How to Design a School Certificate in Word

How to Design a School Certificate in Word

Read Time: 3 Minutes


23 Nov 2020

Certificates of achievement are a great way to motivate school pupils, your own children and any children you take care of.

A professional yet fun design makes them all the more enticing for the students and special for parents wanting keepsakes – but if you’re not a designer by nature, can you achieve a mantel-piece worthy certificate design? Of course you can! Here’s how to set up and design a certificate in Microsoft Word – and how to properly export it ready for printing.


Setting Up Your Document

First things first, you’ll need to set your document up to the right size. 

  • Open Microsoft Word
  • Click on the Blank Document to start creating
  • Go to Layout > Size > More Paper Sizes
  • Set a custom size of 303mm x 216mm – that’s A4 + bleed area, which you’ll need for printing


Start Designing

Next comes the really fun part – customising your certificates with a fun design!

1.    Add a background
You can either keep the background white for a crisp, clean finish, add a block colour like green or purple, or add a texture or pattern for extra wow-factor.

To change the background on Word:

  • Go to Design > Page Colour
  • Choose a colour or select ‘Fill Effects’ to add a special effect


2.    Add a title
What’s the certificate for? Adding a title such as ‘Certificate of Achievement’ or ‘Star of the Week Award’ lets children and their parents know exactly what kind of behaviour is being rewarded. To add a title:

  • Go to Insert > Text Box
  • Draw a text box where you want your title to appear on the certificate
  • Type your title into the text box
  • Customise the size, colour and font with the options under the Home tab


3.    Add writing space
One of the best ways to show appreciation is a handwritten message explaining why the child deserved this certificate. Adding lines to your design gives you room to write a quick, personalised message once you’ve printed your certificates.

To add lines:

  • Go to Insert > Shapes
  • Choose the plain lines from the shape options
  • Draw your lines onto your certificate
  • Adjust your lines by pulling the ends down to straighten them out
  • Don’t forget to add an extra line for your signature at the end!


4.    Add an image
From gold stars to smiley faces, adding an image ties the whole design together and makes it more age-appropriate for younger children. To add an image:

  • Go to Insert > Pictures
  • Choose a high-resolution image from your computer to insert
  • Resize the image using the corner handles
  • Drag and drop the image where you want it to go


5.    Add borders (optional)
Borders can often neaten up a design. Add them to your title or the certificate as a whole.

To add a border to a page:

  • Go to Design > Page Borders
  • Choose and customise a page border

To add a border to a text box:

  • Click on the text box
  • Go to Format > Shape Outline
  • Choose a colour and thickness for the border


Saving Your File for Print

Once you’re happy with your certificate design, it’s time to export it for print. This makes your file into a printable document and keeps all your layers (like images and text boxes) in the right place when we open it up on our end to check. 

To do this:

  • Go to File > Export
  • Click ‘Create PDF/XPS’
  • Make sure ‘optimise for printing’ is ticked
  • Click ‘Publish’


The next step is to browse our full range of certificate printing options and upload your artwork to be professionally printed. We’d love to see your finished certificate designs! Make sure to tag us on Instagram @instantprintuk or use #instantprintuk in your post description.


About the Author

I’m Amy, a Studio Team Leader at instantprint. I love using my design knowledge to give customers the confidence they need to create incredible looking print every time.