How to Create Incredible Workbooks

So over the last few weeks, I have been getting dozens of email from people asking how to create workbooks and worksheets. I always read about how content upgrades like worksheets grow your list like crazy (I can attest to this), but there isn’t an in-depth training on what goes into creating and designing these content upgrades effectively.

Today I really want to show you the five steps I use to creating some awesome worksheets for my business as well as my client’s. They are one of the best ways to add value to your audience and best of all, it keeps them engaged in your content. 

Without further ado, here are the five steps to creating your awesome worksheets!

1. Define and Plan

You really need to define what you want to accomplish with your workbook. Is it to create a more engaging webinar? Maybe you want to use it as a content upgrade? There are infinite ways to use workbooks, but in order to have an effective one, they need to accomplish something.

What your worksheets can be used for:

Use as content upgrade. Content upgrades are all the rage as of lately. An awesome and effective upgrade for your super awesome blog post is a worksheet to go along with it! I’ve found adding a worksheet to my blog posts works really well! 

As a way to add value to your email courses. Give your free email course more value with some worksheets that go along with each lesson. I offer a workbook for my email course, and people LOVE this. 

Keep people engaged during webinars. I was on free workshop and when the person hosting the workshop asked why they came today, A TON OF PEOPLE SAID BECAUSE OF THE WORKBOOK.

Make your course more comprehensive. People may be paying your hundreds of dollars to enroll in your course, so make it super easy to pick up on what you’re teaching.

Use them for clients. If you’re a coach, you can create custom workbooks based on your your client’s need. If they need help finding their brand vision, a workbook tailored to their needs can help them.

2. Outline Questions + Content

Not only does your worbook need to accomplish something, they need to solve a problem for your audience. Guys, this is a necessity. If your workbook doesn’t solve a problem, it is not worth creating. The point of a workbook is not to create more work.

Some examples of solutions your workbook could have:

Guide somebody through the steps of creating a mission statement. For example… What are you passionate about? How can you use this passion to help others? How can you phrase that to better describe that to people who might be interested? Goal = ACCOMPLISHED.

Help somebody follow along with you webinar content. By creating fill in the blank questions, you make it easier on your viewers so they don’t have to use a lined notebook to write stuff down. For example… What are the three reasons you need to be implementing contents upgrades into your business? So now when you go over the slide with the three reasons you need to be implementing content upgrades, they can jot the three reasons down. This engages keeps people engaged in your content and they leave the webinar with some actionable steps and a workbook full of quality notes.

Help somebody plan out their email course. If you know the best way to create an amazing email course and want to guide people through the step by step process of creating their own, worksheets are THE solution. You can help them create a funnel to sell their paid product or guide them through creating actionable lesson ideas.

Probably should mention these are just to help you understand the whole “solve a problem” concept. I don’t know if these are even something people create.

3. Set up your document

Possibly one of the most daunting parts of the worksheet creation process is creating your document. If you want all the step by step training on creating workbooks with InDesign, I’m hosting a live two day workshop this weekend. Enroll for $79 here. It’s going to be amazing. 🙂

I loveeee using InDesign to create worksheets. It is such a powerful program and has some of the most amazing features for making amazing PDF’s (insert emoji with those heart eyes).

If you’re like me and want to use InDesign for alllll of your printable worksheets, here are the settings I use to setup my document.


indesign setup


You can also design your worksheets in Apple Pages or Canva, but I am so in love with all of InDesign’s features, I could never switch.

4. Adding Content

I’m going to mention this again; make sure your workbook solves a problem. For my Design for Creatives course workbook, I added in a brand design checklist that went along with lesson four. It helps the students digest the info given in that lesson, which helps solve a problem.

You can add in guided exercises, checklists, to-do’s, calendars, etc.

If you’re creating a workbook longer than a few pages, there are some extra items you’ll want to add in. Here are a few:

A workbook name. Create a product out of your workbook. If you create an AMAZING workbook, you’ll want to share it everywhere. I don’t want to say something along the lines of “the worksheets that went along with that email”. No, I would want to say the Design for Creatives Planning + Strategy Course Workbook. You can also trying doing a unique name with a descriptive tagline. For example, Brand Vision Workbook: Guided Exercises to find your unique brand vision. Call it something epic so people want it so bad they have to download it.

A branded cover page. If you add a branded cover to your workbook, it make it feel a lot more quality. It’s going to look more intentional than a stack of worksheets. 

