How to Create a Magazine With Templates

by Sandy Fitzgerald

It doesn't matter if it's "People Magazine," "National Geographic" or even your local newspaper--all publications start out the same way, through the creation of a template. For those who do not understand terminology behind printing, a template is merely a background document on which articles and stories are placed.

Find out your page size specifications. Are you doing a full-sized magazine like "People," an extra-sized one such as "Rolling Stone" or a digest-sized one such as "Reader's Digest"?

Open your Quark Xpress program. If you go under "File," "New" and then "Document," a window will come up. Put your page specifications in the width and height spaces provided. First, however, check with your printer to see what kinds of margins your templates will need for proper cutting and printing, and include those in your measurements.

Place items on your new page that will be constant throughout the publication. Those might be page headers at the tops, or page number brackets or even logos. The idea is to think of all the items you will repeat on other pages, and put them on this first template page. This will save you an incredible amount of time as you lay out your publication.

Go under "File" and hit "Save As." A window will come up, asking if you want to save this as a document or as a template. Choose "template." After you save this first one, you can either make duplicate copies for all the pages you will need for your publication (it's easier to not have to worry about saving over work you have already done).

Remember that as you finish your pages and save them, you will want to save them as documents, not as other templates.


  • check Remember that as you finish your pages and save them, you will want to save them as documents, not as other templates.
  • check If you are working on some publications that are folded and cut at the printers, you will be doing four-way templates instead of the standard one-page ones. The printer may have some ready-made templates you can borrow if this is the case.
  • check Use the templates to build your pages on, but them save them as documents. Additionally, don't try to save time by just making one template and writing over and over it again. It's inevitable that you will accidentally save over a page you've already done, and you won't catch the mistake until you're on deadline--guaranteed.
  • check Put everything that will be repeated on other pages on this first template, such as page headers, numbering details, etc. It will save you a lot of time as you're laying out your document.


  • close Make sure you have the right sizes and print margins, and also the correct page sequences from the printer. If they are wrong, you will have to recreate and resize everything, and that is exceptionally hard to do on deadline.

Items you will need

About the Author

Sandy Fitzgerald lives in a small town in Northeastern Ohio and has been a professional journalist since 1986. She is an expert online business writer, and a shopping blog writer for She also works full-time as a layout/design editor for "The Herald Star" in Steubenville, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from West Liberty State College.

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