PageMaker How-To: Create Your Own Calendar with a Script
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Calendars have become a hard thing to live without. They help us keep track of important dates such as birthdays, holidays, meetings and deadlines. Next time you need a calendar, you can scour the shopping mall for one that reflects your needs and tastes, or you can create one yourself.
Making your own calendar can come in handy if you want to keep track of business-related items, such as quarterly meetings or due dates that aren't printed on store-bought calendars. You can also use "homemade" calendars as marketing tools by using your company's logo or colors and adding special events. You can then hand them out to clients or prospective clients. Fortunately, PageMaker comes with a script called Calendar 1 that creates a basic calendar layout that you can then format to your taste, as shown in Figure A. In this article, we'll show you how you can use this script to create your own calendar.
Figure A: Using PageMaker's Calendar 1 script as a base layout, you can create professional-looking calendars for your personal or business needs.
Time Flies When You're Having Fun
In order to create the calendar that's shown in Figure A, we had to manipulate the script's elements quite a bit, which may involve more time than you have. However, you can still produce an eye-catching calendar in a timely fashion with this script.
To demonstrate how to do this, we'll first show you how to set up your document to accommodate the calendar layout. Then, we'll show you how to access the script and apply it to your document. Finally, we'll show you how you can format the script's text and then add some color and graphics to create a great looking calendar.
Setting up the Document
To begin, launch PageMaker and choose File > New to display the Document Setup dialog box. Select the Wide option button in the Orientation area and deselect the Double-sided check box in the Options area. Doing so automatically deselects the Facing Pages option. Enter 12 in the Number Of Pages text box and change the Left margin to 0.75 inches, as shown in Figure B. Now click OK to create your document.
Figure B: Use these settings to set up your calendar document.
Running the Script
The Calendar 1 script is one of the many tem-plate scripts that come with PageMaker. To access it, make sure you're on the first page of your document and then choose Window > Plug-in Palettes > Show Scripts to display the Scripts palette. Click on the Template arrow to expand the folder and scroll down to the Calendar 1 script, as shown in Figure C. Double-click on its name to display the Calendar dialog box, as shown in Figure D.
Figure C: Select the Calendar 1 script from the Template folder.
Figure D: The Calendar 1 script has many layout options from which to choose.
This dialog box allows flexibility when creating your calendar layout. You can choose any month as the first month of your calendar by selecting it from the list. This option is nice to have when you want to create a fiscal calendar that begins on a month other than January, such as July. You also have a choice of starting the weekdays with either Sunday or Monday depending on your needs. Finally, select the year from its list and click OK to add the calendar layout to the first page of your document, as shown in Figure E (this may take a few seconds). Repeat this process for the remaining pages in your document, being careful to select the correct month and year for each page.
Note: In Windows, the Calendar 1 script only goes to the year 2002. If you want to create a calendar that goes beyond that, you'll have to edit the script. You can do this with the Edit Script command in the Scripts palette's pop-up menu.
Figure E: This is the original layout of the Calendar 1 script.
Customizing the Calendar
As you can see, the original layout of the Calendar 1 script isn't too exciting and isn't necessarily how you want your calendar to look. Since any changes you make have to be made to 12 pages, the easiest way to approach customizing this layout is to change the first page and then use styles to format the remaining pages.
If you want to move some of the elements around as we did in Figure A, you should do that next, but remember that this type of change will have to be made to each page of your calendar. For more information on how to do this, see the sidebar "Moving the calendar's pieces." For the example in this article, however, we'll leave the elements as is.
Deciding on a Theme
The first place to start, is deciding on a theme for your calendar. This involves fonts, colors and 12 similar images. For our example, we chose a butterfly theme and gathered 12 different butterfly images, one for each page. We then decided to use the Parisian font and chose two colors from each butterfly image to use with our text and backgrounds.
Formatting the Text
After you've decided on your theme, the next step is to format the text. The text can be selected with the Text tool, which means you can format it as you would any text. Unfortunately, you have to select each instance of text individually, which can be time-consuming. However, once the first page is formatted, you can create styles that you can then apply to the other pages. (If you want the text on each page to have a different color as we do, create the style before you apply the color.) For more information on how to create styles, see the article "Improved formatting with styles" in the September 2001 issue.
Tip: To quickly change the default font, use the Font pop-up menu on the Control palette (Window > Show Control Palette). This eliminates one step.
After you've changed the default text, you can add other text to the calendar, such as holidays, birthdays, recurring meetings or deadlines. If you're creating this calendar as a marketing tool, you can add special events that would interest your clients. To add text, select the Rectangle Frame tool and create a text frame in the square of the day in which you wish to add text. (If the text frame is black, click on None in the Colors palette to better see the text.) Then select the Text tool and enter and format your text. Now with the Pointer tool, position the frame within the square, as shown in Figure F. For more information on how to use text frames, see the June 2001 article "The advantages to using frames."
Tip: If you're adding the same text to several squares, you can copy the first text frame and then paste it into other squares.
Figure F: Use a text frame to add new text to the calendar.
Once you've created all your text frames, select them by holding down the [shift] key and then choose Element > Stroke > None to delete the frame borders. When you do, light gray, non-printing borders appear onscreen. If you want, you can hide the non-printing borders by choosing View > Hide Guides. Your calendar should now look similar to the one shown in Figure G.
Figure G: Adding and formatting text improves the look of your calendar.
Adding Color and Graphics
The next step is to add some color and graphics to the layout. These elements should match the theme you chose earlier. As mentioned, to help tie in our colors with our graphics, we chose two colors from each butterfly image to use as text and background colors for that particular month. To add these colors to the Colors palette, choose Window > Show Colors and then choose New Color from the Colors palette's pop-up menu. In the Color Options dialog box, you can either enter the CMYK breakdown of the color, as shown in Figure H, or select the color from a library by clicking on the Libraries pop-up menu. Now name your color and click OK to add it to the palette. Repeat this process to add all the colors you want to use in your document.
Figure H: Add the theme colors of your calendar to the Colors palette.
Depending on how you want to place your images, you may need to adjust them in an image-editing application first. For example, to place the butterfly behind the text in the calendar shown in Figure A, we first adjusted its opacity in Adobe Photoshop to 75 percent so that any text that was over it was visible. Once your images have been prepared, gather them in one folder.
Now that your colors and graphics are in place, your design possibilities are endless. You can add color to the text, background, individual squares, etc. You can place your images behind the calendar, in corners or inside squares. Figure I shows some more examples of how you can easily spruce up the Calendar 1 script.
Tip: When you click on the calendar with the Pointer tool, you can then change the stroke and color of the lines that surround the days.
Figure I: The layout of the Calendar 1 script can be customized in many ways.
Once you've finished designing the pages of your calendar, all that's left to do is print it and fasten it with staples or some other method. If you want a front and back cover, you can create a separate PageMaker document with a page size of 11 x 17 designed to match the other pages.
Here's to a Good Year
The scripts that come with PageMaker are a great way to begin a project, such as creating a calendar. With some manipulation of the elements and the addition of color and graphics, you can produce a great-looking calendar in no time at all.