How to Set Up a Notebook for Print

How to Set Up a Notebook for Print

Read Time: 3 Minutes


16 Oct 2019

Branded notebook printing is a great way to boost your business’s presence and keep the office looking uniform. But just how do you set up your notebook artwork for print? We’ve created these step-by-step instructions on how to make a notebook from scratch in a range of popular programs, such as Word and InDesign, so anyone can print the perfect notebooks every time.


Before You Begin

When you print your notebook with us, you’ll only need to design the covers. Depending on whether you want to design the front, back and inside cover pages (4 printed pages), or just the front and back cover (2 printed pages) is up to you. You can pick whether you want lined or plain inside pages on our website and we’ll sort that out for you after you’ve ordered.


Page Order

Please design your notebook in reading order, starting with the front cover and ending with the back cover. Make sure these are separate pages (not spreads) in a single PDF.


How to Make a Notebook in Word

Microsoft Word is a great tool for making your own notebook. Here’s the best way to set your notebook artwork up.

Setting Up Your Document

Before you start adding elements to your design, you need to make sure the document is set up correctly. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Layout > Page Setup
  2. Increase all Margins by 9mm (0.345 inches) – this is your safety zone*
  3. Go to Size and choose the size you want – check the sizes we offer here
  4. Add an extra 3mm (0.118 inches) to the size to act as your bleed area


*The safety zone is larger on things that are wire bound, like notebooks, because we need extra room to punch the holes and feed the wire through the binding side of the book.


Inserting Images

If you want to add an image or logo to your notebook design:

  1. Go to Insert > Pictures
  2. Choose the image you want to insert from your computer and double click it
  3. Drag and drop the image to reposition
  4. Drag the corners to resize and reshape
  5. To make text wrap around the image, go to Text Wrap and choose the option you want

Top tip: Make sure image resolution is at least 300dpi for high quality printing.


Adding Shapes 

Inserting shapes is a great way to make a pattern or form the main part of your notebook design. 

  1. Go to Insert > Shapes
  2. Click on the shape you want to add
  3. Click and drag your mouse across your canvas to draw the shape
  4. Resize it by dragging the corners
  5. To change the colour of the shape, go to Shape Format > Shape Fill and pick a colour


Saving and Exporting

Before you send your artwork to us, you’ll need to save it as a PDF – this helps flatten images and text so nothing changes when we proof it for print. Make sure to save your file as normal, then as a PDF version.

  1. Go to File > Save As
  2. Name the artwork 
  3. Click on the drop-down menu and select PDF
  4. Click Save


How to Make a Notebook in Publisher

If you’re new to graphic design, Microsoft Publisher can be a fantastic option. A familiar program, it’s also easier to create a more professional-looking design than in other Office programs because it’s made especially for designing.

Setting Up the Canvas

Here’s how to set up your document to the right specifications for notebook printing:

  1. Go to Page Design > Page Setup
  2. Set your Paper Width and Paper Height to the size of notebook you want
  3. Add an extra 6mm to the width and height to act as your bleed area
  4. Set Margins to 9mm to account for the safety zone – this helps keep important information away from the wire binding


Inserting Images

If you want to add images or your logo to your notebook cover design, here’s how to do so in Publisher:

  1. Go to Insert > Pictures
  2. Choose the image you want from your computer and double click to insert
  3. Click and drag the image to reposition it
  4. Drag the corners to resize it


Adding Textboxes

To insert text, to make a title for example, you’ll need to insert a textbox. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Insert > Draw Textbox
  2. Click and drag the mouse to draw the textbox in the position you want it in
  3. Click inside the text box to add text to it
  4. Go to Format to choose colours, fonts and text size


Adding More Pages

For your notebook design, you will need at least 2 pages, one for the front cover and one for the back. Here’s how to insert an extra page:

  1. Go to Insert > Page > Insert Blank Page
  2. Set up your margins as above


How to Make a Notebook in InDesign

If you’re a more experienced designer, a popular graphic design program is Adobe InDesign. Here’s how to design your own notebook covers for online printing in InDesign.

Setting Up the Document

  1. Go to File > New Document
  2. Choose the size you want under the Document Pre-Set details – we offer A4 and A5 notebooks
  3. Add 9mm to your side Margins and 3mm to the top and bottom of the page for your safety zone
  4. Choose how many pages you print – this will be either 2 (front and back covers) or 4 (front, inside front, inside back and back covers)
  5. Tick Facing Pages, then create your document


Inserting Images

Make sure all images you use are high resolution for best results. Here’s how to insert them into your notebook design:

  1. Go to File > Place
  2. Pick the image you want to insert from your computer and double click it
  3. Click and drag the image to position it 


Inserting a Textbox

To add a textbox to your notebook design in InDesign:

  1. Choose the Type tool in the Tools Panel (it looks like a T)
  2. Click and drag your mouse to draw the textbox on the page
  3. Type into the textbox and change the colour, size and font of the text in the panel at the top
  4. Choose the Select tool from the Tools Panel to position and resize the textbox


Saving Your Notebook Design

Here’s the best way to save your InDesign document before sending it to us for print:

  1. Go to File > Document Setup and untick Facing Pages
  2. Go to File > Export
  3. Select Adobe PDF as your file format and this will open the Export PDF Window
  4. Save your artwork as a PDF with the settings: PDF/X-1a:2001


Ready to make your custom notebooks? You can find full details on how to send us your artwork and get a better look at some of the fun customisation options you can choose here. Or, if you’re still not sure how to make your notebook artwork, drop an email with any questions you might have to our Personal Artwork team at and they’ll be happy to help.


About the Author

Hi! I’m Jennie, and I’m the eCommerce Manager at instantprint. I'm passionate about creating the best website experience for our customers.