Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Future of the Google Drive Template Gallery

Templates can be a helpful resource when creating a new document, slideshow, or spreadsheet. They can provide you with a starting point for a resume, report, budget, class presentation, or such.

This can be helpful for young students so they do not have to create an entire project from scratch but can start with the shell you provide and fill in their content. This can also be useful for older students to simply save time when completing a lab report or creating a tri-fold brochure.

For many years Google has provided templates for Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drawings. Recently though, Google has been maintaining two different template galleries: the old template gallery and the new template gallery, each with their own unique features.

Many of us have been wondering about the future of the template galleries. Would the old gallery be retired? If so, what would happen to all the old public templates? And what about the templates we loaded specifically for our domains?

Recently Google sent out an email to domain admins with information that helps to shed some light on what’s to come for the template galleries. See below for details.


The Old Template Gallery

For many years Google has provided a template gallery for Drive which can be found at:

https://docs.google.com/templates

This old template gallery has the following features:

  • A public portion of the gallery for templates shared with anyone in the world
  • A domain-specific portion of the gallery for templates only shared within your school or organization
  • Ability to add your own templates to the gallery
  • Ability to sort templates by popularity, most users, and highest rating
  • Ability to filter to show just Google Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Forms, or Drawings
  • Ability to filter by category, such as Business Forms, Calendar & Schedules, Planners, and such
  • Ability to type in a search term to find matching templates

Over time Google has de-emphasized the old gallery. You used to be able to get to the gallery from the “New” button in Google Drive, but that option was removed long before the new gallery appeared. Since then the only way to get to the old template gallery has been through the link above.

The New Template Gallery

Back in September of 2015, Google rolled out the new template gallery. Actually it was multiple new galleries, with a different gallery for each Google tool including Documents, Sheets, Slides, and Forms (but sadly none for Drawings).

You can get to the new template galleries in two ways:

First, you can open a Google file, and then click “File” then “New” then “From template...” This will open the template gallery for the specific program you are using.

Or secondly, you can go to the homepage for any of the Google tools. At the top of the pages will be a partial list of available templates. You can click the “MORE” link to see them all. The webpages for the tools are:



The new template gallery has the following features:

  • Currently only a limited number of templates are available.
  • The templates are designed by Google or Google-approved sources.
  • The templates are very professional.
  • Currently you are not able to add you own templates.
  • Currently there are not any templates for Google Drawings.


Google’s Announcement

So what do we know about the future of the template galleries? Well recently Google sent an email to domain admins explaining a change coming very soon. See below for the message from Google:

Subject: ACTION REQUIRED: New location and upcoming migration for custom Docs templates 
Hello Administrators, 
Your domain has 1 custom templates in [your domain's] Templates gallery. We’re phasing out the need for a separate gallery, allowing you to add custom templates for your organization directly in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms. In the coming months, unless you update your template migration preference, all of your organization’s custom templates in the current gallery will automatically move to Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms, alongside Google’s standard templates. 
If your templates are out-of-date, are no longer relevant to your organization, or if you’d like to start fresh, you can opt out of the migration until May 10, 2016, by updating your migration preference. 
When will my templates appear in Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms?
The launch won’t happen for several months, but we need to know before May 10 if don’t want your templates migrated.

If I do nothing, what will happen?
The templates that are in the current gallery will automatically be migrated and available to all your users in Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms later this year. In the meantime, you can continue to use the existing templates gallery.

Most of the templates are useful, but a few are out-of-date. What should I do?
You can remove the out-of-date templates today, or remove them after the templates are migrated.

Will other organizations be able to see my organization’s templates in Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms?
No. Your templates will be restricted to your organization and will only appear for your organization’s users. 
If you have additional questions or need assistance, please contact Google Support.
Sincerely,
The Google Apps Team

So what does this mean? The key points of the email seem to be:

  • Google is discontinuing the old template gallery.
  • Any custom templates that you add to the old gallery for your domain will be migrated over to the new template gallery.
  • The new template gallery is going to be updated with the ability to add your own custom templates for your domain.
  • All of this will happen in “several months”.


Conclusion

So it looks like Google is going to continue to add features that have been missing to the new template galleries. This is encouraging for schools who take advantage of the gallery to provide their staff and students with templates specific to their school or subject or grade for lesson plans, essays, lab notes, report slideshows, and more.

Hopefully one of the new features will be a template gallery for Google Drawings as well.

If you have used templates with your staff or students, feel free to share how they used them in the comments below.

12 comments:

  1. Because you can't really "Share" a Google Form without adding collaborators, adding them to the Template Gallery was the best way to make a form available to other users.

    Our district also utilizes the template gallery to distribute a custom built teacher observation tool in Sheets. The template is only available to employees in our our domain. We provide a direct link to the template in a tutorial so teachers don't have to search for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point about sharing Forms. Using the template gallery is an excellent solution to avoid making everyone an editor. Thanks!

      Delete
  2. I've started using the force copy trick instead of templates - change the URL of any Google doc/sheet/form/etc from 'edit' to 'copy.' When someone clicks on it it will force them to click a button to make a copy for their own account. Pretty nifty!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Eric!

    Great article. Thank you so much. Hope Google makes the change asap. The old gallery looks bad + is inconvenient to use.

    If they do update, please let us know.

    Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Really hope we can add custom templates to the new Google Docs / Sheets Templates Gallery etc. asap.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It seems that I am in a kind of 'Twilight Zone' as templates created in the old gallery will no longer automatically be migrated to the new gallery so I can't create new templates. At least, as I understand it. As most of my clients aren't tech savvy, workarounds are difficult for them. Seems this feature would be pretty important to a lot of folks and would have been included in the first iteration of the new gallery.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It seems that I am in a kind of 'Twilight Zone' as templates created in the old gallery will no longer automatically be migrated to the new gallery so I can't create new templates. At least, as I understand it. As most of my clients aren't tech savvy, workarounds are difficult for them. Seems this feature would be pretty important to a lot of folks and would have been included in the first iteration of the new gallery.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It seems that I am in a kind of 'Twilight Zone' as templates created in the old gallery will no longer automatically be migrated to the new gallery so I can't create new templates. At least, as I understand it. As most of my clients aren't tech savvy, workarounds are difficult for them. Seems this feature would be pretty important to a lot of folks and would have been included in the first iteration of the new gallery.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Looking at the admin panel / apps / drive / templates, they posted this message: "Template settings will be back later this year alongside an improved experience for your organization's templates"

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete