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LOGOAnyone who runs an organization or indeed a successful blog or website will at some point consider distributing a newsletter. The old fashioned way to create a newsletter is to go down to the local printers and ask for a quote. Then get a neighbourhood kid with a bicycle to distribute them for you. Oh how the times have changed.

Now, most newsletters are distributed by e-mail simply because it’s cheaper, easier, faster and capable of reaching an international audience. But plain old e-mails are boring and lack the magazine style “˜umph’ that good newsletters have. In this article, I’m going to show you how to create a high quality newsletter and convert it to a PDF file for distribution all using the basic programs on your PC.

Firstly, consider how you want each page to look. Often, lines along the top and bottom of a page with page numbering and titles really improve the image and the proper laying out of images and text is essential.

Make sure your draft leaves enough space for text and images along with sidebars for contact details and advertisements. You can see my MakeUseOf newsletter above that I created using MS Paint in just a few short minutes. Here’s how I did it.

how to create a newsletter


Under the “˜File’ menu in MS Paint select page set-up and enter in the measurements seen here in the screenshots for the margins. I find these work best when converting in a later stage. Also, select the option to “˜Fit to‘ and enter in 1, for one page. This will stop MS paint from spreading your newsletter over multiple pages horizontally. For the page measurements, 450 x 600 are good for the average newsletter. To make your page this size, simply drag the blue dot in the bottom right hand corner until the coordinates in the bar across the bottom read 450 x 600.

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how to create a pdf newsletter

Go to MS Paint and create basic yet colourful images that will act as your theme. For example, you can see how I created the top, bottom and sides of my pages as well as a logo for the front page. Arrange the images on the page so that your newsletter outline is how you want it. Then find your text, and by using the text input function, copy & paste it onto the page. If there are images to be placed within the newsletter, do this bit by bit and change the width of the text input box to accommodate for the images. To insert images, use the Paste From function as you did earlier.

Rearrange your document until the “˜Print Preview‘ is as desired. When it is, your document is ready to be converted into a PDF format which is the industry standard for eBooks, E-Zines and newsletters. I suggest using Primo PDF .

create a pdf newsletter

Their PDF conversion software comes in two forms; the free version and the premium version. While the free version does the job okay, you can also opt for a free trial of the premium version which offers better quality and more options and customization tools.

pdf newsletter

Once you have downloaded this and installed it, click “˜From File‘ along the top menu bar. Then add your newsletter to the file ready to convert as shown in the screenshot. Click create and save the file to your desired location.

Now you’ll have a professional looking newsletter ready to be e-mailed to your subscribers. This same method can also be used to create reports or indeed to publish your own PDF E-Zine.

Do you know of any other free ways to achieve the same thing? If so, then we would love to hear about it in the comments.

  1. Thor
    October 14, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Agreed, Owen.
    Open Office Writer is so much more appropriate for this kind of task, and it makes PDFs with one click, directly on the toolbar. And it's all free.

    • youthworker
      October 16, 2009 at 9:59 am

      I vote open office as well- internal and external links are clickable, and text can be cut and pasted, which i don't think is possible in a paint document. I've also seen PowerPoint (and, i guess, Open office Impress) used to make a serviceable one page flyer, since these programs handle boxes of text quite easily.

  2. Owen
    October 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I'd opt for doing it in Open Office instead. It's free - it makes seriously high quality PDFs. You can set up a template and use it again and again. Import graphics or paste them. You can also use text and embed live links to either graphics or text. In other words you make a better PDF that is easier to recreate week after week and it will be clickable...

  3. Doug Anderson
    October 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    You can get a PDF printer driver free from SourceForge; it's called PDF Creator. There is also a commercial product of the same name. Either one installs as another printer; you use whatever software you want to compose your newsletter, including MS Word, Open Office, even Paint, then print the document to the PDF Creator printer. It creates a proper PDF file.

    However, using PDF Creator, URLs are not clickable.

    A better way is to upload your document to acrobat.com where you can create PDF documents free and the links within the document are clickable.

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