Setting Up Auto-Publish

Benefits of AutoPublish

Auto-Publish can be used to:

  • Create a print ready PDF directly from your flatplan
  • View and check artwork is print ready
  • Automatically trim and automatically resize artwork without having to request a graphic designer to do this for you.
  • Set all your footers on the flatplan


Setting up AutoPublish          

We’ve created a quick start for you to get going with Auto-Publish:

  1. Set Up - Page Layout
  2. Flat Panning with Auto-Publish
  3. Checking your publication
  4. Create the final PDF
  5. Settings that are used by Auto-Publish

1) Set Up - Page Layout 

Auto-Publish is automatically switched on for you within MagManager.

If you are publishing an A5 magazine we have created default Page Layouts and Advert Sizes that should work for your publication, based on the following settings: 


The Page Layouts & Advert Sizes are explained fully in section 5, but unless you’re really keen to understand the inner workings of Auto-Publish, you shouldn’t need to look at them. 

If you are NOT publishing an A5 magazine, give us a call and we’ll help you through setting up the hard stuff!

Page Layouts can be viewed by clicking on the Gear icon, top right of the screen in MagManager > Under Publication & Settings – click on Page Layouts. 

Advert Sizes can be viewed by clicking on the Gear icon, top right of the screen in MagManager > Under Settings – click on Internationalise > Click the Content tab.


2) Flat Planning with Auto-Publish

With Auto-Publish set up in MagManager you can now start working on your Flatplan and the artwork on it.


2.1) Managing Artwork on your flatplan

To start managing your artwork on the flat plan, go to any of your pages and click on the page number, a pop-up window will display named ‘Layout’.


In this example you need to click on the number 5. NOTE that the layout option will not appear if the page doesn’t have any artwork on it.

For the next section of the help guide it is worth noting the number of items in the grid that is displayed on the page. In the example above there are 16 items in the grid (4x4).
THIS IS IMPORTANT. You can find more details about choosing layouts in section 5.


2.2) Pop up Layout Screen

This popup is a bit daunting at first, but it’s actually much simpler than it appears.


Layout Drop-Down
This relates to the IMPORTANT note mentioned in 2.1. The Layout is set to a 16 Grid. This means that this particular page of your magazine will work with ANY mix of adverts that fit into the 16 grid. The 16 grid is by far the most common grid in use, but if your page is using a different grid, just select it from the drop down. Your magazine will have a default grid, but you can set a different grid for every page if you want to.

Override Advert/Content Artwork

Toggle this switch to green to switch it on. If you wish to upload a full page of finished artwork to override the existing artwork for each client.  Eg you’re running a Christmas Feature with the adverts incorporated into the design of the page rather than using the individual adverts.  

Upload Artwork Button – This Will Appear When The Override Advert/Content Artwork is Switched On
Let’s say you’ve sold a half page advert with a half page editorial. Your flatplan will show half a page of content and half a page advert. It is not uncommon for designers to design both the editorial and the advert. They then supply a page of finished artwork. So rather than having to split up the designer’s creation into 2 half pages, you can just upload finished artwork for that page of your publication. If you do this, padlocks will appear on the flatplan preventing you moving it.   

Margins – Top/Bottom Inside/Outside

You can set both the inside and outside margins of the page. Reminder – inside is the margin closest to the spine and outside is the margin closest to the edge that you will use to thumb through the publication.

Top and bottom margins are distances from the top or bottom of the page respectively.

Horizontal & Vertical Spacing

These settings alter the white space that auto-publish will automatically put between your artwork. Publications look better when the spacing is consistent across all pages and if both horizontal and vertical spacing is the same. Computers are much better than humans at getting this consistently correct and is the biggest reason that auto-published magazines look tidier 


If you’ve been supplied artwork that is the right shape to cover a full page in your publication, but it has no bleed on it, auto-publish can automatically resize the artwork to bleed off the page. See Section 2.4 for how to use auto-bleed.

Aspect Ratio Tolerance

Magmanager will automatically allow a 10% tolerance to re-size adverts to fit the space – anything over this and a warning will appear advising of the difference.  You can choose to increase the tolerance by entering a higher number in the box.  However, this will likely result in the advert being stretched or compacted.

