Best way to share copies of spreadsheets

I’m wondering what the suggested best practice is for sharing workbooks with many anonymous users from a website link. I am creating workbooks for website visitors to make copies of to follow along with a tutorial. Currently, I create the spreadsheet and use the Public share link. However, I am wondering if there are any advantages to turning the spreadsheet into a template before I do this and posting the spreadsheet as a link to the Public share link of the template.

The desired outcome is to give the user their own copy of the spreadsheet with as few clicks as possible.

The best way to do this is to:

  1. Go to a workbook’s public sharing and embedding settings
  2. Check “Enable public sharing and embedding” at the top left
  3. Make sure the “Allow users to copy this workbook” checkbox is checked at bottom left (this should now be checked by default)


Once this is done, whenever anyone visits the public share link / embed URL, a “Copy workbook” option will be shown in the top right of the workbook, which will take any user (new or returning) through a flow to create a copy of that workbook.


This works the same regardless of whether you are working with a workbook or a template, so no need to make a template from it if for this capability.


Thanks. I see that the “Allow users to copy this workbook” is possible to check/uncheck now, so I’d agree with Matt that this is one of the easiest ways to make files available via a website. That is essentially what I do for all of the Google Sheets templates on my website.

This method also works sufficiently for files that you want to only provide to paying customers, as long as you are okay with the possibility that somebody could share a bootlegged version (by sharing the link with a person who is not a paying customer). You should make it clear that the file is only for paying customers, both in the location where you provide the link and within the file itself (in an “About” or “Terms of Use” type of worksheet). There never has been a great solution for software license protection for basic spreadsheets (meaning a way to ensure that the user is a paying customer).

Thanks, @Vertex42. Your post reminds me that I need to add information to every template to let users know where it came from and that it’s copyrighted, etc. On this topic though, I have another question. I went to your site and looked at a template. It looks to be saved as a template instead of just a regular Sheets file. Why did you do make it a Template?

@Adam_Steinfurth , there isn’t a different format for Google Sheets templates (no difference in the file itself). It’s just that if you want to have people see the preview version of the file with the “Use Template” button in the upper right corner, then you can use the “/template/preview” form of the url instead of the regular share link. If you remove “/template/preview” from the url, you will end up seeing the normal “view only” display. But that confuses people because Google Sheets does not do a very good job of explaining that a person needs to go to File > Make a Copy in order to get a version that they can use. Instead, people click on the “View Only” button and click on Request Access, which of course is the wrong way to do it because they are requesting access to the original file, when instead they want to be getting a copy of the file.

P.S. Please edit your comment and remove the link to the template, as that allows people to access the template directly rather than visiting my website first. Thanks.

@Adam_Steinfurth By the way, to see an example of how I’ve integrated the version of a template into my website, see the following page where the Kanban Board Template is listed.

When you click on the button to get the template, it takes you to a page where I display a live embedded version of the spreadsheet. One of the reasons for this intermediate page instead of the button taking a person directly to the share link is to provide some context for the template (such as an intro explaining a little bit about since most people won’t have heard about it yet).

When I use this method for sharing a link to a shared file that is not in the gallery I’ll add instructions to my page saying to click on the “Copy Workbook” link.