How to Make a Template In Adobe Indesign

Templates are an important function in Indesign. They're useful in many different aspects of design - they help you stay on track when you have to make the same kinds of documents often. When I worked as a corporate designer, we had a template for each kind of brochure: whitepapers, flyers, and multiple page documents. It helped ensure that each brochure perfectly matched the brand + each other with no effort (once the initial templates were done).

How to Make a Template in Adobe InDesign | Lauren MacMoyle | Graphic Design

Last week I wrote about designing effective pins.  When I first started blogging, I didn't use a template when making pinnable images for my posts. I used the same basic fonts, but that's about it. Making a template in Indesign ensures that all of my pinnable images match going forward, and I’ll be sharing how you can make your own template in Indesign.

Click to expand image (ps...the layers panel is hiding).

A template should include the following:


1 | Paragraph Styles: The fonts you are planning on using should be set up as paragraph styles. Set up a fake title with the font(s) you want to use, highlight the text, and then head over to the paragraph style panel. Click the button in the upper right corner and select “New Paragraph Style”. Name it accordingly and make as many as you need.

2 | Colors: Import your brand colors and delete the others in the Swatches panel. This makes certain that you always use the correct colors and they’re always readily available.

3 | Your website/brand elements: Set up your website and brand elements that will be consistent throughout all the documents. My website is at the bottom and my icon + line are always at the top. I may need to change their color depending on what image I use but they will be in the same spot on every pin.

4 | Guides: I like to set up guides where main and subtitles start and then lock them (ctrl/cmd L) in case I accidentally move or delete the sample titles.

5 | Layers: Set up a separate art layer below the text layer so you can simply drop an image in and be ready to go.


Once you have your template set up, go to File – Save as, and save it as an .indt (InDesign Template) file. When you open an .indt file, it opens as “Untitled” so you don’t accidentally save over the template file (Nifty, right? Maybe I’m just a nerd). Save the file and name it whatever you want!

This method helps keep different documents consistent and will make your life easier…any time I have to make a similar document over and over I make a template file. What do you need a template for?

If you’re a business of any size and you need social media or promotional graphics – I can help with that! Contact me to see what I can do for your business.