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How to Create a Coupon in InDesign

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Read Time: 7 min

In this tutorial, we'll explain how to create a coupon, double-sided in InDesign. This is a beginner level tutorial and by no means meant for print. It gives you a small intro into tabs, style sheets and glyphs. Let's get stared.

Final Image Preview

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Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe InDesign CS4
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours
  • Fonts used: PT Banana Split, Avant Garde, Wingdings

Step 1

Open up a new document and uncheck the Facing Pages check box. Choose 24 picas for width and height. 1 pica is 12 pt, 72 point is 1 inch, therefore 24 picas are 4 inches.

InDesign is so nice to convert that right away to picas (you can change that in the document settings). So if you type 4 inches into the size boxes, InDesign will convert it into picas. Set the margins to 1 pica 6 points all around and the Bleed to 9 point. Since we checked the Linked icons, you only have to input it once.

Step 2

As you can see, the bleed is marked with a red outline and the margin with a pink outline. In the Layers Palette, double-click the first layer and name it "background," then click OK.

Step 3

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and start dragging a rectangle onto the page. Make it as big as the page including the bleed. Since we assigned a bleed already, you can just drag along the bleed line. Fill it via with a beige color via the color or swatches palette.

Step 4

Lock the background layer and add a new layer on top. Double-click it and name it "elements."

Step 5

Select the Ellipse Tool (L) and start adding a white filled circle to the layout.

Step 6

Add several circles. Add more elements of your liking. I made the circles look like trees. Next, select the Pen Tool (P) and start adding a wave like shape. The Pen Tool (P) in InDesign works the same way as in Illustrator. I filled the shape with blue and then added another shape filled with green.

Step 7

Lock the elements layer and add another layer and call it "text."

Step 8

Select the Type Tool (T) and drag a text box onto the page. Click Command + B to open the Text Frame Options window. In General, make sure you are checking the Ignore Text Wrap button. That means the text box will ignore any other elements.

Step 9

Start adding some text. I just invented some silly text. I chose PT Banana Split for the title and Avant Garde for the rest. Since this is a coupon, I added "Save 5 cents." I set the Paragraph to flush left. But I want to add the cent symbol instead of typing it out.

Step 10

In order to add special symbols, you have to open up the Glyphs Palette. Go to Type > Glyphs and open the palette.

Step 11

I font I chose is ... and it fortunately has the cent symbol. Click on it once, then put the text cursor back into the text frame where you want to add the special character. Now click the character in the Glyph Palette again. This will insert the character.

Step 12

I decided to place the "5 cent" into its own text box. Just copy it into the clipboard and add a new text box with the Type Tool (T). Then paste the text into there. I scaled it up to make it stand out.

Step 13

I added another text box and added more silly text. Sometime you might want to set all text in All Caps. To do so, you can highlight the text, open up the Character Palette and click on the top-right small arrow with lines icon.

This fill show you a drop-down and from there you can apply the All Caps option. Of course things like this have handy shortcuts. So for the future you can just click press Command + Shift + K.

Step 14

This is what I added in elements and text boxes. Of course it's incomplete, since it doesn't even talk about the product, but I'll leave it up to you to be creative with.

Step 15.

Let's add the coupon part. Go to the Page Palette and click and drag a "A-Master" page underneath the first page.

Step 16

Add another text box and add the to be filled out elements like: name, address, town etc. You don't need to format it right away, just make sure that each text element is its own paragraph.

Step 17

Go to the Paragraph Style palette. There you will already have one default paragraph style. We want to add a new one. Just in case you don't see the Paragraph Styles Palette, hit F11. This will open it.

Click on the Create New Style icon on the bottom-right. It will automatically be called "Paragraph Style 1." Double-click it and the Paragraph Style Options window will open up. There, set up your character settings like: font, leading, spacing before or after and so on.

Step 18

Next we want to make it as easy and fast to add an underscored line where the coupon can be filled out. This can be achieved with the tabs. Select the tabs and drag the right-justified Tab onto the ruler.

Step 19

You can drag it to the position you want. In our case, we want to place it to the far right of the text box. You can also assign a direct number into the X space (20p10).

Step 20

Place an underscore into the Leader space.

Step 21

Click on the Indent and Spacing tab and make sure nothing is set there. By default, the alignment should be set to left.

Step 22

Now select the text box and click once on the created Paragraph Style. This will change the text to the according settings.

Step 23

To add the underscore lines, click with the Type Tool (T) after the name and hit the tabs key on your keyboard. Voila, your line of underscores gets added! Repeat this with each line.

Step 24

You can ad different tabs or extra tabs by opening the Tabs Palette (Command + Shift + T). Place your tab (left or right or even centered tab) and assign the Leader.

Step 25

This way you can have two underscored lines for the Province (State) and Postal Code (Zip Code).

Step 26

This is what your coupon could look like.

Step 27

Let's add a dashed cut line to it. Create a rectangle with the rectangle Tool (M) and set the Stroke to Dashed, 1pt. Place it around the text and visual elements.

Step 28

Create another small text box and set the font to Wingdings. Set the text box to white. Now open up the Glyphs Palette again, then find the scissors symbol. Enter it into the text box.

Step 29

With the text box still selected, set the alignment to center.

Step 30

Place the scissor text box on top of the dashed line.

Step 31

Make sure you save you document. Now export it as a Adobe PDF. In the pop-up window, set up the Marks and Bleeds. Then export your document. This will create a two page PDF.

Step 32

This is what the pdf should look like. You can see the crop marks.


You could now print it on your home printer as a double sided print and cut it out. I hope you enjoyed this basic beginner level InDesign tutorial.

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