To build a character sheet spreadsheet, choose a system and walk through character creation. Or customize my generic character sheet template to suit your game. I’ll walk through each step of the process below.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Character Sheet Spreadsheet Template
If you want a basic character sheet in Google Sheets, make a copy of mine and customize it for your game.
Building a Character Sheet from Scratch
Let’s start a character sheet spreadsheet template from scratch. The goal: Create a dynamic workbook that automatically updates when I modify my stats. We can customize it further based on our chosen role-playing game.
As with most spreadsheet templates, we’ll need to start with some simple data. I’m entering information for a new character that might exist in a game like Dungeons & Dragons.
This process looks a lot like a character creator. It collects the same information you might use in session zero or your first session.
Not sure where to get your starter stats? Most new players find this information from a starter guide. For dungeons and dragons (commonly referred to as dnd), we might use the player’s handbook to find which stats to include. That game uses strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma as the basic character stats.
Next, we’ll build the formulas around those stats.
Character sheets commonly have stat modifiers. I built that into my template with a simple formula. Here’s what mine looks like.
This shows how I built the character sheet stat formula using VLOOKUP. Basically, I just input the conversion chart into a new tab of my spreadsheet. Then, I used the following formula to pull data from that sheet into my main character sheet.
Here’s what the “engine” tab looks like in my workbook. Note that this is a very simple modifier like you’d find in many dungeon crawler RPGs, but you can use the same method for more complex game mechanics too.
Alright, so I have my reference sheet (the “engine” tab) and I have my VLOOKUP formula. That means I can adjust stats on my main sheet to see dynamic updates to my character stats.
Here’s what that looks like.
Notice how I can adjust my constitution score and the modifier below it automatically updates from -2 to 1? That’s because VLOOKUP is pulling data from the engine tab.
Formatting the Character Sheet
I want this character sheet to highlight the stats and ability modifiers. To do that, I’m going to include some adaptive coloring. It will automatically update when I update my ability scores. That’s one of the fun parts of a dynamic character sheet.
Notice that I’m using conditional formatting. I chose the “color scale” option to show green on my highest modifiers and red on my lowest.
I also updated the font in my workbook, so everything is in the same Georgia typeface. If I wanted to, I could make it the default font for Google Sheets.
Once I did the basic formatting, I’m left with a very simple character sheet template. Here’s what it looks like.
Modifying the Background
While there’s no built-in dark mode in Google Sheets, I can mimic it by changing the background color of my cells. I chose a dark gray and updated the text to use a white font. Here’s what it looks like now.
Roll Dice Option
You might have noticed the “enter roll” cell that I added. That lets players enter the results of a 20-sided dice (1d20) roll. The character sheet dynamically updates based on what is entered there.
So you’ll notice the initiative box updates to 22 on a roll of 18. That happens with the following formula:
In this case, F17 is the roll and C10 is the dexterity modifyer.
Modifications and Improvements
This basic character sheet includes some basic stats, but it’s not finished. The best value comes from additional modifications. You’ll make these based on the game you’re playing.
What to Include
If you’re playing a dungeon crawler RPG, you’ll want to include some basic stats for almost any character you create.
- Hit points
- Armor class and stats
- Weapons classes and stats
- Proficiencies, skills, and abilities
- Magic stats (like spell attack bonuses)
A spreadsheet for characters helps you track hit points, skill bonuses, and even name changes without having to mark up a physical sheet. It also keeps track of your changes, so your game master (or dungeon master in dnd) can check your progress anytime.
One of my favorite upgrades for any character sheet is a drop-down menu for common weapons, armors, and treasure. It only took about 30 seconds to add a drop-down menu to the template.
That makes weapon selection pretty easy. With a little more modification, you could have your stats automatically update based on your choice!
Of course the most powerful upgrades are the ones that help you calculate what you need in real time. Modify your character sheet based on the game you’re playing.
What would a character sheet be without an image to represent your character? I asked Dall-E to make me a spreadsheet wizard.
Then, I added it to my character sheet.
To add your own, go to the insert menu. Then choose image > insert image over cells.
Benefits of an Online Character Sheet
When you build a character sheet in Google Sheets, it saves your progress in the cloud. That means you can update your hit points on your phone at the table, then spend hours perfecting your skills, inventory, and spells at your PC.
The main reasons to switch to a spreadsheet character sheet:
- Convenience: All your calculations happen automatically.
- Easy Access: Just pull out your mobile device or laptop to make updates.
- Shareable: Your game master can hold the physical character sheets while you modify them for the next session.
You can also get feedback. If you’re building a world together, it’s helpful to have a comment system like the one built into Google Sheets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions I hear about using spreadsheets for role-playing games.
Which types of character sheets are best suited for spreadsheets?
Spreadsheets make it easy to perform calculations, so they give the best value for those games with lots of quick math. In my generic character sheet, I included some basic character stat calculations and saving throw scores. It’s easily modified to calculate “to-hit” calculations, armor classes, and more advanced game mechanics.
Is there a spreadsheet template for my specific game?
I’ve built so many spreadsheets for characters in the past. That said, I don’t know if I’ve made one for your favorite game. For example, I’ve used spreadsheets for characters in Exalted, but I don’t have a template that’s easy to duplicate for that game. You could build your own using my generic character sheet above.
Can I use this for Pathfinder?
This generic template also works as a Pathfinder character sheet spreadsheet. Just make a copy and adjust the stats to suit the game.
Is this a dnd character sheet?
Dungeons & Dragons is the property of Wizards of the Coast LLC. They own the rights to that game, and they offer their very own (very cool-looking) character sheets. We’re using the above as a reference. It is not designed built by or authorized for use in the official game.
Can I use this for NPCs?
You can certainly use this generic character builder spreadsheet for non-player characters. It’s especially handy for big baddies, but it’s just as useful for town guards (so long as you plan to meet them more than once). Consider it a character sheet builder you can duplicate as many times as you want.
I hope you enjoy this character sheet template. I enjoyed putting it together, and I’m excited to see what you do with it!
- Wizards of the Coast. Dungeons & Dragons Character Sheets [Internet]. Wizards of the Coast; [cited 2024 Jan 24]. Available from: https://dnd.wizards.com/resources/character-sheets
- Paizo. Pathfinder Rules Downloads [Internet]. Paizo; [cited 2024 Jan 24]. Available from: https://paizo.com/pathfinder/rules/downloads
- OpenAI. DALL-E: Creating Images from Text [Internet]. OpenAI; [cited 2024 Jan 24]. Available from: https://openai.com/research/dall-e