Anyone who thinks herding cats is a difficult task has never attempted to get two dogs to sit still for holiday photos!
Yes, I attempted to get my "Barker Gang" to help me with this article by being my models. However, after several attempts to get them to both sit still, not eat each other, not remove the bows, not eat the bows, not eat each other's bows...just sit and stay...I was ready to give up.
(As you can see below...it was an adventure. Thank goodness for digital cameras or I would have blown a lot of film!)
Finally...I managed to distract Cassy long enough to get a good shot...she even smiled for me!
(Sure, I wish I could have gotten Lexi in the shot, but I guess she'll just have to star on our Easter cards!)
However, you'll be happy to know that once you manage to get your children, pets or family to sit still to capture that photo...using the photo to create your holiday masterpiece in Word is a breeze! And fear not...for those who might need a little more help, I've included several links to other, related articles, below.
Also Note! And if you want even more help, know that I also have a free support group available through Yahoo groups that specializes in more complex design work in Word. See this link for more information on my Word DocDesign group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Word_DocDesign/ (And special thanks to Dawn, Leon and all the folks who help others in there!)
In this article, I'll show you a few techniques that'll, hopefully, wake up your creative juices so you can have fun making your own holiday cards.
First, did you know that those complex label templates in Word are nothing more than predefined tables? Yup! So you can create your own or use predefined settings from Word's Labels menu. To access that menu, click Tools > Letters and Mailing > Envelopes and Labels. (Note that this menu will differ, slightly, in older versions of Word.)
From here, click the Options button to see what templates you have available in your version.
If you purchased one of the cool packages of special print paper/cards that are available everywhere nowadays, you'll want to check the style number on the outside and compare it to the predefined templates to see if you have one available.
But you can also define custom size labels. I won't go into those details here, because I've already written that information in my previous Holiday Labels article.
As you can see in the image below, depending on your version of Word, you should see a lot of special templates for cards, postcards and even note cards.
Once you've found the right template, or created your own, click New Document on the previous dialog box, which you'll return to after selecting or creating your template.
I've decided not to use a template at all. Rather, I simply flipped the document to landscape and inserted a table that has one column and two rows. A few sizing adjustments and I will be able to print this out on a glossy card stock. Then I can cut it in half and it'll be similar to the long holiday postcards I'm sure you've received at one time in your life.
[Note! Thanks to Susan Daffron for reminding me that...if you are planning to use plain cardstock, versus some pre-perforated cardstock, that you will probably want to slip in another blank row in the middle, between the two cards, to allow for some cutting white space so you get even whitespace at the top/bottom...otherwise you'd have to trim off all the excess white around the cards!]
To insert your photo, click Insert > Picture > From File and go in search of the photo you need.
Then click View > Toolbars > Drawing to access the drawing toolbar. There, locate the TextBox icon. Click it and draw out a TextBox so you can add your greeting in the location you need.
My daughter went to school at Kenwood Academy in Hyde Park (Chicago Suburb). The school and Hyde Park itself are very diverse..as are her friends. So around here, we celebrate Christmas, as well as Chanukah and Kwanza. To make life easier, I've coined a term to cover them all...Chriskwanuka!<smirk>
See how convenient! I cover all my bases in one card, as you can see below.
[Or...for those real geeks in the group...All your bases are belong to us!<snicker>]
To make any formatting adjustments to the way the box looks, right click on the TextBox and choose Format Text Box (or select it from the Format > TextBox menu).
Once you add the text and set the font in one TextBox, you can click on the text box, hit Ctrl + C to get a copy of it. Click elsewhere on the page (so you don't still have the original box selected or your pasted copy will end up inside the original box)! Hit Ctrl + V to have a second copy pasted back (which will appear nearly on top of the other). Then click on that top box and drag it down into place in the second cell, as shown below.
Done. I can now print this out, slice them in half, address the back and drop them in the mail.
An alternative format is to create a more standard post card. Create one page and add a table with one column and two rows. Put two images in table cells...one in the top and one in the bottom. Then hit Ctrl + Enter to create a second page and copy your table to your second page.
By the way, make sure your table doesn't have any borders by selecting it through the Table > Select > Table menu and then remove all borders from the Format > Borders and Shading menu.
While you're in the Border and Shading dialog, you might also want to set the background shading to a color that will complement your image, as I've done below. (Red and green might be best to balance out the use of your ink..so you don't use up all your red!)
If you need to make additional adjustments to line up your image in the cells, remember that you can click Table > Table Properties > Cell and set the alignment within the cell to center vertically. To center horizontally, just select the image and hit Ctrl + E.
Now add your content in the cells in the second page. To align up the text, to the left side of the "card," you can add another TextBox here that will allow you to move the text as needed. Also on the Drawing toolbar you'll find the line tool. Draw a line to provide space for addressing your postcard. And if you want to get fancy, you can add another small TextBox, click inside and type Place Stamp Here.
The biggest trick will be figuring out the correct way to print your cards. Practice on plain paper so you don't waste your cardstock. You'll have to figure out if you need to flip it over, flip it up or flip it over and up! But when you're finished, you need only cut them or break them from their perforations, if you purchased postcard stock as I do.
Finally, if you've purchased fold over card stock, you can create your card with similar techniques. Toss in a table or even use TextBoxes. Just make sure you do a little measuring and testing to make sure you get the content the right size to fit on the card once it's folded.
If you have a tent card (that lifts up from the bottom), then you'll want to keep the card layout in mind as you format your page. The cover image needs to go on the bottom of the first page...then add the greeting text to the bottom of the second. When printed, you'll have the image on the front and the text appearing properly inside.
Have fun creating your own greetings. And be sure to check out the articles below for lots of related information and fun ideas.
Designing Your Own Holiday Stationery
Make Your Own Holiday Labels
Planning a Party?
Looking at Word...From a New Direction
Create a Photo Album in Word
Add AutoShapes in Word
Edit Digital Photos