With the popularity of email newsletters, it's sometimes nice to design one for a print output. You could try making one for your sports team to update team parents on the results of the last game. You could try making one for a club, reiterating notes from a previous meeting. Or, you could just make a regular family newsletter to circulate updates about family members to the rest of your extended family. Whatever the reason, these letters are a great way to share information in a concise and easy-to-read format—and you can create your own newsletters on Adobe InDesign.

How to Make a Newsletter

  1. Create a three-column grid.
    Most newsletters contain two columns of plain text with a sidebar on one edge of the paper for smaller bits of information. To make this easier to visualize, let’s set up a grid so we can draw all of our text boxes to the correct size.

    Go to Layout > Create Guides. In the columns box, type 3. (If you want to see the midway point of each column, you can also type “6”.) Click “fit to margins”.

    How to Make a Newsletter in Adobe InDesign

    Once you have built your grid, it can be helpful for InDesign to align your text boxes, photos, and other objects to the guides by default. To turn on this setting, go to View > Grids & Guides and make sure that “Snap to Guides” is checked. You can always turn this off later if you’re breaking the grid for a certain layout, but you probably want it on by default!

  2. Create your header.
    Newsletters always start with a big, bold title, followed by some smaller information about the date, location, and volume often sandwiched between two thin lines. You can create these elements in your own newsletter using shape tools and text boxes. If it helps, turn on the ruler (by going into the VIew menu or just pressing ctrl/command+R) and pull a guide down from the top bar. You will want this header to take up no more than a couple inches!

  3. Add page numbers (and any other consistent elements) to the master.
    Master pages allow you to add one thing to every single page in your document. To access the master, go into the “page” window (if it doesn’t show up by default, go to Window > Page). Double-click on the page preview, as shown.

    Creating a Custom Newsletter in InDesignDouble-click on the small pages to open the master and double-click the larger, numbered pages to return to your document.

    If you had started designing, you might notice that the page turns white. Your design isn’t gone; you’ve just opened the master! On this new white page, you can design whatever you want—and it will show up on every single page of your document. If you set up your document using “facing pages,” you’ll have a different master for the right and left sides of a page spread.

    On the master, draw a text box in one of the corners. Go to Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number. This will add the correct page number to every page of your document. On the master, it will show up as “A” or “B.” You can change the font and size of this before exiting the master. (Confused? Learn more about master pages here.)

    If there are any other elements that you would like to remain consistent on all pages, like your name or perhaps a colored bar across the bottom or top, you can add those here as well. Then, to return to your document and start designing the rest of your newsletter, double-click on the large, numbered pages in the page window.

  4. Build your newsletter page using rectangles and text boxes.
    Draw one large text box that fills two of your three columns. Make sure it fits beneath the header on your first page. In the paragraph options, make two columns. This will be where you fit your text.

    Design a Newsletter with Adobe InDesignThe sidebar in this newsletter is on the left. As you can see, it includes information that might be helpful at a quick glance.

    The sidebar is helpful for information that people might want to reference at a quick glance. You can use this space to share details for upcoming events, include quotes from relevant people, add pictures that supplement the text, or just provide a column of text that doesn’t fit with the main story.

    We will make a sidebar in your third and final column. Usually, on the first page, it will be on the right. On subsequent pages, it is usually on the “outside” of the page, so if you are printing this double-sided, be sure not to place the sidebar closer to the inside fold. If you are just printing single-side pages, the sidebar placement doesn’t matter.

    You can fill the sidebar with a colored rectangle and put a text box on top of that. Consider giving this shape an opacity to make it more subtle. (The example above uses a circle with a slight opacity instead.)

  5. Print or mail your finished newsletter.
    You can either print your newsletter or save it as a PDF to send to others via email. If you enjoyed the process of designing on a grid, definitely keep using them. Professional designers swear that grids are the difference between good and excellent layout design. For more information about creating grids and guides in InDesign, discover baseline and document grids.

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