How to setup a tri fold brochure

Robert LanePrinting, Tutorial18 Comments

trifold brochure setup

I like a regular 8.5″x11″ tri fold brochure. It’s a great size for holding just the right amount of information, but small enough to be easily distributed. It can also be mailed fairly easily. I usually design at least one brochure per week. I always start with the same templates. One Photoshop document for the front/outside and one for the back/inside. I then place these into an InDesign document that has guides already setup. You can download these tri fold brochure templates if you think they might be useful.

Included in the tri fold brochure download:
  • One Adobe InDesign document
  • One Adobe InDesign template
  • Two JPEG images with guides(Adobe Photoshop)
  • Two Adobe Illustrator documents

tri fold brochure setup front/outside

tri fold brochure setup back/inside

Above are two diagrams of where to set your folding guides in your graphics program. By “folding guides” I mean where the brochure will be folded once it’s printed. I prefer to set the guides as such for an 8.5″x11″ folded brochure in order to allow for the inner fold and to prevent bunching during production. Basically there is a sixteenth inch(.0625″) difference between the front/back panels and the panel that will be folded inside. Some printers actually trim this sliver of paper from the final printed piece before in goes to the folding machine. You should always check with your printer before you start your project and ask questions. This will save time and potentially costly mistakes.

Printing a tri fold brochure:

I use my local Little Rock, Arkansas print shop whenever possible because I love building that relationship. I have a customer service representative that is easier to contact. And those local relationships pay off dividends in other areas of my business.

Effective brochure content:

I have a post describing the aspects of an effective tri fold brochure design. Make your text simple and easy to read. Have a clear point and keep things concise. Always make a plea to call your potential customers to action. I would love to design a brochure for you! Contact me to get your project started.

Quick Question:
I am fond of using local printers if at all possible. I like to be able to talk to them face to face and build that relationship. I was wondering though how many other designers use a printing company locally where they live?

18 Comments on “How to setup a tri fold brochure”

    1. The jpeg files do have Photoshop guides setup, but they have to be opened using Photoshop in order to utilize them. With that being said, I reworked the jpeg images and put a red stroke around the document for a trim guide and a blue dotted line where the brochure should fold. With those jpegs you ought to be able to use them in any program. Please re-download the file and let me know if that works for you. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. Thanks for this resource. I left my handbook with all of my folding notes somewhere, and couldn’t find a place with a direct answer to where guides should be placed on a trifold to accommodate the fold to avoid undertrim.

    In regards to the “Quick Question” … I use local printers only for my projects. It’d be fairly irresponsible for me not to, given that I work in a local prepress department.

    Thanks again, and cheers!


  2. Thank you very much for this template and for the supplementary images showing where each panel is displayed on the folded brochure. I especially appreciate that you accounted for the thickness of the folded paper and adjusted the margins accordingly. This saved me a lot of time and freed me up to work on the fun part!

  3. This is so great! I’m so glad I came across this! I like to use Lucidpress because they have some free brochure templates and pamphlet templates that I really like working with but thanks for the trifold how-to. I’ll have to try it sometime.

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