Dear TCEA Responds:

Thank you, TCEA TechNotes blog, for supplying me daily with useful tips and tricks. I love the Google templates you share. When I try to click on the link, it takes me to a Make a Copy page. Nothing happens from there. Will you please check the hyperlink? Is this normal?


Dear Lisa:

Thanks so much for your kind words and feedback. As you know, we work hard to create resources educators can use right away. One way to do that involves using Google (a.k.a. G Suite EDU) templates. My goal for this blog entry is that you will know what to do when you encounter some of the many shared Google Docs online.  For example, is one online space where these are shared.

Here are a few TCEA blog entries that share Google templates:

Wait, wait! I bet you are planning to click on these links. But are you ready to receive? Let’s explore how you can embrace all of this awesomeness in an informed way.

First Things First: Be Ready to Receive

Please note that templates need you to first log in with your G Suite EDU or Google account. That is, in your browser (e.g. Chrome or Chromium-based), you should have logged into a Google account. This can be a work (G Suite EDU) or personal (free Google account as part of your Gmail) account.

TCEA Responds

Sharing Options

Anyone who has a Google account has sharing options. We can choose to share individual templates with the options shown below. If we have a LOT of templates or documents, we can share an entire folder in Google Drive. Let’s explore what each of these look like and what you can do to get what others offer.

Steps to Take

To get these templates for your own use, you will need to take these steps:

1-Log in to your Google account (school or personal)
2-Click on the links above for what you want, such as the Google Slide Scavenger Hunt link

When someone shares a Google Doc/Slides/Sheets document with you, you often have the option to go to FILE->MAKE A COPY. It looks like this:

TCEA Responds

People who share Google Docs want to make it easier for you. They don’t want you to go hunting for FILE->MAKE A COPY. They want you to get their file in one quick click. Where does the copy end up? It ends up in your Google Drive.

When someone wants to share a Google Doc/Slides/Sheets document with you, they can save it in several ways.  For the links you click on, you are likely to encounter one of these three options.

Option 1: Make a Copy

When somebody shares a “MAKE A COPY” link, they are trying to save you a step. The person sharing assumes you want a copy of the document. So they take the traditional SHARE link and change one word. Instead of edit, they type in copy.

Original Share Link

TCEA Responds

In this image, you are in VIEW mode. To get a copy of this document saved to your Google Drive, you will need to go to FILE->MAKE A COPY. You can change the name at the moment you decide to make a copy, as well as save it to a specific folder in your Google Drive.

TCEA Responds

Revised link for Make a Copy version

You can see that the ONLY change is adjusting the link to reflect the word copy instead of edit. You can see from the screenshot underneath each that you get a different result. In the image shown below, you will not see the content of the page, only the option to make a copy. This eliminates a few steps outlined above. The goal is to make the process easier on you to get a copy of this document saved to your Google Drive. Keep in mind though that this doesn’t allow you to preview the template/document before downloading a copy.

TCEA Responds

That’s it for Option A: Make a Copy. You should now have a copy of the template in your Google Drive.

Option B: Use a Template

This is another way someone who wants to share a Google document with you can use. The benefit of this option is that before you click on “USE TEMPLATE” button, you get to see a preview. This preview assists you in deciding if you are getting what you want.

This is like Make A COPY. Notice what the link appears as. As you can see, instead of the whole copy or edit area, you see template/preview. This is the key to make your own Google documents available as templates that others can get.

When you click on the link, you will see the following:

TCEA Responds

The result is the same as the previous option though. When you click on USE TEMPLATE button, you will get the chance to save it in your Google Drive.

Option C: Folder/Directory of Documents

What happens when the person sharing with you has a folder (a.k.a. directory) of content to share with you in Google Drive? It may look like this:

TCEA Responds

Or, if you are NOT logged into a Google account, like this:

TCEA Responds

When you go into the folders, you will see individual documents. For example, you can see a list of infographic templates for Google Slides. There are so many documents, you may not want to grab them one at a time. What you want is the entire folder.

When you encounter a folder share like this, you will need to get a copy of the entire folder. Here’s how to do that:

TCEA Responds

As you can see, you can choose to ADD TO MY DRIVE an entire folder of documents.

These three options make it easier to get a copy of the templates shared. Remember, you must first have a Google account. You will need to log in before you click on a link to a Google Document you want to get. Once you click, realize you will encounter one of the three options discussed above. This primer on getting copies of documents should make getting TCEA templates easier.