If you're starting a newsletter, Microsoft Word 2013 includes several good templates you can use. However, if none of these are quite what you're looking for, there's no reason why you can't design a template yourself. If you can write a letter in Word, you can create a template. The basic components are the newsletter layout, a banner, an information box with your business or contact information and one or more image placeholders. Even for a beginner, the process shouldn't take more than 20 or 30 minutes.
Setting Your Newsletter's Layout
Create a new blank Word document. Click the "Page Layout" menu. Select your preferred margins by clicking the "Margins" icon. Specify how many columns you want with the "Columns" icon. Two columns generally work well for most newsletters.
Click the "Design" menu and select a theme for your newsletter. Each theme gives you a different set of fonts and colors that complement each other.
Add some text to the template. It's hard to see what your newsletter will look like if the page is blank. Put a sample title at the top. Adjust the fonts as needed by highlighting the text and right-clicking it. Select the "Styles" icon when you right-click the text to see some quick formatting choices based on your selected theme, like "Heading" for an article title and "Normal" for the article's content.
Creating Banners and Text Boxes
Click the "Insert" menu, select "Shapes" and then click either the "Rectangle" or "Rounded Rectangle" shape. Drag the cursor over the top of the page to draw a banner.
Right-click the rectangle and click "Fill." Select a fill color, and then choose a gradient based on that color to serve as the background of your banner. Right-click the rectangle again, click "Outline" and select "No Outline."
Click the "Layout Options" button beside the rectangle and select the "Square" text wrapping option. This prevents the text of your newsletter from spilling over the banner.
Click the "Insert" menu and select the "Text Box" option. Drag the cursor over the rectangle and type the name of your newsletter. Use the options under the Format menu to set the font, font size and color. Press "Ctrl-E" to center-align the text in its text box, or use the alignment icons in the Ribbon's Paragraph section.
Right-click the text box border. Select "No Fill" from the Fill icon's options and "No Outline" from the Outline options.
Create a second text box for the newsletter date and issue number, using a smaller font. Add some space between the date and issue number by pressing the "Tab" key a few times.
Create a third text box at the end of your newsletter to serve as an information box. This is where you can put your copyright information, business name and address. Put an outline around this text box to separate it from the rest of the newsletter content. In the Layout Options window, use "Square" text wrapping and make a point to click the "Fix Position on Page" option. This prevents the text box from moving every time you edit text above it.
Adding Image Placeholders
Click "Insert" menu, select "Picture" and choose any picture you have on hand to serve as a placeholder for the images you'll want to add to your newsletter. Resize the image as desired and drag it to a likely location. Right-click the image and select "Add Caption." When the Caption window opens, just click "OK." Each time you add an image for a new newsletter, you can just highlight the generic "Figure 1" caption and replace it with something appropriate.
Right-click the image again and select "Format Picture." Click the bucket-shaped "Fill & Line" icon, click "Line" and then select "Solid Line." Use the available options to specify the color and line width.
Replace your placeholder image each time you create a new edition by right-clicking it and selecting "Change Picture." When you select a new image in the navigation window that opens, it automatically resizes to fit inside the space created by your placeholder.
Saving and Using the Template
Click the "File" menu and select "Save As" when you're finished creating the template. Select "Computer" and then navigate to the "Custom Office Templates" folder in your Documents folder. Click the "Save As Type" menu and select "Word Template (*.dotx)." Type "Newsletter" in the File Name field and click "OK."
Click "New" when you launch Word to create your first newsletter. Click "Personal" to see all of the templates stored in your Custom Office Templates folder and click the "Newsletter" icon.
Change the date and issue number in the banner. Replace the text and image with your newsletter content. When you click the "Save" button, the newsletter is saved in the standard Word DOCX format.
Use an old trick to make sure text fits exactly on a page, without blank space at the end or spilling onto a new page. Highlight the text and then adjust the space between lines by clicking the little arrow in the Paragraph group of the Page Setup ribbon to change the line spacing in Word 2013.
If you want to edit a template, rather than creating a new document based on that template, use "Open" instead of "New" and select the template.
To see the selection of newsletter templates available for Word, just type "newsletter" in the Search for Online Templates Search field when you launch Word. If you find one you like, it may be faster and easier to customize it to suit your needs rather than creating one from scratch.