Difference Wiki

Preset vs. Template: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 2, 2023
Preset refers to a predefined setting, while a template is a set format used as a starting point for design and documents.

Key Differences

A preset is a pre-existing configuration used in various software and devices to simplify setup, providing users with a set standard of settings. A template, however, acts as a master layout or structure that is intended to be a starting point for further customization and content creation.
Presets are typically used to apply consistent settings quickly, such as filter effects in photo editing software. Templates serve a broader purpose, offering a skeletal framework that can be filled in with specific information, such as in document creation or website design.
While presets are about starting with a standardized setting for convenience, templates are about providing a guide or outline to ensure consistency and completeness in the final product. For example, presets might be found in a music player's equalizer settings, whereas a template might be used for a resume or a business plan.
In photography, a preset might be a certain combination of contrast, brightness, and saturation applied to a photo with one click. A template in this context could be a pre-designed album page layout where the photographer only needs to insert individual photos.
Preset settings are generally less flexible since they are designed to provide optimal results without further adjustments. Templates, in contrast, are meant to be customized; they provide a basic structure that requires additional input to become complete and functional.

Comparison Chart


A predefined setting or configuration.
A pattern or model used as a starting point.


Used for quick, standard configurations.
Used as a guide for creating new content or design.


Minimal; often used as-is.
High; intended to be modified.

Industry Examples

Audio equalizer settings, photo filters.
Document layouts, website design frameworks.


Generally fixed.
Designed to be adaptable.

Preset and Template Definitions


A prearranged set of parameters to facilitate ease of use.
The game comes with graphic presets for different types of computers.


A model used to replicate or guide the creation of something.
The potter used a template to shape the clay uniformly.


A feature that allows one-click application of complex settings.
She clicked the preset to apply her favorite photo edit.


A guide providing the outline and form for further work.
The architect drafted his initial designs using a standard template.


A specific setting or group of settings pre-established for software or devices.
He used a preset on his camera to capture the vivid sunset.


An established structure within which content can be placed.
Web developers use HTML templates to create web pages quickly.


A setting that enables automatic functioning without user intervention.
The thermostat has a preset for energy savings when you're away.


A general form used as a tool to structure and organize content.
The writer created her book chapters using a detailed template.


Factory settings that are programmed into a device or software.
The microwave's presets make cooking common items more convenient.


A preconceived layout to standardize visual or structural format.
The graphic designer used a magazine template for the new issue layout.


To set (an automatic control, for example) before use or sale
Preset a microwave oven.


A pattern or gauge, such as a thin metal plate with a cut pattern, used as a guide in making something accurately, as in woodworking or the carving of architectural profiles.


A control on a electronic device that is set before use or purchase
A synthesizer whose presets include eight different chords.


A document or file having a preset format, used as a starting point for a particular application so that the format does not have to be recreated each time it is used
A loan amortization template for a spreadsheet program.


What is a template?

A template is a pattern or model used as a starting point for design or documents.

Can presets be customized?

Presets can sometimes be tweaked, but they are generally less flexible than templates.

What are presets commonly used for?

Presets are often used in software applications, like photo editing, to apply standard settings.

What is a preset?

A preset is a pre-defined configuration that can be applied with one action.

Are templates meant to be used as is?

No, templates are designed to be a starting point and are expected to be customized.

What are some examples of presets?

Examples include Instagram filters or Microsoft Word's formatting styles.

Can I create my own presets?

Yes, many programs allow users to create and save their own presets.

Are all templates the same?

No, templates vary widely depending on their intended use.

How does a template improve workflow?

Templates streamline the creation process by providing a structured starting point.

Can presets affect the quality of work?

Yes, if not chosen wisely, presets might not suit the specific needs of a project.

Can I use a template from one program in another?

Some templates can be cross-compatible, but many are designed for specific software.

How specific are templates?

They can range from generic outlines to very specific industry-standard formats.

Where might I find a template?

Templates can be found in word processors, website builders, and design software.

How does a preset improve workflow?

Presets automate repetitive tasks, saving time and ensuring consistency.

What is the purpose of a template?

The purpose of a template is to provide a consistent structure and format.

Are templates good for branding?

Yes, they ensure consistent layout, design, and format which is important for branding.

Is it faster to use a preset or a template?

Using a preset is generally faster since it requires no additional modification.

Do presets have versions for beginners and experts?

Some software provides basic and advanced presets to cater to different skill levels.

Do presets save time?

Yes, presets can significantly reduce the time needed to configure settings.

Do templates come with content?

Templates provide format and design, but content is usually added by the user.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons