Google Docs is Not Good for Newsletters…But This Program Is

Interestingly, one of teachers biggest complaints when adopting GSuite for Education is that they can no longer create beautiful newsletters because the formatting options are not strong in Docs. They have been using Microsoft Word or Publisher and have grown accustomed to it. I actually agree with them in their argument that Docs is not a good option for heavily formatted documents like classroom newsletters. But I know that Docs’s sibling Slides is a great option for this.

This makes complete sense. It should be easy to make a program that is designed for presentations to be eye-catching and engaging. The challenge is making it fit on an 8.5X11 in sheet of paper so that it can be sent home in a Friday folder. (Of course, you are only printing because your principal requires it, otherwise you would be emailing these to parents.)

Create your newsletter in Slides

This setup is actually pretty easy. First, open a new Slides presentation. Next, go to File>Page Setup. In the dropdown box, choose custom. Set the option to 8.5 X 11 inches, then click ‘OK.’ 

Now you have a blank sheet of paper to start your masterpiece. I typically would delete the default text boxes that are in there and start from scratch. Insert your own text boxes and images and place them where you want them to go. The advantage of Slides is that you can overlap these elements without losing your formatting.

Now, when you are done designing your first newsletter, go to File>Make a Copy. When the box to name it comes up, name it something like “Newsletter Template, DO NOT EDIT.” Now, you have a template stored in your Drive for all the subsequent newsletters you create. Change your text and some images and you are all set.

Remember:

  • Text will look oddly sized when you are doing this. Zoom in and out of the Slides presentation so you can read and rearrange elements. If you use an appropriate sized text (11 or 12 for text) it will print perfectly. Check the preview first before sending 30 copies to the printer.
  • Even with your template title stating to not edit, you will probably accidentally do that. We all accidentally do that. Use revision history to restore your previous version.