Left/ Right Master Page

If you have master pages set up they will be available for selection from the drop down box.  An example of a master page is a template with a coloured border to indicate a section in your magazine – this could be green on all the pages relevant to the home & garden section and blue on all the pages relevant to local trades.

Show Footer and items in this section

By default, the footer will contain the folio (page number) and your footer text but you can change that on a per page basis if you want to in this section.


Changing the footer section on an individual page will override your default settings.  Clicking the ‘show footer’ checkbox will either add or remove the footer from this page of the publication and show/hide the additional options.

The additional options include the font, the font size, the position of where the footer will appear, the margin settings here relate to the position of the footer text from the edge of the page, the left and right text settings allow you to modify the footer text appearing on the left facing page and right facing page and the colour allows you to change the colour of the footer text.

Layout Complete

Toggle this switch to green to switch it on and mark the page as complete. All pages marked as complete on your flatplan will have an orange border around it.  Marking the page as complete starts the process of MagManager creating a digital edition of your publication, which you can link on your website or share with clients and potential clients.


2.3) Buttons on the layout page

Reset: Pressing this button will reset the settings back to the defaults defined by the page layout selected.

Save: Saves any changes you have made to the layout for this page.

Download: Creates a print ready PDF of this page and downloads it to your computer.  You will find it saved in your Downloads folder.

Preview with trim: Creates a PDF with crop marks and a visible trim box (in green). This allows you to quickly see the edge of the printed page and where your printers will trim up to. If artwork falls outside of the trim area, then you should consider modifying the artwork.

TIP: This button is the MOST useful function on this page as it allows you to check what your page is going to look like BEFORE you print it.

An example of a page set to preview with trim is shown below:



Preview: The same as ‘Preview with trim’ but the trim box is not displayed. See below:



2.4) When to switch on Auto Bleed

You should only use ‘Auto Bleed’ for full page or double page adverts.

In the 2 examples below we have auto bleed switched on and off. To make a decision on whether to use Auto Bleed, switch it on for your advert and then click on ‘Preview with Trim’ this will enable you to see if it will work for this particular artwork.

Note – if you do use auto-bleed make sure you switch off the footer as you probably won’t want to see the footer over an advert with bleed.

mceclip2.png       mceclip3.png    

The advert on the left is with auto-bleed switched OFF, the one on the right has it switched ON.

When switching auto-bleed ON, be careful to ensure that any artwork elements do not get too close to the trim box (green box above). Printers will generally respect your trim box, but artwork that gets too close may be trimmed.


2.5) Double Page Settings

Auto-publish can handle artwork that is uploaded as a complete double page spread. You will note that 2 additional check boxes appear when you upload a piece of artwork that is set as double page (see below). 

In most cases the artwork will be supplied as completed artwork so you should make sure that. ‘Crop Marks’ and ‘Has Bleed’ are selected.  These now display as a toggle switch which you click to turn on and off, green indicates that it is switched on and grey indicates that it is switched off.




2.6) Resize artwork and remove crop marks

Auto-Publish can resize adverts for you.

When an advert is the wrong size but is the correct aspect ratio, for example a ½ page advert that is supplied too small or slightly too big, Auto-Publish will automatically resize this advert when you create your PDF. Use the ‘preview’ or ‘preview with trim’ feature from the layout menu (click the page number on the flatplan) to check that resizing does not have major detrimental effects on either resolution or artwork.                                          


If you have an advert supplied with crop marks, Auto-Publish can remove these for you providing that the artwork supplied is a PDF file AND that it contains a trim box. The default settings for major software providers will create a trim box within the artwork. If the artwork does NOT have a trim box (you will know if auto-crop fails), you will have to manually remove the crop marks in a desktop publisher or other suitable software.

Example of artwork uploaded with crop marks:


Artwork after ‘Auto Crop’ has been applied:


Once you have applied auto-crop to artwork, use the ‘preview’ or ‘preview with trim’ feature from the layout menu (click on the page number in the flatplan) to check that the artwork appears as you expect it to appear.


2.7) In Index

The ‘In Index’ toggle switch is used to identify adverts that you want to appear in the Advertiser Index that MagManager automatically creates.  The toggle switch has a default setting of on and will be green.  If you click the toggle switch it will turn off and appear grey.  The advert will NOT appear in the Advertiser Index.


