Building Drag and Drop Templates

Please visit Build drag and drop templates in the Smartsheet Help Center. Starting December 29, 2023 the Brandfolder Knowledge Base will only live on Smartsheet Help.


This article applies to the following Content Automation permission levels: 

❌ Contributor

❌ Author

✅ Designer 

✅ Admin

Drag and drop templates empower users with any level of design skill to create and publish their creative templates in a fraction of the time. Compared to existing coded and InDesign technologies, drag-and-drop templates provide a marked increase in speed-to-market.

Before getting started

  • Drag and drop is linked to your brand system. Therefore, all your defined logos, colors, and typefaces can be utilized.
  • Drag and drop is still maturing as a technology and does not support the following:
    • Advanced input types (repeatable content, dynamic content)

Building your template


  1. Navigate to the left-hand side menu and select Templating.
  2. On the Templates page, select + New Template.
  3. Choose the Build your own option.

If you don't see this as an option, reach out to your Custom Success Manager to discuss how you can enable this option for your account.

Navigating the template editor

Once your template has been created you will see the template editor. It is split into 4 main components.

  • Layers/Inputs (objects) sidebar: located on the left-hand side. 
    • Variations/layers: Builders can define one or many Variations with many object layers.
    • Inputs: Allows builders to define areas of customization for end users.
  • Canvas: located in the center, this area is where you can build your template. Currently, it only displays 1 layout at a time.
  • Toolbar: located across the top, it includes your tools, zoom control, and save control.
  • Attributes sidebar: located on the right-hand side it allows you to customize the attributes of a specific object layer (ie. colors, text, size/position). 


A new template will always have a default variation, of a square Instagram tile. You have the ability to create a new one or edit the existing one.

Creating new variations

  1. Select + New variation in the Objects sidebar.
  2. Choose from the list of predefined layout options or define a custom size and name.
  3. If desired, toggle on Enable professional print and adjust the bleed size.
  4. Select, Create.

Editing an existing variation

  1. Hover over the existing variation via the Layers panel in the Objects sidebar.
  2. Select the kebab menu
  3. Select Edit.
  4. Adjust the name and the values, and select Edit Variation

Deleting a variation

  1. From the same menu as above, select Delete Variation. 

Professional Print

The following happens when you enable professional print rendering on a variation:

  • Crop, trim and bleed space is added. You can edit the amount (mm) on the top, bottom, right, and left.
  • The colour space is converted to CMYK.
  • The PDF will be packaged on export.

Building your template

Reference artwork 

One way that you can approach building your template is by uploading an image as reference artwork. This allows you to add a transparent version of your artwork to easily reference while rebuilding your template. 

  1. Navigate to the attributes sidebar on the right-hand side. 
  2. Toggle on Reference Artwork
  3. Choose, Select Artwork
  4. Select the asset you want to use as your reference. 
  5. Build your template components using the toolbar. 

The toolbar

Once you have set up your canvas size, you can start building your template by using the toolbar. 

Text (T)

  1. Select the T icon from the toolbar or use the hotkey (T).
  2. Click on the canvas, or drag to create a textbox.
  3. Adjust the size of the text box by clicking on the edge and dragging, or using the transform tool.

The Attributes sidebar on the right-hand side includes:

  • Size and position
  • Text Content
  • Font Settings including font family, weight, size, and line height
  • Font Color
  • Formatted Lists: ordered lists and bullet points
  • Alignment: horizontal and vertical alignment 
  • Clear Formatting
  • Overset Text Warning: This tells the end user that this text box can only accept text content for the allotted size of the textbox. It produces an error message and the text box will turn red.

Integrations and Options

  • Brand system: Any configured typefaces will automatically pull into the template editor and be available for font family and weight selection
  • Google Fonts: The template editor is also integrated with Google Fonts and can be configured by clicking the Settings cog (left side of the Toolbar) and toggle on Allow Google Fonts
  • Inputs: Custom template inputs can be defined on text objects via the Command icon next to Text and Font styles in the attribute panel.
    • Currently, inputs can be configured on the Text content and Font size attributes

Rectangle (R) / circle (O)

  1. Select the rectangle or circle tool icon from the toolbar or use the hotkeys (R) or (O).
  2. Click and drag on the canvas to create your shape.
  3. For a perfect square or circle, click on the canvas. 
  4. Resize by clicking on the edge and dragging, or using the transform tool.

