How to Make a Letterhead in Google Docs

Creating a letterhead in Google Docs is easy. It involves creating a new document and adding your design elements within certain areas. However, the process works differently between the free Google Docs and the paid Google Workspace version. This tutorial shows you how to create a letterhead template in under ten minutes.

info icon This tutorial is for Google Docs. We also wrote a tutorial on how to make a letterhead in Microsoft Word.

Letterhead Design

Before I begin, I should mention that I’m building a business letterhead template from scratch that contains relevant content using my brand colors and logo for demonstration purposes. Both versions are pretty simple. You may want to use an original design or artwork from your graphic designers. 

In addition, some people may prefer to start with something from the Public Template Gallery and modify it to suit their needs. As long as you have your needed components, this process should work.

I’ll show two different examples. One will leverage the header and footer areas. The other example splits the page layout into two columns and shows your letterhead info in the left column.

Google Docs Plans (Free vs. Paid)

The free version of Google Docs is a great product, but you can’t save your content as a template in your own template gallery. The free version just allows submitting to a public gallery. So, you’ll have an extra step.

In contrast, the paid Google Workspace plan (previously called G Suite) allows you to submit your documents to your organization’s Template Gallery. When you log into the paid version, your Template Gallery looks like the one below.

Google Workspace tabs for organization templates.Pin
Google Workspace with saved templates

[A] is the tab for your organization / private templates – Productivity Portfolio

[B] is the General public template group

What Do You Need on Your Letterhead?

The answer to this question varies based on your needs. Some items you might consider for a business letter might include:

  • Logo
  • Slogan / Tagline
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone numbers(s)
  • Web address
  • Email address
  • Professional license numbers
  • Memberships
  • Date Established
  • Awards
  • Signature

I’ve also known people who create a simple template by using a different Google font in the header of just their name in large point size. It’s simple and effective. This can work equally well if you’re a small business just starting out and want to create a corporate identity template.

Existing Templates

Before you begin, you might want to see if there is a template in the General Template Gallery that is close to what you want. If so, you could use that template as your starting point. When you open Google Docs, there is a File > New > From template menu option that will take you to the template gallery.

The top section shows Recently used items, but if you scroll down past Resumes, you’ll see a dedicated section called Letters.

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Free Google Docs account with public gallery examples

Alternatively, you could open an existing Microsoft Word template and work from there. I had no issues opening mine. If you decide to open a document for template purposes, it should be one of the following formats: .doc, .docx, .html, .txt, .rtf, or .odt. While you can use PDF files with Google Docs, I would worry that the OCR translation may not work.

Consider Layout and Margins

There were several quirks that I experienced in trying to do some simple templates. For example, one design I’m using leverages the header and footer. Some people prefer to use a vertical approach with the company info running down the left column.

Inserting a horizontal line is easy, but your margins define the length. If you want a full-width line, you’ll need to set your left and right margins to 0

If you need to adjust your margins, I found it easier to do it first. You can access the Page setup… setting from the File menu.

Expanded File menu showing PAge Setup.Pin
Page Setup menu

When I was creating the vertical example, I had a hard time using columns. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get anything but equal-sized columns, which resulted in poor use of space. Instead, I used tables so I could adjust column widths.

This is a very popular design that uses the Header and Footer areas. Using these spaces means you can control whether your information shows on all of your letter pages, or just the first page. My preference is to use this format.

Create Google Docs Header

For this example, I’ll add my logo to the header area.

  1. Open Google Docs 
  2. Click the large  + icon for a Blank template.
Colored plus sign to create blank document.Pin
Icon for a new blank document
  1. You should be staring at a blank page.
  2. From the Insert menu, select Headers & footers and then Header.
Insert menu showing Headers & footers options.Pin

If you don’t see the Headers menu item, you may have zoomed your page display. Try pressing Ctrl + 0 to reset. Yes, that is a zero.

You should now see a thin horizontal line and a checkbox about the different first-page headers. The line is just a visual marker and will not show on your letterhead.

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Adding the Header Image

Google Docs has several different ways to add images and even more formats.

  1. From the Insert menu, select Image.
  2. Click Upload from computer from the side menu. Alternatively, you can upload from other sources such as Google Drive, Photos, URL, and camera.
  3. Navigate to your image file and upload. The image will show in your header area.

On my Windows PC, the File Open dialog shows a wide array of image formats. However, many of the less known image formats like SVG did not work. You would get a large red error box that read, Unsupported image type.

  • .tif
  • .pjp
  • .xbm
  • .jxl
  • .svgz
  • .jpg
  • .jpeg
  • .ico
  • .tiff
  • .gif
  • .svg
  • .jfif
  • .webp
  • .png
  • .bmp
  • .pjpeg
  • .avif

I’m guessing some of these image formats work in other Google properties like Google Photos. I stuck to using a PNG file that was 600px by 140px. Personally, I prefer to capture and edit my images using a tool like SnagIt.

