How to Create Your Own Paper Magazine With Free Templates

Updated April 17, 2017

Creating your own print magazine has never been easier with affordable desktop publishing programs such as Adobe InDesign and MS Publisher combined with free magazine templates. Downloading a template is easy to do, but you will have to learn the desktop publishing program to add your own text and graphics. If you want to customise the template, it will take further knowledge of that program. The work is well worth it once you have a printed magazine of your own.

Download a magazine template from the Internet. Most can be downloaded for free. The Adobe Marketplace & Exchange offers some free, some paid InDesign templates. is another source for free InDesign templates. is a source for free MS Publisher templates.

Click the downloaded file (usually a ZIP file) to extract its contents.

Click the extracted INDD file to launch Adobe InDesign or if using MS Publisher, click the extracted PUB file.

Replace the template's dummy text with your own text. Open your word processing program, select the text that you would like to add to your magazine by clicking and dragging the cursor then right-click, and select "Copy." Inside InDesign or Publisher, select the dummy text, click "Edit" then "Paste." This action will replace the dummy text with your own.

Replace the template's images with your own. Click the template's image that you would like to replace, click "File" then "Place" in InDesign. Select the file that you would like to import then click "OK." In Publisher, click on the image that you would like to replace. Click "Insert" then "Picture" and select "From File." Select the picture that you would like to replace, click the arrow next to "Insert" then click "Link to File."

Click "File," then "Save As" in InDesign. Type a file name, then click "Save." This action saves the file as an INDD or for future editing purposes in InDesign. In Publisher click "File," then "Save As." Type a file name, then click "Save."

Click "File" then "Export" in InDesign. Type a filename, then click "Save As Type." Choose Adobe PDF, then click "Save." This action saves the file as a PDF, the standard format for printing. In Publisher, click "File," then choose "Save & Send." Select "Create PDF/XPS Document," then click "Create PDF/XPS." Select "PDF" in the "Save as Type" drop-down box. Type a file name. Click "OK," then "Publish."

Click "File," then "Print Booklet" in InDesign. This printing feature automatically aligns the pages sequentially so that the pages end up in the correct order after being folded and collated. Click "Print Preset," then choose "Current Document Settings." Click "Print." In Publisher, click "File," then "Print." Click "Settings" to make changes appropriate to your printer, then click "Print."

Order your pages, and nest them inside each other appropriately.

Lay the pages on a hard surface with the cover facing up. Staple the pages from the back cover. Position the staples on the spine approximately one-quarter from the top of the magazine and the other one-quarter from the bottom.

Fold the magazine down the spine.


Your template is likely based on a standard 11 by 17 inch format, which most home printers cannot handle. If your printer cannot output paper of that size, take your saved PDF file to a printer, and he will print, collate, trim and bind the magazine for you. If your magazines doesn't want to stay flat after folding, sit some heavy books on top of them for a few days.

Things You'll Need

  • Desktop publishing program
  • Paper
  • Printer
  • Stapler
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About the Author

As a freelance writer and editor since 2006, Kiva Bottero's work has appeared in magazines such as "Healing Path," "Green Living" and "Synergy." He started Mindful Word online magazine to explore his love of mindfulness and engaged living. Bottero holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Western Ontario and studied magazine publishing at Ryerson University.