Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Creating Google Drive Templates

Creating Google Drive Templates

This post contains outdated information. You can now add templates by going to docs.google.com or slides.google.com.

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If you use Google Drive you will want to use the template gallery. http://drive.google.com/templates 

The template gallery has many templates for resumes, lesson planning, presentations, and more. Choose to “Use this template” or “Preview” the template. Choosing “Use this template” will make a COPY of the template.

Preview Link

By choosing “Preview” not only can you get a close up view of the document, but the URL in preview mode allows for sharing of the template. Copy the URL (Try control L to select the URL and control C to copy it). Post the link to the classroom website for students to link to the document template and use it.

Create a Document

While it is nice that so many documents are available as templates, creating your own graphic organizers and templates in the template gallery can ensure that quality and style of the template is exactly what you want your students to have.

In your Google Drive create a document of any type. This can be a drawing, or spreadsheet, etc… I created this document, you will notice it is not a template, it is my actual document. If you wanted to utilize this document you would need to use the File menu and make a copy.

Google Drive

After creating the document go to your Google Drive and locate the document. Check mark next to the document and find the “More” button above the document list. Choose “Submit to template gallery.”

Template Gallery

The document does not appear in the template gallery right away. Once the document is added to the gallery you can find it at http://drive.google.com/templates under “My Templates.” Again clicking on “Preview” of the template and copying the URL from preview mode will allow you to share the template with your students.

Click Here to link to my template of the same document as above.


The advantage to sharing a template from the template gallery over sharing a link to the document is you can avoid the mistake of not making the document visible. Occasionally I will share a link to a document with students only to be told that the document is private. This can be an inconvenience for both the students and myself.

Another advantage is that students do not always know or remember to make a copy of a document when presented with a graphic organizer. When given a link to a template in the template gallery, the student is presented with a button to “Use this template,” creating a copy in their own Google Drive. The confusion and need for additional directions is reduced.

Note that when changes are made to the master document in my Google Drive the template in the template gallery is automatically uploaded. This is a relief considering I hardly have anything that does not have a typo in the first draft or can not be improved once students start using it. The students copies will not be updated if the master document is updated, once the copy is made it is fixed to that revision. However, future copies will reflect the updates.

15 thoughts on “Creating Google Drive Templates

  1. Hi Alice,
    Thanks for this post.

    I have been using google templates for quite a while, and if memory serves, back in the day, when I clicked on the orange-red “CREATE” button, one option was to create from a template. Alas, that is no longer available, so you have to go through an additional step of creating a document first and THEN from your “FILE” menu, select “NEW” and get to the templates from there. A bit of a pain, if you ask me. So, I have just made the Google Docs Templates URL a bookmark on my bookmark toolbar, so that I can go straight to the template gallery. Saves time, especially since some of the templates I use on a daily basis.

      1. Yeah. I know that we couldn’t directly create a template; I was referring to the practice of accessing and USING a pre-existing template through the CREATE button. Cheers, M

  2. Mark – Click Create > Connect more apps – search for the word template – you’ll find the Drive Template Gallery app, which brings back the old functionality.

  3. I am trying to get a google doc, sheet, form…something, that would allow my teachers to submit a lesson plan template that we have created, but I do not know what the best format would be to use. It will have a series of pull-downs with standards, strategies, etc. I, as the principal, want to be able to see see each. We used Google Docs last year but it was an open format where they submitted their own version.
    Can you give me some insight as to what may be the best way to do this?

  4. I want a template to give my students and I am not seeing a drop down. I have watched multiple videos, and we are trying to go paperless. Please help

  5. I would like to use templates as a means for enrolling new students and new employees. We need a checklist of what needs to be done for each student and teacher like name, grade, room assignment, internet accounts set up etc. i understand how to create the template and send the link to the needed users, but is there a way to control where all the checklists are saved? Right now when the user gets the template it’s saved on their personal Drive. If I want to see the info they’ve filled out they have to share it with me.

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