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Top tips for creating a Doc - from start to finish
Top tips for creating a Doc - from start to finish

Helpful tips for each stage of Doc creation.

Chloe Denton avatar
Written by Chloe Denton
Updated over a week ago

Here at Turtl, we strive to make the content creation process easy and timely. We acknowledge what it takes to produce content that is stand-out and also something to be proud of. The behind-the-scenes work prior to publishing a Doc may feel overwhelming at times. You may ask yourself: Should I choose another layout? Could another widget be added to the page? Did I check the mobile view? We've compiled the three top tips to bear in mind for each aspect of the content creation process.

Getting started on your Doc

Check the theme

Make sure you're always working with the correct and most up-to-date brand theme. This should be 'default' in the settings or selected from the dropdown when creating new Docs. If your brand works with multiple themes, get to know each one as if trying on a new item of clothing – see how you can style it up!

Create a wireframe

Place all of your copy in the Doc and create a logical page flow. Group content into chapters where possible (to reduce clicks) and use page breaks in Immerse to define natural page splits. Try doing all of the above before you start committing to layouts!

Pro tip: Keep the number of your immerse pages below 20 to avoid performance issues.

Plan for widgets

While at the wireframe stage, loosely place potential widgets and plan for the placement of sign-up forms. This is your chance to re-imagine your source material (flat PDFs, we're looking at you), instead of re-creating it like-for-like.

Key takeaway: If this isn't your first rodeo creating Turtl Docs, see if there's anything you can learn from past projects' analytics. Were readers dropping off at longer chapters? More engaged with interactivity than not? Implement this kind of feedback into your wireframe.

Sourcing your visuals


  1. Think editorial - Whitepapers, reports, newsletters... You can't go wrong with an 'editorial' look and feel. Embrace the human element and stay away from tacky. If you're lost, go abstract rather than literal. For consistency, try having a thread of color running throughout.

  2. Keep Stock - Keep a record of great images by saving them as a mood board on Pexels, Unsplash, or iStock. If not, keep a desktop folder of your go-to images that will help get you off the ground.

  3. Add via URL - Fast-track adding images by inserting them via the hosted URL, rather than saving them to your local files.

  4. Add images from Upload history or company Library, which are both great ways of keeping stock of brand imagery.


  1. Source it - Videos, GIFs or even cinemagraphs – use motion to remind your reader they're far from a PDF. Pexels is a handy, free video resource.

  2. Trim it - Downloaded a video to use on Surf? Load up QuickTime (probably pre-installed on your machine) and follow the steps in the GIF below to trim to around 10 seconds.

  3. Set the still - On Surf, hit the 'cover' button below the uploader and use the slider to select your still image. On the cover, this image will pull through on the sharing thumbnail so it's key.

Key takeaway: Aim for under 2MB for best optimization – Turtl won't let you upload videos larger than 10MB.

Designing for Surf

  1. Go cover to cover - It sounds obvious, but it's a rule we try to follow – where possible, use the Cover styles for the Cover of your Doc.

  2. Pare back styles - Within a Doc, choose one Surf style and stick with it – we'll change up positioning and possibly the colours – but try not to mix Banner, Inset, Clear etc.

Secret text styling - In some brand themes, you can add text in asterisks inside Surf heading and subheading fields to unlock bonus styling. This isn't the case for all themes, but it's always worth a shot so check out the possibilities below.

Key takeaway: In the heading field, *texthere* could add the primary colour to the text. In the subheading field, **texthere** could apply bold to the text

Designing for Immerse

1. Column widths - Getting to grips with column widths? Think of designing for Immerse like designing mini magazine spreads. Pick up some (real life!) mags, or gather some inspiration online with Pinterest, for example.

2. Existing templates - Fear the blank Turtl Doc? Use the existing templates saved in the 'templates' area of your tenant. These are generic and have been around for a little while, but we're in the process of updating these over the coming months so sit tight.

3. DIY templates - Just created a Doc you love? Kicking off a series? Turn the Doc into a template and use it again next time to speed up your own workflow. Just hit 'Make a template' in the dropdown.

Key takeaway: A 3-column layout is the most fail-safe route to fast, editorial layouts for multiple use cases.

Subbing and typesetting

  1. Use letter spacing - Shake off unwanted orphans and widows with letterspacing. Hold 'control' + 'alt/option' and use your left and right keys.

  2. Find and replace - Use the search function in the Contents menu as a 'find' function to highlight and (manually) replace words or terms when making blanket edits throughout a Doc.

  3. Review text sizing - Take stock of your text sizes – use large text and extra large headings sparingly and review across different screen sizes. Try for consistent heading styles throughout.

Key takeaway: As much as we love line spacing, it's easy to get carried away. Never go beyond -0.030em or 0.030em unless it's for stylistic purposes!

Want to know more about letter spacing? Click here to learn more.

Master Mobile View

  1. Hide and show - Hide images on Immerse (often those that are portrait orientation) that take up too much real estate on mobile.

  2. Resize icons to fit - Make use of our brilliant new (-ish) feature in the mobile settings that allow you to resize icons independently of the desktop view.

  3. Mobile road test - While the live mobile preview is a Turtl luxury, it isn't 100% accurate due to all the varying screen sizes out there – always cross-reference with your phone or tablet.

Key takeaway: Download the QR Code extension below to fast-track viewing draft Docs on your phone. Simply open the draft, hit the QR extension and scan.

Click here to download the QR Code Extension

Finish up with QA

1. Banish blank space - Keep an eye out for rogue spaces/returns between widgets or at the end of Immerse – these will show up on mobile.

2. Try comments - We love the comment function. It's the best way to collaborate on Docs internally, provide feedback and also leave notes to self.

3. Apply labels - As your Doc moves through the workflow or approvals process, utilise labels to make it clear what stage of sign-off you're at. Think 'With stakeholders for review', 'Design amends in progress'...

Key takeaway: QA is a key part of our internal processes – leaving comments is a huge help for progressing user skills, and helping to democratize design in Turtl.

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