The free document templates you can find in Google Docs are really useful.
These templates can serve as a helpful starting point if you’re putting together any kind of report, a presentation or even a resume. When you create a new document, spreadsheet or slideshow, you can use these templates as a shortcut to getting the look and format you need.
Here’s the bad news: Most of these public templates are about to disappear.
If you want any of these templates, you need to download them really soon.
Time is growing short. You have hundreds of publicly shared templates to choose from, but the vast majority of them are going to vanish — possibly in a week or so.
“We’ll let you know the exact date with a message in the old gallery, but it will not take place before February 1st, 2017,” Google said in a recent message to Google Drive users.
After Feb. 1, though, all bets are off.
Why Are You Taking My Free Things Away?
So, why is this gallery of cool templates going bye-bye? According to education tech website Control Alt Achieve, Google is switching to a new collection of publicly available templates because it wants to “add features that have been missing” from its old selection of templates. That includes the ability to “add your own custom templates for your domain.”
You can find the new free templates at the homepages of four Google apps:
The new templates, it must be said, are quite nice-looking. They’re designed by experts. They’re crisp, clean and professional.
So what’s the problem? Well, there aren’t nearly as many choices as there used to be.
“Unfortunately, the new template galleries offer only a fraction of templates from which to choose. For example, the new Docs template gallery offers 29 as opposed to the hundreds it used to provide,” wrote business and tech website NewCo Shift.
Meanwhile, Google is phasing out the old selection of templates.
OK, What Should I Do Now?
Take a glance at Google’s new templates, and see if they’ll suit you. The new selection might be enough for you.
But if you want to see the huge gallery of old templates that’s about to disappear, with its wealth of formats and styles, check it out here.
You can sort through the selections by type. Search for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms or drawings. Then, you can further narrow down your choices using categories.
Open any template you’re interested in by clicking the “Use this template” button.
Once you do that, it’s saved to your Google Drive.
Now it’s yours forever. But you’re running out of time to do this.
Your Turn: Do you use Google Docs’ public templates for anything?
Mike Brassfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. A freelance writer on the side, he likes Google Docs’ free invoices. Because they’re free.