2.8) Check Colour Space

In the image above you will see the ‘Check Colour Space’ button to the bottom left.  Clicking this button will perform a preflight check of the artwork.  If the Ninja detects any RGB colours a warning will display across the top and a warning triangle will appear in the check colour space button – see below:


This is an advisory message - it's a new checking feature in MagManger.  It simply flags up the issue so that you can make the necessary changes, should your printer NOT accept files with RGB colour in them.  Our printer will convert any RGB colours but there are some who will not.


3) Checking your Publication and marking pages as ‘Complete’

We recommend previewing your publication carefully before creating your print ready PDF.

Go to the Flatplan Overview.


Click on Auto-Publish Options; a pop up window will display.


Click on Auto-Publish; the Create Layout File pop up window will display.

Select pages to create, we would recommend you do this in 2 files if your magazine is over 80 pages as it does take some time to create and the files can be very large. The example below will create a PDF containing pages 1-20 of your publication:


If you use wrappers you may want to modify the start page number so that the page numbering in the footer matches the start page of your magazine after the wrapper.

If you click ‘Preview with trim’ auto-publish will create a PDF containing the green trim marks as per the examples in section 2.3 and 2.4. Once complete a PDF containing the selected pages will be displayed.

Go through each of the pages and carefully check that no artwork that you want printed is running over (or very close) the trim box area. If you have amended any of the margin/footer settings, you should also check that all of the artwork on the page lines up.

TIP: The most common problem found during preview is page numbers appearing on top of complete artwork.

TIP: Have the PDF open alongside your flatplan and make changes to the flatplan using ‘layout’ as you go through the PDF.

It is good practice to mark each page that you have checked as complete. By marking your pages as complete, it will also automatically start creating the pages of your digital version of your publication for you. Pages that are marked as complete will appear in your digital edition, if they are not marked as complete, the pages in your digital publication will appear blank.


Each page can be marked as complete is 2 ways:
By clicking on the Red X on the bottom left of the page on the flatplan or
From the flat plan, select the page number to bring up the page layout settings and toggle the Layout Complete switch at the bottom of the page, so it turns green > Click Save.



Pages marked as complete, will appear with a gold border on the flatplan overview and a green tick will appear in the bottom left corner.





4) Create the final PDF

Once you have checked and corrected your pages using the preview, you can now create your print ready PDF.

Follow the process outlined in section 3, but this time click ‘Create’ and NOT ‘Preview with Trim’.



This will generate a print-ready PDF file that will be downloaded to your computer, ready to send to your printer.

A ninja will appear on screen, it will disappear once the process is complete, and a green ’file created’ notification bar appear will flash across the top of your screen. The file should either be downloading (or be downloaded) to the ‘downloads folder’ on your computer.


Create Individual Files as Zip - There is also the option to 'Create Individual Files as Zip' this downloads a zip file containing each page as an individual PDF.  To use this option you must enter the page range in the format 1-48 (no spaces) in the 'Select Pages to Create' field, otherwise the downloaded zip file will be blank.


5 )Settings that are used by Auto-Publish

5.1) Page Layouts

Page layouts are used to set the page size, margins, footers etc… With the exception of page size they contain the same settings as those described in section 2.2. 

Go to Settings by clicking the gear icon – top right of screen > Under the Publications & Bookings heading select ‘Page Layouts’ > Select the ‘Layouts’ tab.

To make it easier to use, MagManager has created default page layouts, we have created four A5 templates, these are:

10 Grid 
12 & 18 Grid
16 Grid – This is the most common grid size for an A5 magazine
6 Grid


How on earth did we come up with those names? They are based on the grids that appear when you are flat planning. Try it yourself. Go to the flat plan and start to drag a new item of any size onto the flat plan. Depending on which advert you choose, the grid on the blank pages will change to match one of the grids below:


Each of these grids divides the page into a different number of chunks, 18, 16, 12, 10 and 6. 

Almost all magazines are based on 16 as this is used for ½, ¼ etc… You should choose the layout that matches the grid you are using on each page of your publication.

If none of the standard layouts are suitable for your publication, please get in touch with the MagManager Helpdesk.

