I'm looking for a program that I can use to create a document template that looks great and information (text/ images) can easily be pasted into the document by people who have little to no design skills. Someone suggested Acrobat but I'm not sure about it...

I am wondering if Word would be the best option. It will be tricky and fiddly but it allows me in create text boxes for the client to easily input their information.

If anyone has any suggestions for programs/ software or any tips that would be very much appreciated!

The problem with "templates" is not only how to add elements to them but also what kind of file you need to export; eg. Will it be for printing or for digital use. Then what platform it needs to be used on or do the people using the templates usually have Adobe subscription or not, or are they mostly Windows or Office users, etc. There's always some part of education and how-to that needs to be added to the template or you'll miss the goal. That's especially true for Print projects; you can't really control the RGB images people will add to their layout!

For the office kind of people, I discovered that Powerpoint is one that most of them find easy to use and the .ppt file can also be opened by other software than the one in the Office Suite (eg. Open Office that is open source and free.) Unlike a .doc and/or .docx, there isn't too many compatibility issues or restrictions. It's also kind of fun to use, you can use images with transparent backgrounds and create very nice layouts that you can lock. I find Word a bit clumsy and unpredictable for this, especially if you want to use a lot of graphic elements mixed with text boxes. It's also possible to export the Powerpoint files in many useful formats, even for print-ready files. I'm not a Office fan but for beginners, it does the job and can actually offer better quality PDF than some Photoshop projects (if that matters.)

For people who can use Adobe but are not experts, they seem to be able to manage well the files created in Illustrator first, then Photoshop. Note that the Photoshop subscription can be obtained at lower cost than the whole Illustrator/Photoshop/Indesign package. So if your templates are for Photographers or small offices instead of designers, they might not have access to Illustrator. Same goes for Acrobat Pro, it's not free and not that easy to use.

Don't forget, whatever template you create, make sure you use fonts that are available to the people who will use your templates! For example, the good old system fonts.

  • I hadn't thought of Powerpoint! That definitely seems to make the most sense. Thank you! – crwalker Oct 22 '15 at 5:53
  • Powerpoint is fine untill you want to print posters, then it randomly breaks down – joojaa Oct 22 '15 at 6:27
  • @joojaa Never happened to me and I think the biggest file I used it for was 24x36". If you switch from pptx to ppt or vice versa, yes that can cause issues. Powerpoint is a good average layout software, I don't think it's the best for very heavy imports and tons of text boxes/graphics on the same page. It's not made for performance. The "random break downs" can be caused by a few things as for any other software. When you write comments like this one, that could be a good idea to elaborate; a poster can contain one single JPG or 150 imaginary periodic tables! – go-junta Oct 22 '15 at 7:33
  • PPT is not what I would consider an optimal tool but then again, I'm a graphic designer and my tools are of a different caliber. Interesting idea though. – bemdesign Oct 24 '15 at 2:37
  • @bemdesign Quark or Indesign aren't for "people who have little to no design skills" (<-- requirement from OP). But anyway, skills is what makes (good) designers, not only software ;) – go-junta Oct 24 '15 at 3:10

Hum. My first question would be templates for what?

It would sound obvious but if you need a template for a document that is normally a word document, make a word template. Some examples: https://templates.office.com/en-in/Flyers, you can have some good looking layouts.

Probably you need a longer document, for a manual, then the way to go is to define styles. https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Style-basics-in-Word-d382f84d-5c38-4444-98a5-9cbb6ede1ba4#bm1

The same aplies to Power Point or similar software like Libre office or open office.

But probably you need a more specialized tool. Then the way to go is a layout program. The main reason is that you can define a box and inside that box can be an image, that is "automatically" cropped.

An interesting one is Page Plus http://www.serif.com/desktop-publishing-software/ which has a free version, a little limited I must say, but it is simple and easy.

For more advance things you can provide a template on scribus http://www.scribus.net/ but the program can look intimidating.

Important note: How great a template looks depends not only on the design and the plataform you are making it but also the photos themselves and the choosen words.

People sometimes get disapointed how the template looks after the modifications becouse this later selection of elements, so give them some tips about it.

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