Tri-fold brochures are one of the most commonly used marketing materials, but can be one of the most challenging to design. There are many details to consider when laying out a tri-fold brochure, including paper size, fold lines, content layout, and file preparation. Using a tri-fold brochure template with the correct panel sizes already set up can help make the job easier. This article serves as your guide for setting up a tri-fold brochure for professional printing.
Tri-Fold Brochure Paper Size
The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing the size of your brochure. There are no limits to your creativity, nor should there be, in your brochure design for marketing your business. However, if you want to create something easy to design and print, you may want to stick with one of the standard sizes below. Throughout the rest of this post I will focus on the most common brochure size, the 8.5″ x 11″ tri‑fold.
8.5″ x 11″ (Letter)
The standard ‘tri-fold’ is actually three panels with only two fold lines. It can be handed out, placed in a brochure rack, or easily mailed. This size is also often used for take-out menus.
8.5″ x 14″ (Legal)
Legal size tri-folds are not as common, but are still used today. With three extra inches of total length, each of your panels will allow a bit more space for content.
11″ x 17″ (Tabloid)
Although frequently used as a half-fold brochure or menu, this paper size can also be used as a tri-fold.
11″ x 25.5″
The much larger 11″ x 25.5″ brochure is comprised of three 8.5″ x 11″ panels, and is used for lengthy, more robust brochures.
Tri-Fold Brochure Fold Lines
Novice designers assume that a tri-fold brochure folds into three equal parts, but this is not the case. A little extra room is required to account for the thickness of the paper in the fold. While creating a design with three slightly unequal panels isn’t the end of the world, your result will be more professional if you make this adjustment. Below are the correct fold lines for an 8.5″ x 11″ tri‑fold brochure or pamphlet:
Outside: 3.625″ & 7.313″, creating 3.625″, 3.688″, 3.688″ panels.
Tri-Fold Brochure Layout
The outside spread of your layout consists of the top of your inside flap, back cover, and the front cover. Please note that the graphics on each panel will stand alone when the brochure is folded. This doesn’t mean you can’t design across the panels, but double check that each panel looks good on its own.
The inside spread lays flat when opened and the design does not necessarily have to be compartmentalized into panels. Your design will look more fluid if you design across the page.
Make Tri-Fold Brochures Print Ready
For optimal print results, it is important to make your file print-ready. Most printers require full bleeds in a design. The graphics in your design should extend .25″ beyond the paper size (.125″ on each side). Also be sure to lay out text and important graphics within the safe zone, a .125″ area within the paper size. You can print your design on any stock paper of your choosing, but brochures are generally printed on 80 to 100 lb. stock. Ask your printer for their recommendation if necessary.
For help with adding bleeds to a Publisher document, please visit How to Set-up Bleeds on a Microsoft Publisher Document for Professional Printing. Note: It is not recommended you attempt to add bleeds to a Microsoft Word design.
For blank templates and more details on setting up your file for print, visit one of the following printing company websites:
With any professional print job, it is a good idea to check with your commercial printer for any special requirements.
Graphic Design Resources
Learn how to make your own tri-fold brochure with professionally-designed templates from StockLayouts.
Get Word tri-fold brochure templates from LayoutReady.com — templates for Microsoft Word and Publisher.
Try a free tri-fold brochure template and see how easy it is to customize StockLayouts designs.
Creating a filing system is essential for any business to keep important documentation organized. In addition, it can help you run your office more efficiently. To create file folder labels, use Microsoft Word. The program includes templates for a variety of popular label vendors, including Avery, Staples and Office Depot, and allows you to customize each label on the sheet. If your product isn’t listed in Word, you can create a custom template based on the label dimensions.
Open Microsoft Word.
Click “Labels” in the Mailings toolbar.
Click the “Options” button and select the printer you are using to print the labels. Select the label manufacturer, such as Avery, 3M or Staples, from the Label Vendors drop-down menu. Scroll through the Product Number list and select the file folder label. The product number is printed on the front of the package. If the product number is not listed, click the “New Label” button to create a template based on custom label dimensions.
Check the box next to the “Full page of the same label” option and then click “New Document.” The label template will open in a new document screen automatically.
Click inside of the first label field and the information you want displayed on the file folder label. If the lines separating each label are not displayed, click the “Layout” tab and select the “View Gridlines” option in the Table pane. Repeat this step for each additional file folder label. Use the Font tools in the Home toolbar to customize the style, size and color of the text.
Click the “File” tab and select “Save As.” Enter a file name for the label sheet template you created and then select a destination folder for the file. Click “Save.”
Load the label sheet into the printer. Depending on your printer, the sheet may need to be placed face up or face down. Consult the printer’s user manual to verify the placement. Alternatively, you can load a blank sheet of paper in the printer and print a test page.
Click the “File” tab and select “Print.” Click the “Print” button to print the file folder labels.
Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He’s currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese. Read more.
Brochures are a handy marketing tool used by nearly every company in existence. Creating them takes only a few minutes, and you can do it directly in Word using a template or from scratch. Here’s how.
Create a Brochure Using Templates
The easiest way to create a brochure is by using one of the many available templates that Word has to offer.
To get started with a template, open a new document, type “Brochure” in the template search box, then press the “Enter” key. Word’s large library of brochure templates will appear. Select one that you like.
Once selected, a banner that contains information about the template will appear. Read through the information and then select the “Create” button.
Now all you need to do is insert the relevant text and images in the template placeholders and then start distributing the brochure.
If you couldn’t find a template that was just right for you, you can just make one from scratch.
Create a Brochure from Scratch
With your new blank document open, head over to the “Layout” tab. Here, select the “Orientation” option found in the “Page Setup” section. From the drop-down menu that appears, select “Landscape,” which is the necessary orientation for tri-folds.
Next, let’s give ourselves a little more room to work with by reducing the page margins. To do this, head back over to the “Page Setup” group of the “Layout” tab and select the “Margins” button.
For brochures, it’s generally a good idea to keep the page margins at 0.5” or less. Selecting the “Narrow” option from the drop-down menu is the quick solution. If you want to decrease the margins even more, you can select “Custom Margins” and input your ideal size.
Now it’s time to add columns to our brochure to break the page up in different sections. Back in the “Page Setup” group of the “Layout” tab, select the “Columns” button.
A drop-down menu will appear. Here, select the column structure from the list that you’d like to use or explore more options by choosing the “More Columns” option.
With the layout ready, all that’s left to do is insert your images (by selecting an option from the “Illustrations” group and choosing the graphic) and add text. Once finished, your brochures will be ready for distribution.
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Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He’s currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese.
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