How to prepare a template in InDesign and upload it to Lytho?

Make sure to link all the editable text fields and images via the Lytho plugin, capture formatting in paragraph styles and check for errors (preflight)

Before you start preparing your InDesign template for your Lytho environment, make sure that you have the Lytho Template Builder installed on your device. In order to install the Lytho Template Builder make sure that:

- you have the latest version of InDesign CC installed on your PC

- you have access and the right to install plugins from the Adobe Exchange on your PC

Download the template builder plugin from the Adobe Marketplace.

Preconditions to InDesign documents in Lytho:

Use paragraph Styles

All separate fields of text which need to be editable for the user, need to have paragraph styles assigned to them. To manage your paragraph styles go to [Window > Styles > Paragraph Styles].
Character styles can be add on top of this. For example, when one word in a paragraph needs to be formatted in a different style.

Checking for style overrides

It is best practice to structure every different styled paragraph in a new unique paragraph style. Some advantages of paragraph styles:

  • You can reuse a paragraph style for different text in the same document
  • Editing a paragraph style will affect all the styled paragraphs, so you don't have to change the styling of multiple paragraphs
  • Paragraph styles can be copied to new/other documents so you can ensure consistency throughout a wide variety of templates
  • Last but not least: Defined paragraph styles are uploaded to Lytho so users can choose their favorite predefined style in a text field (only if it's defined as a rich-text field).

To ensure the output from Lytho will have the correct paragraph styles, we highly recommend checking for style overrides before uploading your design to Lytho. Open the Paragraph Styles window in InDesign via [Window > Styles > Paragraph Styles (F11)]. Now look for the button: "[a+]" also known as the Style Override Highlighter. Selecting this button will highlight all the paragraphs with style overrides. Walk through all the highlighted paragraphs and redefine your style or clear the overrides. 

Document naming

Create a logical file name for the document. The name of the InDesign document is also the name you can search for it later on in Lytho. Therefore, this should be an intuitive name that takes into account all other templates that need to be uploaded to Lytho.

Structuring layers

Certain elements like text or shapes can be shown on top of one of your images in the template. In that case, you have to make sure that all elements are in separate layers, and put in the right order. This means that images with text shown on top of it should be in a layer below the layer the text is in. 

No embedded images

All images in the InDesign file must be set as a link in InDesign. There must be no images embedded. You can check this under the tab 'links' and check here for each image if the embed icon is not visible. If you embed an image, there will be a different icon. Read this article to learn everything about linking images in InDesign.

Checking for errors

Before uploading the file to Lytho check for errors in your InDesign document. Go to [Window > Output > Preflight]. The Preflight panel will show you the errors in the selected InDesign document. Try to fix missing fonts and missing links (to images) to prevent unwanted output as much as you can.

Check text space in the document

Double-check if text frames contain enough space for paragraphs that might be longer (if for example, another language needs to be inserted). And make sure that no (borders of) text frames overlap each other.

Parent pages (formerly known as master pages)

It is best practice to place all of the editable elements on the Lytho spread instead of the parent pages. If the parent page contains elements you want to use in the template, you will have to move these elements from the parent page and paste them on the relevant InDesign pages before uploading the template to Lytho.

Using the Lytho InDesign plugin

Starting the plugin

Either you, your creative colleague or your design agency has made a beautiful creation in InDesign. To prepare this template for your Lytho environment you start with opening the Lytho Plugin via [window > extensions > Lytho | Templates].

The template builder now appears. It starts with the login menu.

For the login menu, you fill in the following information:
- Organization: Use the same name as the one used in the Lytho URL https://[organisation]


- Region:

EU ( for Europe

US ( for United States
- Local folder on your computer to store the downloaded files: Choose a local folder where the template builder can gather files to send to the server.

Press Continue when you’ve filled in all information correctly to log in and the following message will appear in the plugin:

"Login in progress

A new browser tab should have opened for you to securely log in.
If it did not open please check your browser windows to continue to login."

The Lytho template builder will open a new browser tab and bring you to the Lytho login page. After logging in or, if you are already logged in in your browser, you'll be notified of successful authorization and the Template Builder is ready to use.

Further, you'll find the settings button

Getting started with the Template Builder

When logged in, the Template Builder will open the list with your uploaded InDesign files which are ready to create templates from in Lytho.

Here you have the following options:



Create a new template
This will bring you to a new page with two new options:

  • Select from your pc
    This option will open a new explorer/finder window where you can browse to the InDesign file you'd like to prepare and upload as a Lytho template.
  • Select active file
    This option only applies when your InDesign file is already opened.

Besides the two buttons described above, there are another two fields: Template name and Location in the template overview (optional).

  • The template name is a copy of the file name of your InDesign document and cannot be edited in this phase (later you can).
  • The location in the template overview (optional) is the location in the Template Builder folder-structure. With this, you can only select existing folders. If you want to add a new folder to this structure, please read the next paragraph of this document.


