Simplify Your Church Newsletter Page Layout with Templates

This is a sponsored post brought to you by our friends at ChurchArt.com.

Is your newsletter looking tired and ready for a makeover? Are you unsure where to begin? One quick solution is likely built into your word processor or desktop publisher.

Templates are ready-made forms or models you can use as a newsletter’s starting point. In fact, you built a template the first time you created a newsletter and saved it to a file for future use.

Understanding templates.

Here’s an easy way to understand templates: Picture a newsletter’s calendar page, which is ready-made. You don’t sit down each month and design a page containing 28 to 31 blocks. You use the existing grid and add new information inside the blocks. Each day is a text box on a template.

Newsletter templates work the same way. They consist of a series of text boxes of varying sizes and shapes, usually in one-, two- or three-column format. Some text boxes can even automatically continue longer stories onto the next page.

The basic theory behind templates is the same regardless of which program you use. If you’re unsure whether your favorite program includes templates, check the manual or on-screen Help menu and follow its directions.

Where to Find Newsletter Templates

Newer versions of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Publisher provide a wide variety of templates — as well as a Search feature so you can enter keywords to locate a customized template. After opening the program, select File and New. Then choose a featured template or conduct a search.

If you’re looking for a more professionally designed template, there are several options available to purchase online for a small fee. Online memberships, such as ChurchArt.com, also provide ready-to-use newsletter templates as part of its membership. These templates are designed specifically with churches in mind and offer a variety of styles and art to add to your newsletter. ChurchArt.com has a 14-Day Free Trial to explore all its options free of charge.

Customizing a Ready-Made Template for Your Church

After selecting a template style, you can start customizing the publication. What’s the newsletter’s name? Is it color or black and white? Do you want to include the date and volume/issue numbers? Do you want a mailing space on the back?

The best way to discover the possibilities of ready-made templates is to experiment and have some fun. What design best represents and fits your congregation? Before settling on a new design, print out two or three mockups and ask some staff members and church members for feedback.

But don’t just “settle” for the readymade template if it’s not quite right for your church. You can modify any template and see if you prefer the tweaked version. Think of the readymade template as a way to get a head start on a newsletter redesign.

Choosing the Right Newsletter Template for You

Whether you use a template as-is or customize it, consider several things before committing to it:

  • What font size best fits your readers?
  • Do you like the type style?
  • Do you want to use bylines?
  • Do you like the arrangement of photos and illustrations?
  • Are you an avid user of sidebars or pull-quotes?
  • Do you often continue articles on another page?

Modify the template to fit the answers to those questions. When you’ve determined that a template is just right for you, save it and use it for each issue.

Updating Your Template Every Month

In Word and Publisher, you can save any publication you’ve created as a template file. Select Save As and then choose Word Template or Publisher Template, respectively. Then for each issue, simply open the template, add new articles and artwork, and save the file with a new name that corresponds to your issue date or number.

By taking some extra time to create a template now, you can lay out future issues with greater ease and consistency. You’ll also have a more professional-looking newsletter.

If you’re interested in starting a 14-day free trial with ChurchArt to find just the right church-specific graphics, templates, photos and more, click here.