23 Yearbook Hacks for 2023

Hands forming a heart with yearbook hacks written on them: send to back, marketing tips, printed proof, alignment

Forget resolutions, it’s time to get to work. Our staff brainstormed the top yearbook hacks you can use at any stage in the yearbook creation process and packed this blog with videos, how-tos, and examples. Use the quick links below if you need to jump to a specific area.

Yearbook Design Hacks

Designing a yearbook is much more than just putting pictures on pages. Intentionality, storytelling, and branding are included. The following time- and sanity-savers will help you progress in your role as editor, adviser, coordinator, or yearbook fan girl.

1. Auto Layout

What if you could just drag the photos you want to use on a spread and they would magically be organized and re-sized? Voilà!

The best part? Everything is still fully editable, so if you need a starting point, you can continue to build your spreads with more photos and text, swap our images, and change the color of the elements.

2. Color Picker

You can pull the exact color from any picture to add to your design. This builds the yearbook’s visual cohesiveness because you can pull from photos or graphics to create your custom palette.

3. Layers in Design

Up your design by using layers to arrange photos, images, and text. In the examples below, you’ll see graphic elements used as photo frames (movie night spread) and editable shapes used to organize content (table of contents). Using the forward and background tools in the options panel can help you arrange elements.

View the full menu of options here.

  • Yearbook spread showing layering of photos and graphic elements
  • Yearbook table of contents using layered text

4. Custom Pages

Schools are used to offering senior ads as a way to congratulate students. Treering schools take it a step further and allow every family to tell their story with two free custom pages (and the option to add even more).

5. Missing Portrait Hack

“Picture day is the easiest day of the year,” said no adviser ever. As hard as we work to make it a flawless experience and to capture every student and staff member, perfect attendance is out of our control. One way we love to see people included in their respective sections is by flowing them in with this spirited touch.

6. Advanced Portrait Settings

Another hack for your people section is included with the advanced portrait settings. Subtitles are a simple way to add marks of distinction such as student activities and honors as well as staff department or job titles. Other advanced portrait settings include spacing and sizing options.

Sequoia High flows their faculty and staff by last name, so department identification is included.

7. The Magical Shift Key

Shift your process for aligning and rotating objects.

8. Printed Proof

A printed proof is an exact copy of your yearbook, and every school gets one free. Use your printed proof to

  • Check the placement of cover art
  • Assess the readability of fonts, especially the names on your portrait pages
  • Show off your amazing work (more on this in the marketing section)

9. Picking Favorites—it’s OK!

“Liking” graphics, backgrounds, and photos makes it easier to find them to add to yearbook spreads. To use your hand-picked collection in your book, filter by “My Likes” and “Team Likes” in the drop-down.

A red heart indicates a “like” and we like to use this to mark which pics have to be in the book. It is also a teaching tool: use likes to discuss what makes a great photograph with your yearbook staff.

10. Pre-Designed Pages

Anually, Treering publishes elementary and middle/high school “Year in Review” and “Best of the Year” Pre-Designed yearbook spreads. These spreads include noteworthy highlights from pop culture and current events, and like all things Treering, these pages are editable so you can choose to replace the content with your own. Some communities prefer school or local election news, campus trends, or athletic records. Pre-Designed pages which include mention of our philanthropic partner, Sandy Hook Promise, are also available as well as about me, art gallery, and puzzle pages.

Get More People in the Yearbook

The best practice for yearbook coverage is to ensure each student is in the yearbook three times. Think one photo in each section: portrait, classroom, and activity.

11. Crowdsourcing Features

Treering’s crowdsourcing tools include integrations with Facebook, Instagram, and Google Drive as well as shared photo folders. Teachers, parents, and students can email photographs from their devices directly to event folders in your school account. 

According to adviser Lauren Casteen, Yearbook Hero and leader of Treering’s Teaching Yearbook cohort, there are four reasons to crowdsource content:

  1. Equity: if you want your book to look like your school, your school needs to help you build your book.
  2. People are already familiar with documenting and sharing their lives via social media—it’s an easy next step.
  3. Your yearbook staff can’t be everywhere all the time.
  4. Less work for you! (This is our favorite.)

12. Monitoring Coverage

A big question we hear is, “Why would you want to tag student names when we’re not doing an index?” Since our job as advisers is to cover all the students on campus, tagging is one way to track how many times students appear in the yearbook. It also helps you find out who is missing from your pages and craft strategies to include them.

13. Keyword Tagging

By using keywords such as event names and topics (e.g. AP Lit), your search just became that much more powerful, and the English folder less intimidating to navigate.

14. Find Carmen San Diego

Tagging by student name helps you easily find students within your web of folders.

15. Polls

Create polls to give a snapshot of the student body’s preferences. Treering’s software even makes the graphs for you. Expand on this or that-style questions or multiple choice ones by interviewing a respondent for more detail. You may be surprised why your star soccer player is a cat dad.

Marketing Tips

The second semester is when we see surges in book sales. Here are some hacks to get more yearbooks in more hands.

16. Free Yearbook Flyers

The price is right. So is the message.

17. Use Your Printed Proof as Social Proof

Social proof is one way you can positively encourage others to support your program by buying a yearbook.

  • Show students, teachers, and parents how you are using the photos they submit by posting a PDF proof with their snaps in use
  • Share sneak peeks
  • Photograph your printed proof around campus as if it were a student (tag us!)
  • Video your yearbook team swooning over their work

Hacks for Yearbook Advisers

All of the above definitely apply to yearbook advisers and coordinators, and here are few extras because you are our people.

18. Free Webinars: Yearbook Club

A yearbook adviser PLC? Live yearbook training? Technology pro-grow? However you want to sell it to your admin, we have it. And it’s free. 

19. Styles

By establishing photo and text styles early on, you create a cohesive look for your yearbook. Because the font library continues to grow, it’s nice to set some limits, especially with emerging designers!

20. Portrait Proofing with PDFs

Printing PDF proofs from the editor dashboard as soon as you get your portraits flowed is one quick way to ensure accuracy. Distribute them to the office staff and classroom or homeroom teachers for a double and triple check.

21. A List of Evergreen Content

Evergreen content for yearbooks is a collection of interview questions, infographic topics, and story ideas that can be used throughout the year. While we want to have a yearbook that reflects the current year and trends, having a timeless collection keeps your students working on interviews and photography and provides material to fill in on portrait pages, sports sections, and even in the index. 

22. Supplemental Books

Sometimes club sports, special events, and alumni need a little extra. You can still attach a fundraiser, take advantage of our free design software, and enjoy all the other perks of making a Treering book: no minimums and a three-week turnaround from the day you submit.

  • Performing arts yearbook spread and cover for supplemental book
  • Hack for including clubs not on campus: create a supplemental book such as this scouting-themed book with pre-designed cover and layouts

Treering’s printed books for family reunions, church or neighborhood directories, scout troops, sport associations (rodeo, mountain bike, cheerleading, gymnastics), 4-H, school auctions, cookbooks, performing arts studios, first responders, and more.

23. Yearbook Hack Central: Treering Blog

(Shameless, we know!) We’re glad you’re here and hope you find more yearbook hacks by searching the blog or signing up for notifications when we post new content.

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