4 golden rules for success: formatting and presenting your resources

by Erica Magnusson

Looking for an exemplar? Look no further. This guide is here to help you take your resource from a B+ to an A+ in a few quick and easy ways!

You have a great worksheet -- you love it, your students love it, your principal loves it, but now how do you make the world love it (and buy it)? As a TES author, you have a lot of options on how to format and present your resources.

Rule #1: Let’s be honest, we all judge a resource by its cover

Create an attractive cover page

When educators browse the marketplace, the first thing they’ll notice about a resource will be whether or not it has an attractive thumbnail image and an engaging title. Ensure educators read your resource’s description to see how awesome it is by including a cover page with an image as the first file in your resource. Check out our get started guide for an example of a successful cover page.


Introduce and organize your resource files

Just like in your classroom, you’ll want to provide clear directions for using your resource by including an introduction and table of contents. In this introduction, you’ll want to provide an overview of how your resource can be implemented in the classroom, what its desired learning outcomes are, how to measure them, what files are included in the resource, and how these files should be used. At the same time, make sure to remove any content that refers specifically to your classroom. To save TES members time and to avoid confusion, make sure to consistently and accurately label and order each resources’ files.


You’ll also want to use editable file formats to allow TES members to customize resources to their specific needs. To make it as easy as possible for educators to access your resource files, use popular file formats that don’t require special software. For example:

  • Documents: .doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf

  • Images: .jpg, .png, .gif, .bmp

  • Presentations: .ppt, .pptx, .pdf

  • If you’re using Apple software (e.g., Pages, Keynote, or Numbers), we strongly recommend converting your files to a format that's accessible across platforms

Present your material in a visually appealing and accessible way

By presenting learning content in your resource well, you’ll increase your sales and downloads. Educators looking for resources have lots of options to choose from. Resources that catch the eye, are ready-made, and easy-to-use will stand out and generate interest.


Here are some quick tips on presentation:

  • In your files, use fonts that are easy-to-read and keep sizing consistent for headings, subheadings, and body text.

  • Select a color palette that includes enough contrast, so that it's visible. For example, avoid pale text on a white background, dark text on a dark background, or colors that can be hard for some people to read (red on a green background, for example).

  • Include links to web pages that are free to view and use within the files in your resource. Don’t link to other content-selling websites and triple-check that the links go to audience-appropriate web pages.

Rule #2: Tag your resource in a way that won’t send you to detention


Think about how you search for resources online. Select a name that’s clear, easy-to-understand, and immediately recognizable in a search result. Include specific keywords and phrases that would be informative and help your audience quickly identify the subject, purpose, audience, and outcomes of your resource. Specify grade levels and subject areas.


Align your resources with State Standards

To make your description more helpful, include any Common Core State Standards or Next Generation Science Standards that are aligned with your resource. If you include these standards in your description and users search for that standard, your resource will appear.


Also, feel free to promote some of your other TES resources in your description by including a link to them. For example, you may offer a simplified version of a premium resource for free. You can then promote this more complex, premium version in the description of the free one. Or, you may wish to promote other, similar TES resources that you've authored. Include an introductory file that briefly describes all other files for that resource.


For reference, here’s an example title and description:

            "Figurative Language in Pop Culture"

This collection of activities about figurative language is intended for 6th, 7th, or 8th grade students. The examples and questions in the activities are related to pop culture, which always delights my students! Use this resource as an introduction to figurative language, as a fun review, or as practice after a lesson. These activities are aligned with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.5, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.5, and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.5.

            This resource includes four editable Word documents:

            1. an activity on similes and metaphors

            2. a worksheet about personification

            3. an activity on hyperboles and idioms

            4. a document with links to content on the web to supplement your lesson

Rule #3: Format your resources for educators and students with learning differences


Make your lesson marketable to all types of learners and educators by creating a version that has:

  • a sans serif font (e.g., Arial, Verdana, Tahoma) with size larger than 14

  • ample white space for students to show their work or write out answers

  • color coding to make items easily identifiable and directions clearer

  • succinct language in directions and wherever else applicable

  • extra questions at different levels for students who need more of a challenge and those who don’t

Rule #4: Double-check your work before turning it in

  • Before submitting a resource, preview how it'll appear online.
  • Confirm that thumbnails are clear, prominent, and visually appealing.

  • Do a final spell-check and copy-edit and check formatting.

  • Ensure that files appear in the correct order (e.g., the title page needs to be the first file), and that you’ve included keywords and phrases to help educators find your resource.

  • Include attribution and copyright information where appropriate (for more information, please refer to the copyright section of our FAQs).

  • If you’ve made any changes during this final pre-upload check, we recommend you go through the process again, to ensure there wasn’t a ripple effect from those changes. Once you’re confident that everything is set up as you want it, you’re ready to publish!