Published on: 12-04-2017

In the spotlight: Documentary Template

You can make online publications more dynamic using the Documentary template. Whether it’s a long article or a bunch of facts, you can use this template for any purpose. There is one requirement, however: you must have good images.

Thanks to a background image with an image layer on top, you can give various slides a 3D effect. By moving your mouse across the image, the image layer and the background image move separately from each other based on the position of the cursor. This is called the parallax mouse effect.

The seven layout types

The template consists of slides, which can each be given a specific ‘layout type’. You can choose from as many as seven different layout types within this Documentary template.

Title/quote: the name really says it all: your slide only contains a title and/or a quote.

Text: in addition to a title and a subtitle, you can also include a short text.

Text + Image: extra space to include both text and image. Both in one frame.

Text + Video: extra space to include both text and video. Both in one frame.

Text scrolling: you can include a long strip of text on the left or the right side. Sort of like our Easy scroll template.

Hotspots: round buttons, or hotspots, that you can position on your slides individually. Those who have worked with the Hotspots or Zooming Hotspots template will probably be familiar with them.

Video: unlike Text + Video, you cannot include text. Only title and subtitle.

How do you start?

Look at your content first. If you have a longer article, then break it up into small pieces so you can distribute the text across a number of slides. A great example is the article on Butterfly Housing in the most recent issue of PwC' Inzake Magazine. Do you have a fun facts item? Choose a slide for each fun fact and upload a suitable background image. For a series of photos or a photoshoot, it makes sense to use a separate slide for each photo and text.

After that, it’s a matter of creating a new page and choosing the Documentary template.

Step 1: Navigation and 3D effect
You first choose the type of navigation to use on the page. This arrow will allow you to easily switch between the slides. You have five options: none, circles, bars, buttons and circle on top, just like other long read template you may be familiar with. You can also opt for the 3D effect on the right side here. This is enabled by default, which means that the background image and/or the image layer move independently across each other. If you would prefer to disable this option, you can.

Step 2: Pick a layout type suitable for your content
As described above, this template offers seven layout options. This means you can start your first slide with the ‘Title/quote’ option to start your article with a header for example. If you would like to include an article, you can also start with ‘Text’, so your first slide includes a title, subtitle and an introduction.

Have you made a decision? Upload a background image, which will be included as a fullscreen image later. You then include your content, choosing a title slide (a tab that will be displayed in the upper left corner), a title and a subtitle. You also have two additional options: the first is to align your text and the second is to position your text block where you want it on your slide.

After that it’s time for a challenge: adding an image layer. By sticking an extra layer on the background image, you can create an additional 3D effect. The two layers move independently across each other. When do you choose an image layer? Once you have suitable images, you can use this layer as you see fit. Suitable material includes images with people, products, animals or other items that can be cut out. You can do this in a photo editing program such as Photoshop by using the pen tool for example.

If you’re using stock images, you could search for a specific topic and include ‘png’ or ‘transparent’ in your search. It is important to choose an image with a transparent background that has been saved as a png file. Once you’ve prepared your image, you can click on the ‘+ Image layer’ button to add the image. Make sure you pay attention to its size: your image will be displayed in the size you’ve saved it in. So do not choose 1600px wide, but a lot smaller (roughly 500-700px). Once you’ve loaded the image, you can position the layer. Here you choose the location where the image layer sticks out compared to the background image.

Step 3: Result!
You will probably need to fiddle around with it a little to get everything looking the way you want it, but once it’s in position, you’ll be thrilled with the results. Here you see a completed title slide, where the title and subtitle and a cut-out astronaut appear to hover over the background image.

So, what's next?

Keep creating, of course! You can continue with your narrative, for example by choosing ‘Text’ or ‘Text scrolling’ to include more text. The text slides are pretty basic now of course, but you can also choose an additional image, video, hotspot or simply a video. You can read more about how to do this below.

Additional image or video
In choosing the layout styles ‘text + image’ and ‘text + video’, you get an additional opportunity to upload an image or video. Click on an icon to upload an image, or paste the link to your video and include your content in the right position by clicking on the ‘alignment’ button at the bottom of the page. The result: a title, subtitle, text and an image or video in addition to your text:

There is also an awesome option of placing hotspots on the 3D background and the image layer. It’s fun to stick a card on top of an image for example, as an image layer, and put the hotspots on the card. It works in almost the same way as the Hotspots or Zooming Hotspots template, only the results are slightly different. Below you can choose the fields for one hotspot, after you have chosen the layout type and the usual title, subtitle and the intro text:

Here, the ‘label’ is the word you see when you move the cursor across the hotspot. Go to ‘position’ and choose ‘make hotspots fixed’ if you want to neatly fix the buttons in one spot when you scale down to mobile or tablet versions. ‘Hotspot image’ allows you to choose a custom icon instead of the standard round button. We used stars as hotspot images for example. Please note: the larger your icon, the larger it will appear on your screen. Using ‘click action’, you can link the hotspot to an overlay, a website or even a page. Lastly, you have the option of adding an additional image, title and an introductory text and there you go, you’ve got your first hotspot! By clicking on the ‘Add hotspot’ button, you can create a new button. So how can you benefit from this? Take a look at the example below and find out:

Would you prefer to get only a video, without any text? Choose the layout type ‘Video’. You can use a title, subtitle and a video, and a final option is to determine the size of your clip; choose small, medium, large or extreme:

Fullscreen awesomeness

Would you like to get more out of your Documentary template? Place a fullscreen video in your slide’s background and put your image layer over the top. In case of an astronaut, include a video of planets and stars, which will enhance the hovering effect.


PwC uses the Documentary template for Inzake magazine. In their December issue they use options such as the fullscreen video on their first slide. The 2016 - 2017 Volvo Winter Magazine contains a great example of the template. The app is further explained in the magazine on a Bejo tool, using the Documentary template.

Would you like to know more about online publications? How and when to use the different templates? Don't hesitate, just contact us via

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