How to Create Sheet Template for Excel

How to Create Sheet Template for Excel

Time is cash, and accuracy is critical in finance, so Excel is a must. Financial analysts and investment bankers love Excel for crunching numbers and deep dives. But pros use custom Excel templates to make things smoother. Templates speed things up and keep everything precise in reports. In this post, we will be discussing the process of creating Excel sheet templates for finance professionals.

Let’s define an Excel template before making one. A template isn’t like a blank Excel sheet; it’s pre-made. Templates make tasks easier, keep things consistent, and follow best practices. In finance, templates help with valuations, forecasts, budgets, and tracking.

Users place a high value on their time. Custom Excel templates can significantly improve productivity and decision-making by automating various tasks. The automation helps reduce errors and ensure that financial models are accurate, which is crucial for major deals where a single mistake can come with significant consequences.

Additionally, templates help maintain consistency and meet financial standards, allowing users to focus on analysis rather than formatting. With ready-made models, decision-making becomes faster and more efficient – just input the relevant data.


Preparing to Create a Financial Model Template

Before diving into the actual creation process, laying the groundwork for your financial model template is essential. Start by clearly identifying the purpose of your model. Are you building a template for merger analysis, leveraged buyout, or financial statement forecasting?

Each type of analysis requires a specific set of inputs, calculations, and outputs. Once you have a clear objective in mind, gather the necessary financial data and historical performance metrics to form your model’s backbone. This may include revenue growth rates, cost of goods sold (COGS) percentages, selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses, and other relevant data points.

Additionally, take some time to design a user-friendly layout that adheres to industry standards. A well-structured template enhances usability and makes it easier for other team members to understand and collaborate on the model.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Excel Financial Model Template

Follow the steps below to create a financial model template in Excel:

Step 1: Start with a blank workbook.

Open Microsoft Excel and create a new workbook dedicated solely to your financial model. It will serve as a clean slate for building your template.

Step 2: Input the initial data.

Begin by inputting the initial data and assumptions driving your financial model. For example, let’s say you have a dataset containing revenue growth rates, COGS percentages, and SG&A percentages for 2024 to 2026.

Create a separate sheet within your workbook to house the assumptions.

Use clear labels and formatting to make the data easily readable and understandable.

Step 3: Build the core financial statements.

With your initial data in place, it’s time to construct the core financial statements that form the heart of your model. They typically include projected income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

Create a separate sheet for the income statement and link them to the assumption sheet using formulas. It will ensure that any changes in the assumptions automatically flow through to the financial statements.

Step 4: Incorporate formulas and functions.

Leverage Excel’s powerful formulas and functions to automate calculations and minimize manual input. Use cell references to link data across sheets and employ functions like SUM, AVERAGE, and IF to perform complex calculations.

For instance, you can use the SUM function to calculate total revenue by adding up individual revenue streams. The IF function helps create conditional statements, such as applying different tax rates based on income thresholds.

Step 5: Introduce advanced financial analysis tools

Take your financial model template to the next level by incorporating advanced analysis tools. One such tool is sensitivity analysis, which allows you to assess how changes in critical variables impact the model’s outputs.

Use Excel’s data tables to create sensitivity tables that automatically calculate results based on a range of input values.

Additionally, consider adding scenario managers to your template, enabling users to switch between different assumptions and see the corresponding impact on the financial statements.

Step 6: Test the template.

Before finalizing your template, it’s crucial to test its functionality and accuracy thoroughly. Input hypothetical data and verify that the formulas and links work as intended. Double-check your calculations and ensure that the output aligns with your expectations. Testing helps identify errors or inconsistencies early on, saving you from potential issues.

Step 7: Save as a custom template.

Save your template as an Excel file after confirming it is reliable enough using the custom options. By selecting ‘Excel Template (.xltx)’ from the ‘Save as type’ drop-down list located at the ‘File > Save As’ menu item, it becomes possible to reuse similar architecture on other tasks again without losing the primary data.

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Advanced Excel Techniques

While the basic steps outlined above provide a solid foundation for creating Excel templates, several advanced techniques can further enhance your templates’ functionality and efficiency. One such technique is using macros, which are recorded sequences of actions that can automate repetitive tasks. You can quickly perform complex operations with a single click by assigning macros to buttons or keyboard shortcuts.

Another critical aspect of template creation is data validation. Implementing data validation methods ensures that users input the correct type and range of values, minimizing the risk of errors. Excel offers built-in data validation tools that allow you to set constraints on cell inputs, such as drop-down lists, numerical ranges, and custom formulas.

Finance professionals who use multiple software tools can benefit significantly from integrating Excel with other financial analysis applications. Many software packages, such as Bloomberg and FactSet, offer Excel add-ins that facilitate seamless data transfer and analysis. By taking advantage of the integrations, you can create templates that automatically pull in real-time market data or push results back to the source application. They can significantly streamline your workflows and improve your efficiency.

Managing and Sharing Excel Templates

Creating an Excel template is only half the battle; managing and sharing it effectively within your finance team is equally important. As templates undergo updates and modifications, it’s essential to maintain version control to ensure that everyone is working with the most up-to-date file. Establish a straightforward naming convention and track changes over time using version numbers. Consider using a central repository, such as a shared network drive or cloud storage platform, to store the master template file.

When sharing templates with team members and stakeholders, it is essential to prioritize data security and confidentiality. Implement access controls and password protection to prevent unauthorized modifications or distribution of sensitive information. It is important to educate your team on best practices for handling and sharing Excel files. They include avoiding email attachments and using secure file transfer protocols.


In the fast-paced world of finance, using a robust Excel template can significantly enhance decision-making and efficiency. By streamlining calculations, ensuring consistency, and accelerating data analysis, custom templates allow finance professionals to optimize their workflows effectively. Throughout this blog, we detailed the systematic process of crafting an Excel template, from initial planning and data integration to formula creation and rigorous testing.

While templates offer a solid foundation, their real strength comes from their adaptability to the financial sector’s dynamic demands. Keeping abreast of the latest Excel functionalities, employing advanced techniques, and promoting a collaborative environment is crucial for continuously improving your financial models.

For those in finance, from investment bankers handling intricate mergers to financial analysts projecting future earnings, a well-structured Excel template is not just a utility—it’s an essential asset for success. As you further explore the art and science of template creation, consider tools like Macabacus, designed to enhance productivity in Microsoft Office.

Macabacus offers features that streamline spreadsheet formatting and audit formulas and facilitate seamless integration across Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, ensuring precision and uniformity in your documents. By integrating such tools, you can unlock even more significant potential in your Excel endeavors, making your financial analysis more robust and time-efficient.

Create Financial Models 10x Faster with Macabacus

Gain access to 100+ shortcuts, formula auditing visualizations, easy Excel-to-PowerPoint linking and productivity tools to help you accelerate financial modeling and presentations.

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