How to Quickly Create a Custom Excel Template to Save Time

Dann Albright 04-03-2016

Excel templates are universally useful — they can help you keep your finances in order 15 Excel Spreadsheet Templates for Managing Your Finances Always keep track of your financial health. These free Excel spreadsheet templates are the tools you need to manage your money. Read More , manage a project 10 Powerful Excel Project Management Templates for Tracking Free project management templates are the best. Get these key Microsoft Excel spreadsheet templates for tracking any project. Read More , and organize your life 10 Amazingly Useful Spreadsheet Templates to Organize Your Life Is your life a mess of missed deadlines, forgotten shopping, and broken commitments? Sounds like you need to get organized. Read More .


If you want to get the most out of Excel, you’ll need learn to create your own template Tips & Templates for Creating a Work Schedule in Excel Creating a work schedule is not easy. Excel can help you fit everyone's hours, meet minimums, and keep your team happy. We show you how and supply you with great templates. Read More . We’ll show you how to add fields and formulas that perfectly suit what you need Excel to do with your data.

Why Create a Custom Excel Template?

Excel templates can be used for just about anything. A lot of people use them for finances (you can make a template for a simple Excel budget 7 Useful Excel Sheets to Instantly Improve Your Family's Budget It's not always easy to set up a family budget, but these seven templates will give you the structure you need to get started. Read More , for example), but Excel has many other potential uses.

You could whip up a template to help you keep track of books and games you’ve loaned out each month, for example. Or to manage an invite list for regular parties. Even a custom calendar How to Make a Calendar Template in Excel You'll always need a calendar. We show you how to create your own custom template for free with Microsoft Excel. Read More that works especially well with your family’s schedule is a possibility.


You can choose from pre-made options, but if you know how to edit them or create your own from scratch, you’ll get even more out of Excel templates.


You’ll benefit most from creating a custom template, if you have to create the same spreadsheet over and over again, like a monthly report or a weekly calendar. But even if you only have to create a spreadsheet once a year, creating a template for it could save you some time.

How to Create an Excel Template from Scratch

For this example, we’ll create a custom Excel template from a blank worksheet. I’ll be making a monthly book lending spreadsheet to show you how the process works. Let’s get started!

Here’s the information I want represented in my spreadsheet: the name of the month, the name of the lent book, the person I lent it to, the date they took it, the date they promised it back, how many days they have left, and the number of books I currently have out:



The month, days left, and number of books that are currently out on loan have all been calculated using formulas 15 Excel Formulas That Will Help You Solve Real Life Problems Excel isn't only for business. Here are several Microsoft Excel formulas that will help you solve complex daily problems. Read More . Just to make sure it’s working, let’s put in some data.


The month is brought in correctly, the days left are accurately calculated, and the number of books out reflect the value in the “Returned?” column. Looks good.

How to Save Your Custom Template

After clearing out the information that doesn’t need to be there (books, lendees, and dates), we can save it as a template. Hit File > Save As and select Excel Template (.xltx) in the Format drop-down. The Where dropdown will automatically change to the My Templates folder, which is where you want it to be.



How to Open a Template

Now, when you want to open up a blank copy of the template, just go to File > New from Template, and select My Templates from the left sidebar.


(Depending on your version of Excel, this process might differ slightly, but it should be pretty easy to figure out how to open a template.)


Now you’ll have a fresh copy of the worksheet that you created and saved, ready to be used, and without having to create all of your column headers and formulas again.

Turn a Worksheet Into a Template

Creating a spreadsheet from scratch for a template is easy, but you can just as easily turn an existing sheet into a template. Just delete any information that you don’t want included in the template, leave everything else, and save it as a new template in the same way as explained above.


For example, if you download a personal budget spreadsheet, and it includes a line for a mortgage, but you don’t have a mortgage, you could delete that or replace it with something else and then save it as a template, saving you the time of customizing it every month. (Just be sure that anything you delete isn’t going to change how the included formulas work.)

Download & Customize Off-the-Shelf Templates

If you don’t have a worksheet you can turn into a custom template, you can also use an off-the-shelf template An Excel Template for Every Occasion Skip the steep learning curve and sort your life with the power of Excel templates. We have compiled a selection of auto-updating templates to track budgets, manage projects, and more. Read More  and customize it to your needs. You can find free templates under the following resources:

Microsoft Office also features free templates. In Excel, you see a selection of templates whenever you go to open a new document. You can use the search for online templates search box to find what you need. Or you can browse all templates available for Excel under

Your Best Excel Templates

As you can see, making an Excel template is an easy process that could save you a ton of time in the long run, especially if you find yourself recreating the same spreadsheet on a weekly or even daily basis.

What have you used custom Excel templates for? Share your best ideas so we can all save some time and be more efficient!

Image Credits:Hand holding a rubber stamp by RTimages via Shutterstock

Related topics: Microsoft Excel, Office Templates.

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