Note – You don’t have to use the same layout for all of your magazines or pages.

TIP - If you have multiple publications and use the same footer message across all publications, you can simply use the same Page Layout across all publications.  If on the other hand you have a different footer message on each publication, then it’s recommended that you set up a new page layout for each publication, which will allow you to personalise the footer for each publication.


5.2) Customising the page layouts

We would recommend using the MagManager Page Layouts template and sizes and only change the default footer details. You can change the names of the layouts without affecting anything else in the system, for example you could rename the one you use to ‘Our Magazine Layout’.  

To do this Click on the grid you will use in the ‘Name’ column – this opens the ‘Edit Layout’ screen > Edit the text in the ‘Name’ text box > Save.

TIP: Be careful amending the margin sizes as there is a mathematical calculation based on the size of the magazines and the spacing between adverts and the top, bottom and side margins. If you are unsure, please get in touch. 

The 16 page layout template is set for a A5 sized magazine, with the option to set 32 adverts on each page. 

16 Grid Page Layout template example:

Page Width – 148 mm (A5 Magazine)
Page Height – 210 mm (A5 Magazine)

Top and bottom margins are set to 10mm

Inside and outside margins are set 8mm

Horizontal and vertical spacing are set to 4mm, this is the spacing between each of the adverts set on the page.




5.2.1)  Footer

Show Footer – Switched on by default

Footer Style - From here you can customise the font, size, colour, position, margins, left and right text.



5.3) Setting Default Page Layouts for your publications

Go to Settings by clicking the gear icon – top right of screen > Under the Publications & Bookings heading click ‘Publications’ > Click on your publication name > Click on the ‘Defaults’ tab.

You will see an option ‘Master Layout’, this is where you choose the Page Layout for your publication. Click on the Update button at the bottom of the screen to save this setting.


In this example we have selected the 16 - Grid.


5.4) Set up your advert Sizes

The Page Layouts define the size of the page and the gaps between artwork, but they work in combination with the size of the adverts to ensure they fit on the page. They may not match the artwork sizes that you ask your customers to supply, but the software will automatically resize artwork to fit the content on the page. 

Go to Settings by clicking the gear icon – top right of screen > Under the Settings heading click ‘Internationalise’ > Click the ‘Content’ tab. 

This is where you set up your advert sizes. See screenshot of adverts set up for an A5 publication. Please let us know if your publication is not A5.

If your publication is A5, do not change the custom sizes here. If you are using A5 and these sizes do not match your current artwork sizes, don’t worry, as MagManager will automatically adjust them.




5.5) Worked example of how page layouts and advert sizes combine

Using the page layout in section 5.1, 5.2 together with the advert sizes setup in 5.4. The following illustrates how they interact together (Blue figures are setup in page layouts, Red figures are set in Advert sizes) this example is based on the default 16-grid layout provided:




When considering modifying either advert sizes or layouts, you need to consider that no matter what combination of adverts you use on a page, they need to add up to the same width and height including the horizontal/vertical spacing. 

TIP: In the example above the adverts together with the gaps and margins always add up to the width and height of the page.

If we look at the top of the page, the inside and outside margins are 8mm and the half page advert is 132mm wide. The total page width is 8+132+8 = 148mm the exact width of A5.

Looking at the bottom of the page where we have a combination of advert sizes, the margins are still the same, but there are horizontal gaps and different advert sizes. The total width is 8mm (margin), 64mm (1/4page), 4mm (gap), 30mm (1/16page), 4mm (gap), 30mm (1/32nd page), 8mm (margin). OR 8+64+4+30+4+30+8 = 148mm the exact width of A5. 

If we had incorrectly sized any of the adverts, we would have ended up with staggered gaps and a really untidy page.

The same applies Vertically on a page, and if you perform the same exercise vertically on the above example you will find that the combination of margins, gaps and adverts will always add up to 210mm.

It is possible to create page layouts that deal with specific circumstances, for example if you have a particular part of your publication where you always have 4 quarter pages, you could choose to have tighter margins, but slightly larger gaps between them and call that layout ‘Tight Margins Quarters’. This could then be applied to those pages in your publication that require that layout.


Search Terms: Autopublish, Auto Publish, Auto-publish

Have more questions? Submit a request


Article is closed for comments.