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Leveraging third-party designers to create Sparrow templates
Leveraging third-party designers to create Sparrow templates

This article will go over how to efficiently collaborate with a third-party designer to create report templates you can use in Sparrow

Braden Ericson avatar
Written by Braden Ericson
Updated over a week ago

Through collaborating with freelance designers, agencies, or services like Penji, you can create your own custom templates to use in Sparrow.

This is incredibly useful when you want to highlight specific metrics, use your own branding, or even use the branding and colors of your client. While we do our best to create unique and interesting templates for you to use in Sparrow, you'll find Sparrow a lot more powerful when you start creating your own templates.

If you're lucky, you can find a designer that can use our add-on to create and configure the templates for you, though this requires giving the designer a seat in Sparrow and teaching them how to use the add-on (a walkthrough on creating templates is available here).

The more likely scenario is that you'll be working with a designer that just creates designs. In this case, you need to make sure they have all the information necessary to be able to create a report template you'll be able to import into Sparrow.

Here are a few tips to make your collaboration on a new Sparrow template easier:

  • Share existing Sparrow templates as examples

    • It's a lot easier to design something when you have great examples. Find a template or two that you like that's already been designed and share them with your design team as references. Mention what you like about them

  • Share our Design Guide

    • Our Design Guide is a great overview of the different elements we support in Sparrow and gives recommendations on how to format those elements to work best in Sparrow. Always share this with new designers.

  • Create a mockup. Leave notes

    • This is a great way to speed up the process if you already have an idea of how you want the layout of your report to look. Add charts and images throughout a Google Slide presentation and ask your designer to "make it look good"

  • Communicate how you want things ordered and arranged

    • It's likely the designer you're working with is not so experienced with marketing. So if you ask them to create a slide with metrics such as emails sent, opened, and clicked, they might not recognize this as an email funnel that should be organized with sent first, opens second, and clicks third.

    • Make sure you specifically say how you want certain metrics to be laid out in your presentation.

    • As long as you have a feedback loop, this can be handled as part of feedback but can lead to a longer time to design the presentation.

  • Make sure the template is designed in Google Slides, not imported from another presentation creation tool.

    • Sometimes designers will create a presentation for you and have it delivered as a Google Slide presentation, but it was actually created in PowerPoint or another tool. While seemingly harmless, this can actually lead to issues when you try and import the template into Sparrow.

    • Ask your designer to create the template in Google Slides. It will save you a lot of time and ensure a high-quality sparrow report.

Things to check when reviewing your new template

While a template delivered to you might look good, it's important to verify you'll be able to import the template into Sparrow before closing out the project with your designer.

Here are a few things to look for:

  • Make sure all placeholder text fields are long enough to support larger values

    • Automated reports don't handle text overflow well. As such, when the text inserted into a report is more than the text box container, it will overflow to the next line regardless of whether or not that's what you want. Make sure your designer followed our Design Guide by checking that the length of each placeholder text box is longer than the shown text to ensure it can support larger values.

  • Make sure charts are single images, not a group of multiple images

    • Usually seen when a presentation is imported from PowerPoint, it's possible the chart in the presentation is just a collection of bars and not a single image. For importing to work, the chart needs to be a single image.

  • Remove any extra slides you might not want in your Sparrow template

Importing your new template into Sparrow

Once you have a template you like, you're ready to import it into Sparrow. You'll need to use our Google Slides add-on to mark which elements are placeholders to be updated by Sparrow.

  1. Open the Sparrow add-on in the document you want to turn into a template

  2. Select Quick Insert

  3. Enable Placeholder Mode

  4. Select the element you want to turn into a placeholder

  5. Go through the dropdowns to set what kind of placeholder the selected element is

  6. Press the Use Selected as Placeholder button to set the selected element as a placeholder with the settings you just set

  7. Repeat this step for each placeholder in your document

A few notes:

  • Variables, such as {{}} do not need to be configured

  • We currently don't support Use as Placeholder logic for tables, so if your designer created a table, you'll need to insert a new table via our add-on and update the style to match the previously designed table.

  • Make sure you select the element and not the text inside the element

  • Make sure you select the element before you select the metric from the dropdown

Once you've assigned each placeholder, you can go back to the home screen of the add-on and press the Save as Template button.

On the confirmation page, click Update Template, which will open a modal where you can configure the template, update its visibility to Private (so you can use it), then save it. Navigate back to the Sparrow app, refresh, and you should see your new template ready to use!

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