As freelancers or small business owners, we've got a seemingly unlimited list of things that need to get done all the time. We've got to be on the lookout for shortcuts or ways that keep our business running lean and free us up to spend time doing what we do best, whatever that may be.
Spreadsheets have a place in almost anyone's workflow. Maybe you need to create a business budget, but don't know how to structure it. Or, maybe you just need a place to do simple calculations. Either way, a spreadsheet might be the right tool for many jobs.
A pre-built Google Sheets template can help you understand all of the important inputs for a working budget. In this tutorial, I'm going to share 20 of my favorite Google Sheets templates that you can use as a head start.
For Spreadsheet Beginners
By day, I use spreadsheets to help the company I work for make decisions on new product launches, potential new construction projects, and pricing studies. All of the analysis and review is done right inside of a spreadsheet.
But that's not the only place I use spreadsheets. I also use them for monthly budgeting, planning content for Tuts+ and other sites, and sending invoices to my clients for my services. All of this can be done in Google Sheets, a spreadsheet app you can use in your web browser.
Why are spreadsheets so useful for so many purposes? Here are some of the key reasons that I think spreadsheets are a unique tool:
- Spreadsheets are structured. They're ruled by rows and columns that make it easy to capture data in a way that makes sense.
- Spreadsheets are scalable. Add more rows to your data sets, and more sheets to the workbook as the needs expand.
- Spreadsheets are flexible. They can be used for anything from a tool to track workouts to plan a wedding, as you'll see in this tutorial.
The point is that spreadsheets have a place in almost everyone's digital life. And in this roundup, I'm going to give you 20 Google Sheets templates that each have a different purpose.
1. Built-In Google Sheets Templates
In the first section of this roundup, we're going to focus on the built-in Google Sheets templates that Google makes available for use with Sheets. Each of these are a great starting point for different types of projects.
The easiest way to find these templates is to jump over to the Sheets homepage and click on Template Gallery. You'll see thumbnails for each of these Google Drive template designs.
Simply click on one of these starter templates to start working with the design. Sheets will automatically create a copy of the template and put it in your Google Drive to customize and edit for your own need. Let's take a look at ten of my favorite built-in Google Sheets templates:
For freelancers or small business owners, an invoice is one of the most important documents in the business process. It serves as a formal notice to clients that payment is expected.
Even if you use a payment service like PayPal to receive payments, it helps to create an official invoice template that you attach as a PDF, for example.
2. Wedding Planner
Your big day might be all about love and happiness, but the time leading up to it's full of decisions and planning that needs to get done.
Remember that one of the best Sheets features is that you can invite others to collaborate with you in real-time. Make Google's template the central base for planning the day ahead.
3. Employee Shift Schedule
If you run a small business, you may need to keep track of the hours that your team works. Managing part-time employees often means juggling their schedules and working around their other commitments.
Imagine using this spreadsheet as a central file that everyone could use. managers could have access to edit and change the spreadsheet, while employees could view the schedule to find out their hours.
4. Project Tracking
Whether it's a personal project or something important at your day job, sometimes it takes a planning tool to bring things together.
This project tracking spreadsheet template is the perfect choice for that. You can define projects, set due dates, and even assign other users of the spreadsheet to the task. Remember: Sheets is all about collaboration, so don't hesitate to include your team in this spreadsheet.
You might be a teacher or just taking attendance at an event. In that case, try this project out to track who attended the occasion.
6. Gantt Chart
A Gantt Chart is another great project management tool that helps remind you what should be worked on at a given time.
Capture tasks and due dates and this tool can help you plan out what should be completed at a given time. This format is really helpful when you've got projects with interconnected steps, when you need to complete something before moving on.
7. Expense Report
Many companies require expense reports to be submitted for reimbursement. If you've gone on a trip or even taken a client to lunch, you may need to submit an expense report so that you'll be repaid for the occasion.
This Google Sheets template can save you the time of creating something from scratch and helps you make sure you've got the documentation you need to get reimbursed for your expenses.
8. Pros and Cons
I'll admit it: I'm a chronically bad decision maker. There's just too many ways to look at most situations to come to a clear answer on the best path forward.
What you can do, however, is list out the pros and cons for the decision. The very act of listing those out can help you decide on the best path forward for a situation at hand.
9. 2018 Calendar
Need a quick calendar to print and put on your desk? You can actually generate that right inside of Sheets with this built-in Google spreadsheet template.
The template has an easy full year view that you can fit on a single page. Even better: there are individual tabs in this workbook for the individual days in each month.
10. Team Roster
Whether it's for your recreational kickball team or your work-league softball team, you might need to put together a list of the team members. This Google Sheets template makes it easy to log names and contact details.
