Content upgrades are an amazing way to grow your email list as a blogger, and they can help you show your authority by proving how knowledgeable you are about a certain topic. Things like worksheets and ebooks are especially valuable when you give them out for free to your email subscribers!
However, if you’re not a designer, it can be quite daunting to try to figure out how to design your own worksheets. Where are you even supposed to begin?!
The good news is, InDesign is quite user-friendly (unlike its design sibling Photoshop), so you don’t need a ton of background knowledge to design your own worksheets in InDesign!
First, you want to create a new document. I recommend sticking to US Letter (8.5″ by 11″) for your page size, and just create a page or two to start with. The more pages you add the more daunting it can be, so start out small.
Then, all you have to do is find the text and object tools in the toolbar and start dragging things into place!
But once you get it started, how do you keep it from looking crowded and cluttered? There are a few basic principles to keep in mind.
Keep It Simple
With design, the simpler the better! This is especially true when you’re just starting out. It’s so tempting to throw all of your ideas onto the page, but resist!
Stick to only one or two fonts and one or two colors. The fewer options you have, the more streamlined and professional it will look. And when you’re picking both, make sure to account for readability. You don’t want to have your two colors be pastels that are impossible to read on a white page. And make sure at least one of the fonts is basic enough that you can easily read a full sentence, question, or paragraph.
As you add objects, stick with rectangles and squares at the beginning. It can be difficult to design with ovals and circles while still making them look professional, so play it save with straight lines.
And finally, with the content itself, limit yourself to just one or two styles of question. Sure, you can have checklists, fill-in-the-blanks, or long-form questions, but I wouldn’t recommend having all of them. Keep it simple and stick to one or two!
P.S. Interested in learning more about InDesign? Enroll in the InDesign Adventure Guide for just $197!
Make Sure Everything Lines Up
Once you’ve got your content on the page, make sure everything lines up! It’s a simple tweak that can take your design from amateur to professional in a snap.
There are a few different strategies to get everything to line up, but my favorite is the Align tool. If it’s not automatically displaying in your workspace, go to Window > Object & Layout > Align.
Once you’ve found the Align tool, click on all of the objects you want to align and select the correct alignment from the box. You can line them up on the left side, right side, center, top, and bottom.
Distribute Spacing Evenly
Also in the Align tool is the secret weapon of worksheet design: distribute spacing evenly. Just like with alignment, having equal spacing between your objects will take you from amateur to professional in a split second!
If you have multiple components to a single question (for example, a question and then a box underneath it for the answer, or a square checkbox and a piece of text next to it), select the items and group them by question. One at a time, select your question and answer box and go to Object > Group to turn them temporarily into one bigger object.
Once everything is grouped by question, select all of your groups, go to the align tool, and find Distribute Spacing. You should be able to tell based on the icons which one is for distributing vertical spacing and which one is for distributing horizontal spacing. Select whichever one is applicable and InDesign will automatically move the groups so there is equal spacing between each of them. Magic!
Use Buttons and Forms to Make It Interactive
And finally, to go above and beyond on your worksheet, use the Buttons and Forms option (Window > Interactive > Buttons and Forms) to make your worksheet interactive! It enables your audience to actually fill in the blanks on their computer without having to print it out!
There are a ton of options, so play around with them to see what they all do.
Or, if you’d rather I show you in a video tutorial, enroll in the InDesign Adventure Guide! It’s temporarily discounted $50 until the relaunch of the course in the spring of 2019. There’s a ton of helpful content there already, and it’s just going to get better, so don’t delay!
InDesign is an amazing tool and it’s surprisingly user-friendly! I highly recommend it when designing your own worksheets.
Use InDesign to take your blog to the next level. Enroll in the InDesign Adventure Guide!