Is there any way in Google Docs to specify a default document template that all my new documents are based on?

Like most of the metric world, I don't use the legal paper size. I also generally don't print my documents much so I don't need 1 foot margins.

  • If you're also looking to set default styles for your font and size, directions are here: support.google.com/docs/answer/… (I came across this page when looking for my answer, so I thought I'd help others out looking for the same.)
    – Dinnae
    Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 23:49
  • Google Docs have changed a lot since this question was posted. Now Google Docs are pageless, users of consumer accounts can't submit templates, etc. Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 18:25

3 Answers 3


Create a template in the gallery/repository and select them as the basis when making a new document.

  1. Create your document and lay out the elements on the page
  2. Save this document under a name you can remember or sets it apart as a template.
  3. Go to the menu: Create new > From template...
  4. Select the "My Templates" tab
  5. Click Submit a template
  6. Select the document you just created as the template you want to use and share.

Next time you want to create a new document based on a template, you'll go back to the Template Gallery and select it from there.

To speed the last step for next time, note the URL that appears in your browser when you open up the template. It will look something like this:


Make a bookmark out of that. Next time you hit that address you'll load up the document. That's as default as you can get right now.

Keep in mind that while other people using Google Docs will also be able to use your template for their documents, they will not be able to edit it.

  • 2
    Thanks. How do I make that template the default? ie. So I don't have to jump through hoops to use it every time.
    – CAD bloke
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 0:53
  • You can't make default. But you can open it up next time via a bookmark. @cad Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 2:58
  • You could also bookmark https://docs.google.com/document/d/<TEMPLATE_ID>/copy which will ask you to create a new copy of the template to start a new doc. Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 10:13

It's been recently changed, now you:

  • Create a new document
  • Click File > Page setup
  • Change the paper size to A4
  • Change the margins as appropriate.
  • Click "Set as default"
  • Click OK

Job done!

Full details are in the official documentation at http://support.google.com/docs/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=183618

  • 1
    You can also do this process with an existing document. Thanks for answering. :)
    – CAD bloke
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 1:26
  • 1
    That is not template, but it helps. Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 10:01
  1. duplicate this document Google Docs Style Template - Arial or create one with the following lines, each formatted according to its name. (i.e. Title is formatted as a Title from the drop down, The word Subtitle is formatted as a Subtitle)
    1. Title
    3. Heading 1
    4. Heading 2
    5. Heading 3
    6. Heading 4
    7. Heading 5
    8. Heading 6
    9. Normal Body Text
  2. Edit each line so that is it using the Font, size, color, italics, bold, highlighting, etc that you wish.
  3. After you've edited the Title line, right click on it and select, "Update 'Title' to match"
  4. Repeat for all the other lines, updating them to match the appropriate Subtitle, Heading 1, 2, etc
  5. Under Insert > Headers & Footers add a header & or Footer to add any logos, phone number, webpage, etc you want on every page.
  6. Under Insert > Page Numbers
  7. Under File > Page setup select Orientation, Paper size, margins and color as needed. Click Save as default
  8. Under Paragraph styles > Options > Save as my default styles
  9. (Optional) if you need to share this template with other employees, Under File > Publish to the Web select the option that fits your need, see https://support.google.com/docs/answer/183965 for more details on Publish to Web.

As of Jan 18, 2021, these steps will set the style for the current & future documents but not for existing documents.

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