Every year we post hundreds of Christmas cards to friends and family. It’s a great opportunity to let people know what’s been happening at home. Have there been any special occasions or anniversaries in the last year? Have the children reached an important milestone or have you started a new job or project that you want to tell people about? Why not share all the gossip with a smart-looking newsletter? You don’t even have to be a design whizz: Microsoft Word includes a large number of professionally styled templates ready for you to make your own.
And remember, a newsletter isn’t just for Christmas: you can send one any time – for birthdays, holidays or just because you fancy getting back in touch. This step-by-step guide works with Word 2010, but can be adapted for earlier versions of Word too.
1. Pick a template
Open Word, switch to the ‘File’ tab and select ‘New’. You’ll find the Newsletter icon under Office.com Templates and here you can choose from a number of pre-designed newsletters to customise. There are personal family templates, newsletters for organisations and clubs, and even ones for your small business. (We’re going to choose Family Christmas Newsletter for this example.) When you’ve found a template you like, click ‘download’ and Word will take it from the Microsoft servers: it will open automatically a few seconds later.
2. Set up a masthead
Firstly, give your newsletter a personal title: do this by double-clicking the placeholder text, and changing it to whatever you like. Everyone loves a good pun, so why not get creative with your family name?
3. Style the text
You don’t have to keep the template’s default fonts: select and right-click the text to choose a new font from the drop-down menu.
4. Replace photos
Now it’s time to add some photos. Click on the generic photo included on the template and then select the ‘Insert’ tab from the top menu. Click ‘Picture’, find a suitable snap in your picture folder and click ‘Insert’. The picture will appear on the template.
5. Resize photos
If the picture isn’t exactly the right shape for the space, you can easily resize it by holding your cursor over one of the corners. When the cursor changes to a double-headed arrow, click and drag the photo until it’s the perfect fit.
6. Crop out unwanted detail
You can also crop into a photo by right-clicking it and selecting the ‘Crop’ symbol from the menu. Now, when you select a corner of your photo, you’ll notice that the cursor changes into the Crop tool. Drag the tool across the part of the picture you want to delete. Release your mouse button and the unwanted area will vanish.
7. Insert (or remove) captions
You’ll see that this template also has captions for each photo. Double-click them to replace with your own text. If you decide you don’t want captions you can easily remove them by right clicking on them and clicking ‘Cut’.
8. Share your news
Now it’s time to add that all-important news. Double-click on the text you want to replace to select it. You can either write straight onto the grid, or cut and paste text from another program. If you’re pasting-in text from another program or document, keep the newsletter formatting by highlighting the text you’ve copied in, right-clicking and selecting the ‘Keep Text Only’ button. The imported text will now match the rest of the newsletter.
9. Change the colour scheme
You can also change the colour scheme of the newsletter. Don’t like the blue? Then right-click the top block of text and select the ‘Format’ tab from the top menu. Now you can choose a new colour from the ‘Shape Fill’ box in the top menu bar. You can do the same by selecting any text you want to alter and then choosing the new colour from the ‘Font Colour’ button.
10. Finish newsletter
Go through the newsletter, adding your own text and photos. Don’t worry if you can’t fill every page of the template. You can delete unwanted pages by positioning your cursor at the top left-hand of the page, holding down the left button then dragging the cursor across the page until everything is highlighted. Then simply click ‘Delete’ or ‘backspace’.
11. Print or prep for electronic sending
When you’re ready to send your newsletter out into the world, it’s as simple as pressing print and popping it into your Christmas cards. Of course, a lot of people these days prefer emailing newsletters so you could send it as a PDF. If you’re doing this, why not embed your email or blog address within the PDF so people can contact you at the touch of a button? Simply type ‘Email Us’ in your document, then highlight and right-click on the text. Select ‘Hyperlink’ and add your email address to the Address field. Click ‘OK’ and your email address will be embedded within the document.
12. Save as PDF
To save your newsletter as a PDF, switch to the File menu tab and click ‘Save As’. Select ‘PDF’ from the pull-down menu. This will save your newsletter as a file that anyone can open, regardless of what computer they are using. Now, all you need to do is drop your newly created PDF into an email and spread your news.