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How to Quickly Make a Business Proposal in InDesign With Templates

Read Time: 15 mins

Using an InDesign proposal template is a quick and efficient way to complete your business proposal in a snap. Check out these tips, tricks, and guidelines to help get your project done fast.

professional InDesign proposal templateprofessional InDesign proposal templateprofessional InDesign proposal template
Make your content stand out from the crowd with a professional InDesign proposal template, like this one.

Of course, we don't want to sacrifice quality for speed—and that's what makes an InDesign proposal template such a great option. You've got a professional design at your fingertips.

 Whether you're looking for a template to customize or a completed design for your content, an InDesign proposal template can help. Find great professional InDesign proposals, ready to customize

How to Use InDesign Templates

So, where do you get started and why?

Here are some of the many ways you could use InDesign Templates for your Business Proposal and other professional design needs:

  • Create a Unified Business Proposal for Continued Use. Your business proposal template could be used for all your future business proposals too.
  • Easily Adapt to Newsletters, Briefs, and Portfolio. InDesign templates can be very versatile, especially multi-page templates.
  • A Great Template Grows with You. Repurpose the same template as your business grows and your branding matures. 
InDesign Proposal TemplateInDesign Proposal TemplateInDesign Proposal Template
An awesome InDesign proposal template can serve your business needs in so many ways—from proposals to briefs and more.

If you're curious about the ins and outs of creating an InDesign proposal template or you want to build a new skill, check out this course from Envato Tuts+: 

Use it to create an entirely new template from scratch—for your business or even for sale.

Find the Perfect Business Proposal Template on Envato Elements

So, for starters, where do we find a great InDesign proposal template? There's a lot of places to look out there and finding just the right template can be a consuming process.

You also have a choice between premium and free creative proposal templates for InDesign. There's plenty of pros and cons there. In this article, we'll provide you with links for both free business proposal templates for InDesign and premium InDesign proposal templates.

If you're looking for an InDesign proposal template with top of the line quality and convenience, check out Envato Elements. It's particularly a good fit if you want to download a lot of content. 

One low, monthly fee means unlimited downloads with Envato Elements. Download and test out all the InDesign proposal template designs you want, for one low price. 

Envato ElementsEnvato ElementsEnvato Elements
Find your next InDesign Business Proposal Template on Envato Elements—there's so many to choose from.

There are tons to choose from and no added worry about extra fees. It's easy, convenient, and fun to download professional quality work and start working in InDesign, right now. 

Best InDesign Proposal Templates on Envato Elements (2020)

Here's a selection of some of the awesome content you can find over on Envato Elements:

1. Pro InDesign Business Proposal Template

Pro InDesign Business Proposal TemplatePro InDesign Business Proposal TemplatePro InDesign Business Proposal Template

This InDesign proposal template is an awesome download because you not only get InDesign files—this template works in Photoshop and Illustrator too. You even get Keynote and Google slide files.

2. Clean and Professional Business Proposal

Clean and Professional Business ProposalClean and Professional Business ProposalClean and Professional Business Proposal

If you're looking for a lot of bang for your buck, this template offers 52 pages to choose from. That's 52 pages to mix, match, and customize to make the perfect layout design for your business proposal.

3. Business Proposal & Portfolio Template

Business Proposal  Portfolio TemplateBusiness Proposal  Portfolio TemplateBusiness Proposal  Portfolio Template

Check out this stylish design. It includes 25 pages, as well as files for Adobe Illustrator. Jump in and make this design your own today.

Find More Professional Business Proposal Templates on GraphicRiver

But if unlimited downloads aren't your style, there are other options too. Check out GraphicRiver. You'll get the same, high quality and extensive choices here, but with a pay as you go model. Download and pay for only the InDesign proposal template designs that you need.

There's a large collection of professionally designed business proposal templates on GraphicRiver.

How to Use InDesign Business Proposal Templates

Now, let's dig into customizing an InDesign proposal template, together—so you can get in, get out, and have your design ready to go in a flash.

For this demonstration, we'll use the following, professional business proposal template:

graphic design proposal template InDesign filegraphic design proposal template InDesign filegraphic design proposal template InDesign file
Download this graphic design proposal template InDesign file. Or follow along with another InDesign file.

So, let's start off with some of the basics—how to jump in, right now, and start using an InDesign proposal template.

1. Know Your File Types

Many InDesign proposal templates will come with more than one file included. Here are three of the more common ones: INDD, IDML, and PDF. 

  • INDD is a standard, InDesign document. Note that it may be version specific.
  • IDML stands for Adobe InDesign Markup Language. Use this document to open your template in older versions of InDesign or in Affinity Publisher.
  • PDF is a Portable Document Format. It's used by a variety of software packages. You can even view them in your browser, as opposed to the other two formats.

In most cases, you'll want to open the INDD file unless you're working in an older version of the software (or a different, compatible software environment). 

InDesign File TypesInDesign File TypesInDesign File Types

2. Access Your Pages

First, check out your pages—go to File > Pages to open the Pages Panel if you don't already see it. This is your hub for checking out your document at large.

