Indesign newsletter

by Design Workshop Sydney

A very common use of Adobe Indesign is in the creation of newsletters. We show you a nice easy workflow for achieving this end in our Indesign training courses.
The example here is the creation of an online weekly school newsletter; the intention is that this will be distributed via email, and will not be printed. The method we use here is equally applicable to creating magazines, brochures, annual reports and school project presentations.
First of all we open up Adobe Indesign. We then go to the top left File menu to choose the options of New and Document. At this point a dialog box opens up, with various options depending firstly on the output of the document. Adobe has, in the past few versions of Indesign, added to the number and type of Preset setups. These are for print as well as web and multi-media devices like i-Pads, i-Phones and Android devices.
If the newsletter is just a multi-page PDF to be distributed by email, but may be printed off by the recipients, we should choose the Print options from the drop-down menu. We are then presented with a number of fields for various settings. Set the Number of pages to 12 (for example) and untick the check-box marked Facing Pages, since the newsletter will be viewed on a screen or hand-held device.
Click the Preview check-box on the bottom left of the dialog box to see the page setup appear on your screen as you input the various values.
If, on the other hand, we were sending this document to a commercial printing provider we would keep this checked so as to see the left- and right-hand pages of a double-page spread. Some elements of the design may flow from one side of the spread to the other, and it’s useful for the designer to see this on the screen as (s)he designs the layout.
Next we specify the page size – this does not matter too much if the newsletter is online, but if it may be printed it’s best to set this to A4 since most domestic printers use this size of paper. Also set the page orientation to Portrait. The number of columns will vary from publication to publication, but a common setup is for two columns per page. The Gutter refers to the space between the two columns; try 4 mm to begin with – it can always be increased later on when you see the page on screen.
Next we address the margin size, which are non-printing guides to assist us in the design of the pages. We don’t want text (especially) to run too close to the edge of the page. First untick the small chain icon – this allows us to enter different values for each field. Change the Top and Bottom fields to 25mm, and the Inside and Outside fields to 15mm.
The Bleed and Slug values we may leave at zero since the document is not to be printed. These are used for printing colours to the edge of the paper, and for footnotes for book-binding; neither of which apply to our current example. If we like the setup and wish to save it for future use we could click the Save Preset button on the top right of the dialog box, and name it A4 Booklet, or something similar. This preset will later be found on the top drop-down list. Most designers will end up with a list a various page sizes which they use on a regular basis. Lastly hit the OK button, and OK again to open the new document.
Next we would create a template document for our regular school newsletter. This template would include items like Colour Swatches for the school colours, as well as tints of the various colours. We would also have Master page elements, like headers and footers, and side-bars. Page numbering may also be included, as well as a Masthead on page 1, with the school crest, title and issue numbers. Lastly various text styles would be included in the template for headers, paragraphs and bulleted lists. All of these topics are covered in other blog posts.
Once the template (indt file) is complete we would simply open this every week and add the new images and text articles, before exporting the PDF.
Many useful techniques and processes may be found in Indesign users forums and websites, as well as Adobe Users groups worldwide – most capital cities host such groups on a monthly basis, for example the Sydney Adobe Users group in Sydney’s CBD.
More tips and techniques can be found at There are many tutorials and forums for designers to discuss topics and the latest Indesign features. See also many examples of our own clients’ work on our Facebook page.
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