Extract from Tips for Designing Templates documentation by PrintUI.
By default your initialized template will always include a Background layer and at least one other layer for editable objects. In CS6 and later you will have the option to also include several other special layers:
- A Foreground layer should be used when you need to put non-editable objects that need to be in front of other objects in the stacking order.
- Non-Printing Foreground and Non-Printing Background layers can be used to add reference guides or instructive notes. They appear to the user in the editor but are not present in the final output. They are called Foreground No Print and Background No Print in InDesign’s Layers panel.
- An Imposition layer is used when creating a special template that is used to place several other templates on a single page. For example, you may want to print many business cards on a large sheet of paper. Please see the separate Imposing Documents Using PrintUI documentation for more details.
- An HTML layer is used when creating templates that will be output as HTML files for the web. Please see the separate Tips for Designing Templates for HTML documentation for more details. Note that this option is tied to an optional W2P feature add-on and not included by default.
Layers with other names are considered to be editable layers. You may add as many as you need and arrange them anyway you like. For best results the Background layers should always be at the bottom of the InDesign Layers panel, and the Foreground layers should be at the top.
InDesign has been known to rearrange the editable layers on occasion. If you find that the editor is displaying the layers wrong, you may need to put all of your objects into a single layer.
Objects on the non-printing layers may obscure editable objects on lower layers in the editor. Don't fill the page with a [Paper]-colored frame, for example, on the Foreground No Print layer because it will cover the other layers. Instead, make the page background transparent. One way that you can do that is to click the Template Options button in the PrintUI Management panel and then check the Transparent Background box. This will remove the standard white page background from the editor and it may make it difficult for your users to see frames so it is also recommended that you also add a full-page [Paper]-filled frame to the bottom of the stack on the Background No Print layer to replace the standard white background.
Note that gradient fills are not supported for objects in editable layers, but they are supported in the Background and Foreground layers.