Create folder
This function allows you to create a folder structure in your Template Builder extension. It will be a piece of cake to find your templates when they're grouped in folders per (sub-)brand, division, type, or any structure you prefer.



The settings button brings you back to the menu where you can logout or change the folder on your local computer to store the files before uploading them to the server.

Opening your InDesign document and creating fields

There are a few ways to get started with an InDesign document:

1. Open in InDesign the preferred local document

2. Create a new InDesign file

3. Double click one of the pre-uploaded templates in the Template Builder. Or use the options Options_kebab and select 'Download' Download.

Adding Fields
When the InDesign file is created, it is time to designate which fields will be editable in Lytho. First, you will create new fields and after that, you will link the InDesign elements to these fields. There are two ways to create fields in the Template Builder


Add fields

Creating new fields one by one. 



Import fields

You can use an Excel file to import multiple fields at once. This comes in handy when using the same fields in multiple templates. 

Create an Excel file with all the field names spread over the columns of the first row e.g.:

  A B C D E
1 Title Header Image 1 Image 2 Phone number

Uploading this file will result in adding 5 new fields to the template you're creating in the Template Builder:

  1. Title
  2. Header
  3. Image 1
  4. Image 2
  5. Phone number

Be aware that the names that you use for the fields are also the names that the users in Lytho will see. Therefore, make sure to use intuitive names. Moreover, it’s possible to select multiple InDesign documents as input for a template. For example; you have a campaign with posters and flyers, which have the same image, title, and tagline. If you make sure that these field names are exactly the same in both documents, users only have to fill in the fields once for creating both outputs.

Linking your fields to the InDesign elements

You have probably thought about the template elements that need to be editable in Lytho. These elements need to be linked to the Template Builder fields so later Lytho can distinguish static and editable elements.

There are four ways to link InDesign elements to Template Builder fields:

  1. Partial text 
    If you want the user in Lytho to change only a part of a paragraph, you should only select that specific part of the text with the Type Tool, select your respective tag and click the link icon Link in the Template Builder.
    E.g. "Come have a look at our store in [City]"
    Only select and link [City] to maintain the rest of the paragraph. Users in Lytho will only be able to change the placeholder and 'Come have a look at our store in' will be maintained at all times.
  2. Text frames
    To give a user the freedom to adjust the entire input of a text frame, you don't have to select the Type Tool and highlight all the placeholder text in the frame. This can be done more easily by selecting the text frame with the Selection Tool and then clicking the link icon Link in the Template Builder. When a text frame is linked, in contrast to partial text, all the text inside the frame will be overwritten when another text is filled in by a Lytho user.
    When a text frame is linked, there are two options according to fitting Toggle_text_scaling_on the content to the text frame. Either fit the content to the text frame or keep the text values and cut off all overwrites.
  3. Image frames
    Select the frame of an image and select your respective field then link it with the link icon Link in the Template Builder. The image frame will be filled with the image selected by the user in Lytho. 

    Frame fitting options:
    Filling a frame with an image can be done in three different ways:
    1. Fit content to frame 
    2. Fit content proportionally 
    3. Fill frame proportionally.
    To open these settings either open the template field options Options_kebab after linking the frame and open the frame fitting options Frame_fitting_options afterwards. Or, select the image go to Object > fitting > frame fitting options. Select Auto-Fit, select the desired way of fitting the image and set all crop values to 0 mm. 

    Make sure to insert a placeholder image in the frame and not to link an empty frame. This way the preview will create a clear picture for you of what the publication is supposed to look like. This will also apply to the Lytho user, as the InDesign preview will be shown on the templates section in Lytho.
    In case multiple images are being used, or certain elements are being shown on top of the image; Make sure that all images that are editable are in a separate layer than the text or elements that should be on top. The images should be in a layer below the text or elements layers.
  4. Color frames 
    To link color frame(s) to a Lytho field, select the corresponding color frame in the InDesign document. If you have multiple color frames, you will need to link all color frames to the same Lytho field to ensure that all of these color frames are available to select when a user changes the "theme color" when creating a publication of the template in Lytho.

Uploading your InDesign Document to Lytho

When you're finished linking the fields of the InDesign document, the final step is to upload the document to Lytho.

What's important here is to always save your InDesign document locally on your pc before uploading. Use File > Save or [ctrl + s] for Windows or [cmd + s] for Mac.

To upload your saved file navigate to the templates list in the Template Builder in InDesign select options  Options_kebab  and Sync to Lytho Sync_to_Lytho.

In case of updating an existing template, the Template Builder will now ask you if you are sure to overwrite the existing file on the server. After approval, a spinner will show the uploading progress. When reaching 100%, the file has been successfully uploaded. Now all that is left is to configure the template in Lytho.