more information on QR codes visit: https://alicekeeler.com/qr

A big thank you to Mark Hammons @mhammons for showing me this trick.

16 thoughts on “Sharing a Google Spreadsheet Template in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Alice,
    Thanks so much for sharing! I think that this is a great idea! I did find that I share a lot of spreadsheets with people outside my domain. If that is the case (e.g. maybe your students are in a different domain than your teachers), then instead of seeing the #gid=0, they will see &usp=sharing. If you remove the- &usp=sharing (up to the document’s ID), then put in the &newcopy, then you can make it a template to share outside your domain and it will automatically create a copy for that person. Thanks again for the great idea!

  2. Alice: you are brilliant!!! Thanks for sharing, you have made it so easy for me to create template documents that other Drive users can use – thanks for sharing

  3. Alice – this is amazing. Thanks for sharing any ideas on how to do this for google docs or presentations. This will be a huge time saver at our school. Thanks again.

  4. Thanks for sharing Alice. I am going to recommend this method to my teachers when needing to share Google sheets to their students. We are a 1:1 iPad program my school and making a copy of a template file in the Google Drive iPad app is not possible. I created a web app to make this possible for the teachers when it comes to documents but I would love to make it as easy as just clicking a provided link. Here is the process of my script outlined below in case anyone might find use in it:

    1. Students would copy a teacher provided File ID:

    Example File ID: 1KchgMefB_QvWPznC7xCW5VsY_bewzOl80MfqCiIdrYA

    2. Then proceed to the CopyDoc website and sign in using your MBUSD Apps login info.

    CopyDoc Website URL: http://goo.gl/8iX1Ed

    3. PASTE the file ID into the text box.

    4. Click CopyDoc.

    5. Switch to your iPad Google Drive app. The copied file should now be available for them to edit and share.

  5. I am trying to do this with a FORM file original. It works with a spreadsheet, but I want the original form I created to be used by others. Basically I need other people to be the creator so that new data is stored in their own drive account.

    1. I am also trying to do this. The best I have done is save it as a template in our school’s group, but it’s not clear how to then share that template with others.

  6. Hi Alice. Thanks so much for sharing. Have you found any way to share “new” Google sheets in template form? Desperately seeking a solution.

  7. Alice. Thanks so much for sharing. Quick question for you: When I clicked on the “Example: Click Here” link in your post above, I got to a screen which prompted me to create a “new copy of this spreadsheet? This copy will appear in your spreadsheet list. Yes, make a copy.”

    Is there a trick to doing that? I followed all your instructions but can’t seem to get that interim page? Thanks so much for your help.

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