  1. Click the image to show the sizing handles.
Uploaded image with boundry box and sizing handles.Pin
Site logo with sizing handles

The image will appear in the Header area with sizing handles around it. Your image may also appear larger than its true size because of the document display properties. 

Adjusting the Image Size

You can adjust the image size using the sizing handles. If you wish for more precise options you can click the 3-dot button and select All image options. You’ll then get the Image options dialog where you can adjust the image size using inches or a percentage scale. (I’m guessing the “inches” criteria adjusts to your country’s setting such as centimeter.)

Image options dialog with size fields.Pin

Tip: Google Docs doesn’t allow you to size an image by pixel dimensions (e.g., 260 x 90). If you need this functionality, there is an Add-on called SetImageSize

  1. Resize the image to your desired size.
  2. If you wish to change the image alignment, you can use the toolbar alignment options.
  3. Add any other design elements you need in the header.

Creating a footer area is similar to the header.

  1. From the Insert menu, select Header and footer.
  2. From the side menu, select Footer.
  3. From the Insert menu, select Horizontal line. The line width will respect your page settings.
Insert menu with Horizontal line item.Pin
  1. Add in your address or desired information.

At this point, I have an Untitled document with my logo in the header, horizontal line, and address info in the footer.

Letterhead with logo header and address footer.Pin
Letterhead using both Header and Footer areas
  1. The last step is to rename the Untitled document to something meaningful. You can either use File | Rename or type in the text box at the top of the document.

For my example, I used TA Letterhead. In retrospect, I should’ve made the title more descriptive. Google Docs is forgiving on document names so I could’ve used something like “TA Letterhead Template – (Make Copy)”.

Making a Document Copy (template workaround)

If you used the File command, you’ll see there is no option for Save As and a submenu like most applications. However, there is an option called Make a copy

Essentially, you keep making copies of this source file each time you need to use it. So while this document won’t be in your Template Gallery on the free plan, you can use it in the same manner.

Make a copy menu options.Pin
Making a copy of the letterhead

Making a Letterhead Template (Google Workspace)

The paid Google Docs version in Google Workspace does allow for saving templates. Create your document using the steps above.

  1. Go back to your documents listing.
  2. To the far-right, click the Template gallery link that is on the top section.

A new page appears with 2 tabs on top. The first tab [A] represents your organization’s templates. In my case, I don’t have any yet. The General tab represents global templates.

Template gallery with no organization templates.Pin
Organization tab with no templates
  1. Click the Submit template button [C]. The Submit a template dialog appears.
Submit a template dialog with category selection.Pin
Adding the letterhead to Template Gallery
  1. Click the Select a document button. The Open a file dialog appears.
  2. Click the file you just created.
  3. Click the blue Open button in the lower left. Your file will show.
  4. (Optional) Toggle the slider Submit a copy of this file instead of the original. You will need to provide a new Title.
  5. Click the Category list link at the bottom.
  6. Select your category from the drop-down list such as Letters.
  7. Click the Submit button.

The template will now show in your organization’s template gallery and your Recent documents. This template is also a shared document with other members of your organization.

Side Column Design – Table Layout

Some people prefer to have their letterhead info shown on the left side and the body of the letter on the right. This effect is achieved using a 2 column table.  In this example, I’ll edit what I include because I’m dealing with a smaller space. 

  1. Open a new blank Google doc or type doc.new in your browser address bar.
  2. From the Insert menu, select Table.
  3. Click the table squares to the right so you have 2 columns and 1 row.
Insert Table dialog and matrix.Pin
Defining a 2 x1 table

You should see one row of two equally spaced cells on your document. The row width is determined by your margin settings.

  1. Right-click in the first cell and select Table Properties.
  2. The Table properties panel opens on the right side of your screen.
  3. Click Column to open the width input field.
  4. Your cursor should be in cell A. Tick the Column width box [B] and change the width to 2.5”. You can adjust it to suit your needs.
Table properties panel with column settings.Pin
Adjusting table column width
  1. From the Insert menu, select Image. Since I have a smaller size, I’ll just do the site icon.
  2. Add any other text you like.
Logo and site info in table cell 1.Pin
Logo and site info in the left table cell

Removing Table Borders

The last step is to hide the borders so the letterhead doesn’t look like a table.

  1. Right-click in any table cell. Make sure you didn’t click the image.
  2. Select Table properties from the menu.
  3. From the Table Properties side panel, click Color.
  4. Under the Table Border section, click the drop-down menu that shows 1 pt.
  5. Change the value to 0 pt.

You can now use the right-side of your letterhead to write your content. Perhaps, you might want to put some dummy text in to start things off such as the date and placeholder name and address.

Creating templates can be very efficient. Although this Google Docs tutorial used a simple letterhead example, you can use the same principles and make more sophisticated ones. The key is finding something that you plan on using regularly.