Browse the available pages by scrolling through them. Double click on any of the page previews to jump to that page. 

InDesign PagesInDesign PagesInDesign Pages

3. What Are All Those Lines? (Working With Guides)

When you open an InDesign template, you might notice a whole bunch of lines all over the pages. These are Guides, and they're exactly what they sound like—visual guides meant to aid in layout design. They won't print with your final design.

Use them to your advantage, or easily toggle them off. Go to View > Grids & Guides to check out your options. Show Guides and Hide Guides will make them visible and invisible.

InDesign GuidesInDesign GuidesInDesign Guides

4. Edit Text With the Type Tool

Text is perhaps one of the most important parts of your InDesign proposal template. Luckily, it's easy to jump right in and start adding and editing your text.

Select the Type Tool, as highlighted below.

Then, select any existing text in your business proposal template to begin typing. Type, delete, and edit as you would in most standard, word processing software.

InDesign Type ToolInDesign Type ToolInDesign Type Tool

5. Insert Your Imagery

This InDesign proposal template has many placeholders for inserting imagery. For this example, I'll use this stock image right here. 

Using the Selection Tool, select one of the placeholder squares. These are empty Rectangular Frames.

Then go to File > Place to select your image file. Once selected, InDesign will place the image within the selected frame for you.

InDesign Place ImageInDesign Place ImageInDesign Place Image
Stock Image from Envato Elements, by photographer Rawpixel.

How to Customize InDesign Business Proposal Templates

But how about learning some more advanced options and techniques? Let's look at even more InDesign tips to help you push your InDesign proposal template further:

1. Select and Move Design Elements With the Selection Tool

You can freely customize your InDesign proposal template. This includes all kinds of design elements. The Selection Tool is one of your best friends in this scenario. 

With the Selection Tool selected, simply click on a part of the composition. Then drag to move it on the page.

But you can also select many elements at once, as shown below. Click and drag until multiple design elements are within your selection. Then, move them collectively, as one unit. 

InDesign Move ToolInDesign Move ToolInDesign Move Tool

2. Create New Text Boxes With the Type Tool

But let's say you want to add some text that's outside of the defined text within the InDesign proposal template. No problem!

  • Select your Type Tool.
  • Then, click and drag to create a new text box.
  • Now, type within this space just as you would an existing text box. 
InDesign Text BoxInDesign Text BoxInDesign Text Box

3. Add More Images to Your InDesign Template

Adding Images to InDesign files is like adding a new text box. We've got many options:

  • Draw a new rectangular frame, if you'd like to make a placeholder, like the ones we see in the template. Then, proceed as we did before. Select the frame, then place the image.
  • Or, go to File > Place with no rectangular frame selected. This will "load up" the image—at which point you can single click to insert the entire image or click and drag to draw a new rectangular frame on the spot.

Notice how, in the example below, the image boundaries go way outside of the rectangular frame. We can resize and scale the image within the rectangular frame, using our Selection Tool. Note the squares around the perimeter of the image. Click and drag on them to resize.

InDesign Image PlaceInDesign Image PlaceInDesign Image Place
Stock Image from Envato Elements, by photographer Pressmaster

4. Add, Delete, Copy, and Move Your Pages

You'll likely want to arrange, duplicate, and/or delete files in your InDesign proposal template. This is another case where we'll want to look at our Pages Panel.

Again, to open this panel up, go to Window > Pages. Here are a couple of important tips to note:

  • You can click and hold, then drag, to sort pages. Just drag the page to its new position and release.
  • Select a page and right click, as shown below, to access more options. From here you can add pages, move, delete, and more.
InDesign Delete PagesInDesign Delete PagesInDesign Delete Pages

5. Save and Export Your Work

Saving and exporting your work differ in Adobe InDesign. For example, by default, InDesign will likely prompt you to save an INDD file. This is InDesign's native file type, but it's not always the finished file type you'll need. 

I like to think of INDD files as my "behind the scenes" file, where I can go back and adjust things. When it comes to printing, I often turn to file types like PDF. Make sure to ask your printer (or digital distributor) which file types they need or recommend. 

To export your work as a specific file type, go to File > Export. Then, choose the file type right for your project.

InDesign ExportInDesign ExportInDesign Export

5 Best Business Proposal Design Examples

But what about the visual design of your business proposal? That's where things can get a little tricky. Let's look at some design inspiration, together, and talk about how and why it works:

1. Incorporate Your Branding in a Unified Way

Check out these proposal layout designs, below. The layouts themselves vary plenty but notice that the red acts as an anchor of sorts—all the pages have this unifying element in common.

Repeated or common visual elements can help unify a composition, especially when it spans multiple pages. 

Keep your branding consistent, like we see in this business proposal template

2. But Don't Be Afraid to Mix Things Up

But, that's not to say our designs should be boring. Check out these layouts, below. There's plenty of variation in color and style. 

Many times, it's about finding a balance between variety and similarity. We want things to be interesting without necessarily looking visually disjointed.