Create Stunning Workbooks with a Cover Page


Page numbers for workbooks longer than three or five pages. I hate it when I drop my newly printed out 20-page workbook on the ground. Luckily, most of the time, the pages are all numbered so I can put it back in the right order. Problem solved. Make sure to be adding page numbers to your workbooks so people don’t have to pull their hair out if they misplace a sheet or two. 

Your brand name on every page. Don’t let somebody steal your work. No joke.

A section for notes. This let’s people jot down extra points that they want to remember. DON’T MAKE THEM GRAB THEIR LINED NOTEBOOK. That defeats the purpose of an easy to use workbook. Let me note that this would only be necessary if you’re giving lots of information on, for example, an email or live workshop.

Again, make sure your workbook content solves a problem. Kind of important.

5. Save and Deliver 

Once you have finished your workbook, save as a PDF. I prefer to save as a print-ready PDF if I know people will be printing it out.

If you want to upload it to your WordPress website, then you’ll first need to add it to your media library.


add media


Then you’ll want to click on the item, and copy the link they give you to your workbook.


link to workbook


Now, just copy and share the link to whoever you want!


Designing workbooks


So do you want all of the super & crazy in-depth trainings and tutorials on creating these workbook step-by-step? In Workbook Workshop (launching the 3.0 version very soon!), my complete course on creating workbooks in InDesign, I go into how to…

  • Outline your workbook content and create engaging questions
  • Use InDesign’s tools and features
  • Create and set up your document
  • Create a branded cover page
  • Create Master Pages to save you hours of time
  • Create complex layouts super easily
  • Save your workbook for easy printing by your audience
  • Deliver your workbook to readers
  • Promote your workbook
  • and lots more epic + actionable content


Are you interested in joining the workbook creation party?  Do you feel like InDesign’s learning curve is holding you back? Do you want to create more engaging workbooks so that your audience will WANT to print it out? How about creating a piece of work that is beautiful and fits your brand? Then check out Workbook Workshop.



I also have an amazing eKit for you on creating awesome workbooks. Click here to grab it.




  • LOVE this post Cole! I love creating workbooks, but oddly enough I've never sat down and outlined what I want them to achieve or what I really want my audience to get out of them. I definitely need to start doing that, I know it will add so much value! Also, this is my favorite line of this post: "I hate it when I drop my newly printed out 20-page workbook on the ground." LOL, me too :)
    • Cole
      Thanks for sharing the post! I find outlining my workbook before I begin is sooo helpful! P.S. That was my favorite line of the post too! :)
  • I'm super excited about the Workbook Workshop! I've used ID to create a handful of projects in the past, but it's not quite second nature to me yet. I'm really looking forward to learning some new tips & tricks!
    • Cole
      Yay! Katie, I'm excited too!
  • This great Cole! I am super excited for Saturday I am ready to become the workbook/worksheet queen. I am eager to gain a new skill this should be really exciting!
    • Cole
      Angie, I am sooo excited too! Glad you're going to be there!
    • Cole
      Awesome Julie! :)
  • Love ALL your awesome content on your site Cole! I reached you via Regina and I feel like I have the most generous A-Team in my back pocket now. I'm moving from 1-1 coaching and creating products to help more clients for less and I cannot WAIT to get started designing my worksheets, templates, workbooks, e-courses and more with your help. Thank you thank you. :)
    • Cole
      Holly! I didn't see this until now but it made my day! :) Are you joining for round two of Workbook Workshop? I couldn't remember if you joined in last time.
  • Great post! You've got my wheels turning did some content Is never though if making til now. Thanks!
    • Cole
      Thanks Jenna!
  • Thank you Cole! Just found you via teachable. Love your offerings, you've done an excellent job teaching and giving away quality content.
    • Cole
      Thanks so much Sharon! So glad you're enjoying the content. Let me know if you ever need anything! :)
  • Reading your site is pure pleasure for me, it deserves to go viral, you need some initial traffic only. If you want to know how to get it search for: blackhatworren's strategies
  • Elle Benson
    The links aren't working
  • Natasa
    "404 THIS PAGE ISN'T AVAILABLE... I HAVE SOMETHING FOR YOU ANYWAY" "Grab my free gift" And there is nothing to the page where I left you my email address and first name. ? Not nice.. :(
  • Natasa
    Anyway, your content is great. Useful and, above all, interesting and easy to use. Thanks for that.
  • Nicole
    Which INDESIGN feature did you get/purchase? They have several plans to choose from that ramge from $9.99 to $79?
  • Katie
    Hey Cole. Great post - thank you. Following on Pinterest :-) Katie
  • […] Use a professional design tool. There are plenty of free tools online, including Canva and Lucidpress, that enable you to create a high-quality workbook. […]

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