Templates – leveraging pre-built Excel workbooks

Don’t reinvent the wheel – use Templates!

Every Microsoft Office application leverages templates to help users achieve greater results faster and more efficiently. Excel also supports templates. Templates are Excel workbooks that have been pre-built for a specific purpose. Microsoft offers thousands of its own Excel templates that are free for you to use. If you were thinking of building an Excel workbook for a specific purpose chances are that a template already exists either from Microsoft or from another Excel user that has uploaded to the Internet to share with others. There are thousands of templates across hundreds of categories. The Featured Excel templates are the ones Microsoft offers. The Personal Excel templates are the ones you create yourself and save as an Excel template format.

Excel Templates
Excel Templates

Online, you don’t have to start from scratch if you start with a free template from Office.com. Choose from an assortment of templates like calendars, invoices, and budget planning. Try this now:

  1. Go to Office.com.
  2. Click Templates at the top of the page.
  3. On the Templates page, click Excel.
Excel Templates at Office.com
Excel Templates at Office.com

TIP: To see more templates, under BROWSE BY CATEGORY, click the category (like Calendars) that you want to see.

4. Click the template you want, click Open in Excel.

TIP: If you don’t like the name of the template (usually Book 1), click the name in the Excel Online title bar at the top of the page and type a different name.

Customize the Excel Workbook you created from a Template and save it as a new Personal Template

And once you have selected an Excel template to leverage you can start to customize it and make it your own. You can do branding by formatting it to fit within your organization’s style. To save an Excel workbook you created from a Microsoft Excel Template use the following steps.

Save a workbook as a template

If you’re saving a workbook to a template for the first time, start by setting the default personal templates location:

  1. Click File > Options.
  2. Click Save, and then under Save workbooks, enter the path to the personal templates location in the Default personal templates location box. This path is typically: C:\Users\[UserName]\Documents\Custom Office Templates.
Save as Excel Template
Save as Excel Template

3. Click OK.

Options you can set for saving workbooks

TIP: Once this option is set, all custom templates you save to the My Templates folder automatically appear under Personal on the New page (File > New).

4. Open the workbook you want to use as a template.

5. Click File > Export.

6. Under Export, click Change File Type.

7. In the Workbook File Types box, double-click Template.

8. In the File name box, type the name you want to use for the template.

9. Click Save, and then close the template.

Create a workbook based on the template

With the template you created above, you can now create a new workbook. This section tells you how to do that.

TIP: Alternately, you can browse for various online templates in Excel and use them instead. For more information, see Find and apply a template.

  1. Click File > New.
  2. Click Personal.
  3. Personal templates location Double-click the template you just created.
Leverage personal templates
Leverage personal templates

Excel creates a new workbook that is based on your template.

You just learned how to save yourself a lot of time creating more engaging workbooks by leveraging Excel workbooks. And remember you can pretty much receive the same benefits by leveraging Microsoft Office Word or Power Point templates as well. So don’t reinvent the wheel – leverage Office templates instead and get up and running faster.

image sources

  • Excel Templates: Arnold Villeneuve
  • Excel Templates at Office.com: Arnold Villeneuve
  • Save as Excel Template: Arnold Villeneuve
  • Leverage personal templates: Arnold Villeneuve

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