What is it?
Blinkplan is an online tool to create magazine flat plans (or flatplans). They are called different things in different countries. Other names are:
- magazine pagination
- magazine layout templates
- magazine page maps
- mapping layout for magazines
- page map templates
We support the latest versions of Chrome, Safari and Firefox. You can download these for free by clicking on their names.
There are two ways to add pages/ The first method is via the Page Adder on the top right. Simply type in the number of pages you want - and hit Add Pages.
The second method is to add new pages inbetween other pages. Every page has a dropdown menu - in it you will find the Add Pages option.
We have a number of ad-sizes to choose from. Click the page, then click on the current template name to pick a different one.
You can upload a thumbnail per page to show the page in a more visual manner. We accept JPG, GIF, PNG files, and PDF files. If you upload a PDF we will transform it to a JPG.
Once you have at least one thumbnail - you can choose to show or hide them for the entire flatplan. You'll see an image button appear above the flatplan.
To delete a thumbnail - Edit the page and click on the trashcan icon below the preview.
If you want to quickly look at a bigger version of the thumbnail you uploaded - you can click the "quick look" icon when you hover over the page.
There are two ways to delete pages - and that is via the Page Adder on the top right, or on the page menu of the page you want to delete.
If you want to delete multiple pages simply type in the number of pages you want to delete- and select the delete menu item from the Add Pages button. These pages are deleted from the end of the flatplan. So if you type in a 20 - the last 20 pages of the flatplan will be deleted.
If you just want to delete a single page, you can do so by selecting Delete from the page menu.
You can drag & drop pages to move them. Drag & drop has two modes - you can temporarily switch between the modes by holding down the ALT (or SHIFT for some browsers) key when starting to drag. The two modes are called "sticky", and "flow".
When you drag a page using this mode (the default mode), it leaves a gap behind. When you drop it onto the holding area, or another gap - you move the page without causing the rest of the pages to reflow. When you drop it onto another page, you swap the pages out.
Pages reflow automatically after moving pages around. This is useful if you want to insert a page between pages. Please note though - to only let go of the mouse button when the mouse pointer is hovering inside the dotted placeholder - else they tend to fly back.
Switching between modes
You can temporarily switch between "sticky" mode and "flow" mode by holding down the SHIFT key while starting a drag. In your settings, you can specify which mode you want to be your default mode. We recommend the "sticky" mode to be your default. The alternate mode is always accessible via the the SHIFT key when you start a drag. Try it out.
Multi-page drag and drop
With Blinkplan you can select multiple pages, and drag and drop them as a single unit. You can select each page to be dragged, by clicking on the page's drag icon (in the top left of the page). Click and drag the same icon to start the drag.
Temporary holding area
You can drag pages from your flatplan onto a holding area. You can open and close the holding area by clicking on the the pull-tab on the left hand side of your browser.
This holding area is a great way to store some pages that you don't yet know where to place.
Every action you take on Blinkplan can be undone - provided you haven't refreshed your browser or left the editor in the mean time. So if you delete 100 pages by mistake, or span content across 10 pages overriding your existing pages by mistake - don't panic, just click undo.
You can undo all your current history.
You can assign different colours to your content in your pages using the categories. We start you off with two default categories, but you can remove them or add more and change their colours by clicking on them.
As you add more content to your pages, we will keep a running total of the content you have assigned to a particular category, and also a percentage of the total.
You can add comments to pages. You will see them in the Comments section on the Edit Page screen.
If you mention a co-worker with an @username, your co-worker will receive an email notification with your comment.
You can create tags for each of your pages on the edit screen. Just type in a tag, and press the TAB key to add it to the page. These tags could be anything like workflow type tags, e.g. "Signed off", "Design started", "Not received", "Awaiting Copy" etc.
Tags are presented via small colored dots at the bottom of each page. You can edit these colors on the Tags screen.
You can use these tags to filter your pages, so that you can easily determine which ones have been "Signed off" for example. This filtering ability is also available on the Share link.
You can either share a link to a PDF, or a link to a view-only version. You can get a link for either one by using the share menu - and copying the resulting URL from your browser address bar.
Both the link to the PDF, and the link to the view-only version don't require your recipients to have a login. Anybody who gets this URL can see your flatplan. But nobody can edit your flatplan.
Note: When your recipients open the link - it always displays the current state at that time of your flatplan. If you don't want them to see the current state, but rather a version that you decide on - then download your own PDF when you are ready, and email it as an attachment instead.
A view-only version is the current "live" view of your flatplan, but without any of the editing capabilities. The link to the view-only version does not require a login - so anybody who gets this link can view it - and will see the latest version of your pagination. But nobody can edit your flatplan.
You can export the view-only version to PDF from a link on that page.
You can send a link to the snapshot from within the app by selecting the email link in the flatplan dropdown menu.
Here you can create groups if you like, so that, for example, you can send the flatplan to ‘Sales team’ or ‘All staff’. If they reply to the mail, their replies will come through on your normal e-mail.
The neatest-looking to print your flatplan, is to download it as a PDF (which takes a couple of seconds) by clicking on PDF at the top of the screen. Then print the PDF.
You can change page numbering from within the dropdown menu of any page. In addition, from the first page you can also specify whether you want to use 'Cover', 'IFC', 'IBC', and 'Back' as the page number labels.
The sections feature is primarily for use by the printers who print your magazine. Depending on what print process they use (eg web, gravure, etc) their machines print magazines in different-sized sections. So, for example, a 124-page mag could be made up of three sections of 32 pages, plus a section of 24, plus a 4-page section, which is the cover. It’s all bound up together and makes no difference to the reader. It simply depends on the size sections that particular printer’s machines can print.
The sections don't affect your pages. Think of the sections section (sorry) more as a calculator. If you know what sections you want to print on - you can use the calculator to determine whether you created the correct number of pages.
Once you know how many pages you want, and what sizes your printing company can print, you work out how many of each size of section you need. Blinkplan allows for any even-sized section size, and as many sections as you need.
You can specify after which page to insert a stitch-in. If you have multiple stitch-ins, it can be a good idea to specify the front and back content of the stitch-in so that you can tell them apart. If it is a whole book you're including, it is the front and back cover of the book. If you want to create a flatplan for the book itself, then you can do so on a separate flatplan.
The system does not alert you whether the stitch-in can be inserted after the page you set. You need to do your own manual calculations and ensure they are correct.
You can see the stitch-ins on the flatplan, and if you click the stitch-in you can see the front and back content. Click the line again to clear the pop up.
You can include notes for the flatplan as a whole. These will appear on the PDF you can generate.
When you create a new flatplan, you have three options:
- Create an empty flatplan
- Clone the layout - so number of pages, and templates and category used for every page.
- Clone everything - basically duplicate the current flatplan.
Switch between Flatplans
You can see all your flatplans in the flatplan dropdown menu.