These days it seems like everybody has their own newsletter, from the weekly update at the corner video store to monthly HR updates in large corporations. Unfortunately, creating a newsletter can be a real hassle—and it’s often a last-minute job that’s relegated to the bottom of a top-heavy task list. But take heart: Given a well-designed template and a few formatting tricks, anybody can produce an impressive newsletter.

Word’s built-in Newsletter Wizard offers some valuable information on newsletter layout techniques. But the results can be confusing, and turning them into a finished product can be a pain.

Along comes TechRepublic’s own QuickNewsletter template, which combines an attractive, straightforward design with easy-to-customize page elements. Just highlight the placeholder text for a particular article and begin typing. The template includes linked text boxes, so the text will automatically flow from one column to the next. Double-click a placeholder picture and select your own graphic to insert in its place. The built-in Newsletter Styles toolbar lets you apply consistent formatting throughout the document.

Once you’ve used the template to produce a newsletter, you can fine-tune the formatting and layout to accommodate the contents and to reflect your corporate style or personal preferences. You can even modify the template itself to include standard elements (such as your company logo and masthead information) and the desired formatting. You’ll end up with a tailor-made template that everybody in your group can use to whip out a newsletter without a lot of setup or design fuss.

In addition to the QuickNewsletter template, we’ve provided a simple InfoDoc file that includes step-by-step instructions to use as a reference for creating and customizing newsletters based on the template, along with directions for modifying the template. Just click here to download the stuff.