The attributes sidebar on the right-hand side includes 

  • Size and position
  • Fill
  • Stroke

Image (I)

  1. Select the image icon from the toolbar or use the hotkey (I).
  2. Click and drag on the canvas to create your image container.
  3. Once an initial container is created the Content Automation asset library will appear.
  4. Select your image. You will need to add new images to the asset library, new images can't be added through this process. 

Image fitting

You can define how your image should ‘fit’ in your container with the following options: 

  • Fit: Will contain the whole image in the container (this may create blank space if the container is in a different aspect ratio to the image). This is ideal for product imagery, icons, and logos.
  • Fill: Fills the whole container with the image.
  • Crop: Double-clicking on the image will allow a user to reposition the image in the container or adjust the size of the image container to exactly what they want. 
    • To enter crop mode: double-click on the image.
    • To exit crop mode: Select enter or click outside the image.

Masking an image

Images can be masked to specific shapes. To do so you can do the following: 

  1. Create a shape.
  2. Create an image over the top of the mask.
  3. Select both layers.
  4. Right-click on them and select Convert to Mask.
  5. This will create a mask group.

Integrations and options

  • Inputs: Custom template inputs can be defined on images via the command icon next to image styles in the attribute panel.
    • Currently, inputs can be configured on the Image source. 

Pen (P)

The Pen allows you to create simple polygon shapes.

  1. Select the pen tool icon from the toolbar or use the hotkey (P).
  2. Click on the canvas to add a point to start the polygon shape.
  3. Continue to click to add more points to the polygon shape.
  4. When finished either click on the original point or select the Enter/Return key to finalize your shape.

Tip: to create a straight line, hold the shift key. 

The Attributes sidebar on the right-hand side includes


  • Size and position
  • Fill
  • Stroke 

Logo (L)

  1. Select the Logo icon from the toolbar or use the hotkey (L).
  2. Click on the canvas.
  3. A new modal will appear where you can choose logos from your brand system. Adjust the size of the text box by clicking on the edge and dragging, or using the transform tool.

Background color

You can apply a background color to the layout by setting the fill color. 

Layers/Inputs sidebar

When you add shapes, text, and logos to your layout you will notice them in your layers panel. As your drag-and-drop templates become more complex you will want to organize your layers. 

Reordering layers

  • From the layers panel, layers can be dragged into an appropriate order
  • Or, you can right-click on the layer in the layers panel sidebar or on the layout itself and choose from one of the 4 reorder options:
    • Send to back
    • Send backward
    • Bring forward
    • Bring to front

Deleting layers

  • Layers can be deleted by selecting the object on the layout and hitting the delete/backspace key
  • You can also right-click on the layer in the layers panel and select Delete

Grouping layers

  • Select the layers you wish to group and press CMD/CTRL + G or right-click on the layers and select Group layers
  • To ungroup, select the group and press CMD/CTRL + SHIFT + G or right-click on the layers and select Ungroup layers

Duplicating layers

  • To duplicate a layer or a group select the objects from the canvas or the layer in the layers panel and press CMD/CTRL + D or right-click and select Duplicate

Keyboard shortcuts

  • Hold Spacebar to pan the workspace.
  • Cmd+Z (Ctrl+Z Windows) to undo, Cmd+Shift+Z to redo (Ctrl+Y Windows).
  • Cmd+S (Ctrl+Z Windows) to save.
  • Cmd+D (Ctrl+D Windows to duplicate an object.
  • Hold Cmd (Ctrl) and scroll to zoom in and out.
  • With a trackpad,  pinch/spread to zoom, two-finger to pan.
  • Tools shortcuts
    • T (Text)
    • R (Rectangle)
    • O (Circle)
    • I (Image)
    • P (Pen)
    • L (Logo)
  • Del to delete an object.
  • Cmd+G (Ctrl+G) to group objects, Cmd+Shift+G to ungroup.

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