How to create and lay out your own newsletter

Design and publish your annual round robin using Serif PagePlus 8.0.

More than any other time of year, Christmas is when we feel most obliged to catch up with friends and family and fill them in on the events of the previous year. But with all the presents to be wrapped and decorations to be hung, we simply don't have time for a lengthy phone conversation with everyone that we'd like. Little wonder, then, that the round robin came about.

It's the sort of thing you either love or loathe, but it's an invaluable tool for the time-pressured who want to keep distant friends up to date. It has, of course, a fairly cheesy reputation, which is why we suggest acknowledging the naffness and creating a newsletter full of good cheer and poor jokes. It's certainly a cheaper way of showing you care than a bottle of wine or pair of novelty socks.

Producing a newsletter is more personal than a hastily composed email. It's also a lot less bothersome to receive if your well-meaning friend has filled it with photos of their little darling dressed as a sheep for the school nativity. As anyone who's received such an email can attest, good cheer can be in short supply as you wrestle back control of a congested inbox.

In their defence, emails are the greenest way of sending a greeting. If the electronic route appeals, we recommend emailing a PDF of your newsletter, rather than printing it out and posting it with the Christmas cards.

1. Launch Serif PagePlus 8.0 PDF Edition. Launch the application and select ‘Start from Scratch'. Specify your paper size, then hit Finish. From the menu, select Gallery, Backgrounds. Scroll through the designs and drag-and-drop your chosen background on to the Master slide.

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2. To add more pages to your newsletter, click Insert, Page. Tick the box for ‘Copy objects from page', then repeat the process as necessary. Next, we'll give our newsletter a title (‘A year in the life of the Smiths') and date. Select the Standard Frame tool from the tools menu. Drag the cursor to create a text frame on the page.

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