InDesign LayoutsInDesign LayoutsInDesign Layouts
Creative layout design, like in this business proposal template, can help keep the content visually interesting and engaging.

3. Organization Helps Keep Content Easy to Digest

That said, organization is very important. Look at the two-page spread below—there's a lot of content here. Imagine if all this content was presented in one, large paragraph, with no spacing and no visual elements. It would make it very difficult to read.

Instead, we can organize content into columns, add spacing, and consider how our text flows for easier reading.

InDesign ColumnsInDesign ColumnsInDesign Columns
Keep your layouts well organized—this business proposal layout design is a great example.

4. Communicate Ideas Visually to Strengthen Delivery

Remember, visuals are communicative—and sometimes a visual can prove to be a strong way to convey an idea. For example, the timeline below helps the reader to visualize a series of events. Would this same premise be as easy to grasp quickly if it were presented in a paragraph? Maybe for some, but probably not for all viewers.

That's not to say written content isn't as strong as visual content—instead, the two are excellent complements to one another.

InDesign InfographicsInDesign InfographicsInDesign Infographics
Use infographics, like the one seen in this business proposal template, to help communicate concepts.

5. Make Sure Your Proposal Is a Unified Experience

As your reader pages through your proposal, make sure you present them with a unified experience. 

What does this mean?

The pages should feel related—this should feel like one unified publication. We can do this with things like visual similarities. But we can also have repeated visual elements like page numbers, footers, type choices, and header styles. Keep in mind that consistent tone can also lead itself to this idea.

InDesign Layout TemplateInDesign Layout TemplateInDesign Layout Template
This business proposal design is visually unified and related, page by page, making for a unified experience.

Looking for Free Business Proposal Template InDesign Files?

If you're looking for some free creative proposal template InDesign files that you can get started with, right now, look no further. Check out these collections of free proposal template InDesign collections for design inspiration and free downloads:

Common InDesign Questions Answered (FAQ)

Now that we've looked at some inspiring design and core tips to help you dig right into your InDesign proposal template, let's look at some frequently asked questions. These are common concerns that we all have, especially when working with a multi-page document, like a business proposal design:

1. Can You Change the Page Size in InDesign?

Yes, you can—and it's a snap too. Head to Document Setup, within InDesign, to change everything from your page's dimensions, margins, and more. 

Go to File > Document Set Up to find these options. 

If you'd like some extra help, check out this free tutorial. It's got both a written and video walk through to help you out:

2. What Is Overset Text and How Do I Fix It?

When you've got more text that fits in a text box, we call that Overset Text. Any text that's "overset" won't be visible. There's just too much text here to fit in the space. 

Thankfully, we've got plenty of options when it comes to fixing this common issue:

  • Consider resizing your text box. Making it larger is a quick fix.
  • You can "pick up" the excess text and make an extra text box to display it.

There's even more you could do—and we cover it in this free written and video tutorial, below. Check it out for some extra help:

3. Can I Use Spell Check in InDesign?

When we're working with a lot of text, we need to double and triple check for typos. We all make them. So, spell check is a must have when you're working with a multi-page document in InDesign. 

Did you know that you can do your spell checking right within InDesign? Head over to Edit > Spelling > Check Spelling to get started. And if you want to know more about InDesign's spell-checking options, check out this tutorial for more info: 

4. How Do I Create a Table of Contents in InDesign?

A table of contents is essential when you're working with a multi-page document. We don't want our readers getting lost, and we want to make our content easy to find. 

Luckily, especially in the case of very long documents, you don't have to create your table of contents manually—that would take a while. And imagine if your pages get swapped or moved. Yikes, what a headache.

Thankfully, InDesign can automate the process for us, generating page numbers and associating them with specific pages. Check out this written and video tutorial to learn how to do it:

5. Can InDesign Make eBooks? How Do I Do It?

A lot of us use InDesign for print projects—and it's a great fit for that. But sometimes we need to distribute our content digitally. In fact, sometimes digital distribution comes first. Thankfully, yes, InDesign can be a great choice for eBooks, PDFs, and other ePUB projects. 

The answer here is a complex one, but we've got a tutorial for that:

Learn More About InDesign Proposal Templates

Want to learn even more about InDesign proposal templates, creating your own InDesign layouts, and more? Check out these free tutorials to get started:

Find the Perfect InDesign Template for your Business Proposal Today

We've looked at a whole host of techniques and insights to help you make your InDesign business proposal not only quickly, but effectively. A great proposal design template can really make a difference in this process.

But don't be tempted by free creative proposal templates for InDesign that you find online. Free proposal templates for InDesign usually don't have the features of those that are professionally designed.

Why not get started today? There's a huge library of InDesign business proposal design templates on Envato Elements available for download right now. And remember, that's unlimited downloads. So, you can test out as many templates as you want.

Or, check out the high-quality content on GraphicRiver. Download only the InDesign proposal templates that need and keep things simple.

Good luck with your next business proposal—let's get designing!

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