Postcards & Greetings Cards – Using PDF’s


If you come from a design background, you are probably more comfortable working with traditional publishing software such as QuarkXPress® or Adobe® InDesign®. Both of these output easily to PDF without using 3rd party software and may well be a good choice for designing your postcard.

The one proviso is that Docmail can only read personalisation tags if they are created as form fields in the full version of Adobe® Acrobat®. This is not an issue if you don’t need your card personalised, but if you do, our guide will cover this topic here.

OK, let’s create our postcard, which will be an advertisement for holidays and we’ll do it with InDesign® and Acrobat®.


Create a new document in InDesign® with the dimensions of 204mm x 142mm (A5 landscape minus a 3mm border).

Make sure “Facing Pages” is unchecked and that all margins are at “0”. Press “OK” and the document is created with one page to view. Using the “Pages” palette, drag a second page into the document.

Now we have the front and back of our Postcard. We must next import our PDF template. Selecting the first page (front) go “File / Place…” and select the Acrobat® PDF A5 Left Address template, making sure that “Show Import Options” is selected.

Select to display the FIRST page of our PDF template, crop to “Trim” and uncheck “Transparent Background”. Click OK. With the first page of the template on the first page of our document, make sure that it is aligned top and left at X=0mm and Y=0mm.

Repeat the process for the second page of our document, this time adding page 2 of our template to it.

Now we have both templates in position, we need to lock them down so the don’t accidentally get moved as we work over the top of them. The way we’d recommend you do this is to lock the whole default Layer 1. In the “Layers” palette, double click Layer 1 to bring up its dialogue:

Check “Lock Layer” and uncheck “Print Layer” This way you can leave the template in position the whole time and know that it won’t move or export to the final PDF output.

Finally, with this layer out of action, we need to create a layer to work on. Back in the “Layers” palette, click “New Layer” in the menu offshoot. Our new layer is created over our locked template layer and should look something like this:

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