This session introduces you to simple and free solutions for desktop publishing (DTP). We'll start by looking at some essential principles of layout and design, then share some tips and ideas for producing creative content. You'll learn how to produce designs for brochures, postcards, newsletters, and even school magazines and create some practical hands-on projects.
Adobe InDesign, pages are designed by being made up of objects. These objects can be freely placed anywhere on the page, although they often use an invisible underlying grid structure for aligning and giving some structure to how the objects are arranged.
An example of a 4 column grid in InDesign
Objects can contain...
A Word processor differs from a desktop publishing program because they are designed to perform different functions. Word processors, such as Google Docs, are meant to facilitate writing, and it has some great tools to help do this. But Google Docs is not great when it comes to page layout because it does not support things like text boxes and shapes. People often try to force Docs to “make the page pretty” but that’s not what it was meant to do.
Go to the File menu and choose Page Setup. The standard options are for variations on a presentation slide - 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10 - since that’s what Google Slides is meant to make. But instead, select the Custom option and enter the dimensions for a typical printed page.
A2 42cm x 59.4cm
A3 29.7cm x 42cm
A4 21cm x 29.7cm
A5 14.8cm x 21cm
You can, of course, make your page size whatever you prefer. This site is useful for finding the dimensions of standard page sizes such as US Letter, Postcards, business cards, etc.
Now that you have a “slide” in the shape of a printed page, you can start thinking about it as a page rather than a slide. Add text boxes, shapes, images. Go nuts. Need more pages? Just add more “slides”. There is no way to place an actual grid on the page, but just remember that underneath your design is an invisible grid and try to respect it!
Slides Master Pages work great for adding consistent page content like logos, etc. If you don’t need to print the finished product, but can view it online, you can even take advantage of adding video or interactive charts. The biggest advantage of all for using Slides for desktop layout is that, like all Google files, they are completely collaborative! You can have multiple students all working together on the same publication simultaneously.
Of course, there are some limitations compared to a full-blown desktop publishing tool like InDesign. For example, the biggest issue for making professional documents using Slides is probably the inability to thread long text from one text box to another. You also don’t get the same fine-grained control over text with kerning, leading, tracking, and so on. There is also a lack of control over margins, bleed and gutter settings, etc, but for the casual user this is probably a minor thing.
If you don't need to print it, try doing File >Publish to the web. Then, just give out the URL to share your work!
LucidPress, a powerful cloud based publishing tool that works great on Chromebooks. Or Pages if you're on a Mac. Or Publisher if you're on Windows. And if you're really serious about this stuff, then Adobe InDesign is the Big Kahuna of desktop publishing.