Again: this is a great time to invite everyone into the spreadsheet and have them add their own details to the list.
2. From Around the Web
Google isn't the only purveyor of great-looking Google spreadsheet templates. You can use this roundup to explore other ways that you can use spreadsheets.
When you open up these spreadsheet templates, you'll need to make a copy and save them to your own Google Drive before you start making edits and changes.
With a template open, go to File > Make a Copy to create a copy and save it to your own Drive. This creates a separate version from the template you started with and allows you to customize it the way you want.
Let's take a look at other Google Drive templates you can use to add some serious productivity.
11. Balance Sheet Template - Smartsheet
In the accounting world, a balance sheet helps a company list out what it owns (assets) and what it owes (liabilities and owner's equity.) This is one of the most important spreadsheets that a company prepares during its financial filings, as it's a useful indicator of the company's health.
This would've been the perfect Google Sheets template for me during my accounting classes in college! Even if you aren't using it for a business, you could use it for personal finance by listing out your own personal assets and liabilities.
12. Inventory Template Spreadsheet - Smartsheet
Dealing with the sales of physical items has its own challenges. Most importantly, you need to know where your inventory is located at any given moment so that you can count it or make a sale to a customer.
Consider also hooking this to other spreadsheets so that as you record sales, you automatically adjust the inventory count on this Google spreadsheet template.
Looking to get fit? It really helps to keep track of your workout performances.
This spreadsheet is easy to customize with your own workout details.
14. Social Media Report Card - Buffer
Running social media accounts for your business is a bit maddening. It's hard to guess what will work, and what it takes to maintain a following on multiple platforms.
You can't manage what you don't measure, and this spreadsheet from Buffer is a wonderful way to keep an eye on your social media performance. Drop in details, and you'll see easy visualizations of what performed best for your accounts.
15. Google Analytics Heatmap - Seer
Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools for tracking how users use your website. But sometimes, there's so much data that it's hard to find the key insights. That's where a condensed heatmap like Seer's is so useful.
This Google Drive template is extremely powerful, but takes some configuration before you can reap the rewards. I've set the link above to go to Seer's instructions on how to use this dashboard.
16. Debt Reduction Calculator - Vertex42
Looking to pay off your own debts? This spreadsheet has you covered, and helps you skip using paid tools for this same purpose. It will automatically help you determine which loan to pay off first and estimates the time it will take.
One thing that I love about this Google Sheets template is that you can change the payoff method; you can use the Snowball method where you pay off the absolute smallest debt first, or choose an approach like Avalanche to pay down the higher interest rate loans first.
17. Ecommerce Dashboard - Visible.vc
If you run an Ecommerce operation, you might become so busy with the day-to-day operations that you could miss how your company is trending.
That's why a dashboard that keeps the key stats in front of you is so useful. This one helps you measure and watch financial performance.
18. SaaS Metrics Dashboard - Christoph Janz
Christoph Janz provides a wealth of resources for startup companies, and this Sheets template is no exception.
If you're building a SaaS (software as a service company), a spreadsheet like this is a must to track if your company is growing faster than you're burning cash. Plug your own statistics in to check your company's health.
This template really needs to be filled in with your own data before you can see the potential, but it's the perfect Google Drive spreadsheet for tracking your basketball team's statistics.
After you add data for the individual games, you'll notice that each tab in the workbook builds out individual player statistics automatically. Basically, logging the game-by-game stats is all you need to do to create summary and detailed statistics!
If you've ever interviewed candidates for a job, you know you need to track responses to remember who stood out. This interview tracker is great to do just that.
Add your own interview questions and then log the key responses so that you can remember applicants.
Recap & Keep Learning
This tutorial showcases some of my favorite Google Drive templates that you can use to get a head start on designing your spreadsheets with templates. Using a template to design a spreadsheet helps you understand the key parts that are needed to organize the task at hand.
If you want to learn more about Google Sheets, I can't recommend the following articles enough. Each of them shows a different side of Sheets that helps you see the potential of this web-connected tool.
- Google SheetsHow to Quickly Convert Excel Spreadsheets to Google SheetsAndrew Childress
- Google SheetsHow to Use AI in Google Sheets in 60 SecondsAndrew Childress
- Google SheetsHow to Use Pivot Tables in Google Sheets (Ultimate Guide)Andrew Childress
- Google SheetsHow to Make Professional Charts in Google SheetsAndrew Childress
What Google Sheets templates do you use to build out a great-looking spreadsheet? Let me know if you've got a favorite from this selection or elsewhere in the comments below.