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DIY Desktop Calendar with Microsoft Publisher 2010

How many times have you seen a computer desktop that looked exactly like the day it was taken out of the box? We use the desktop as a way of expressing ourselves or to inspire us. There are thousands of sites with wallpaper images we could use, but instead of using someone else’s work, let’s use our own. Microsoft Publisher was designed to give you the tools you need to create your own beautiful desktop calendar.
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Microsoft Publisher 2010 is a desktop publishing application. Although there are many similarities with Microsoft Word, it focuses more on page design and layout. This means you can be a lot more creative with your projects. To help you become a little more familiar with Publisher we’re going to make a new desktop image with a calendar for your computer.

The first section will walk you through how to make this image with Publisher 2010. And since I know that not everyone will be rushing out to buy the Office 2010 software the day it’s released for sale, the second section is for the folks who are using Publisher 2007.

Publisher 2010

I used one of Publisher’s textures for the background and clipart for the design. You can just as easily use a large photograph instead of a texture at Step 3. There are some terrific websites with desktop images for your use. Be as creative as you dare!

  1. Start with a blank 8½” x 11” landscape document.
  2. Let’s apply the background first. On the Page Design Tab, in the Page Background group, click Background, then More Backgrounds.
  3. In the Fill Effects dialog box, click the Textures tab and choose a texture. If you have a large photo you’d like to use, click the Picture tab. Locate the photo you want to use. Click OK.
  4. On the Insert Tab, in the Building Blocks group, click Calendars, then More Calendars. In the Building Block Library, select a calendar theme you like. You can change the month and year in this dialog box as well. We’re going to change the background so that it’s transparent. You can change the font color or style later if you want. I used the Boxes theme because it’s relatively simple and clean. After you’ve selected the calendar theme, click Insert.
  5. Move your calendar to the lower left corner of the page. As you approach the margin guides, Publisher’s new Smart Guides will appear. They are extensions of the objects border that will help you position shapes more easily.

  6. The calendar may be too big at this point. Click on the calendar. Position your pointer over the top left corner handle. Click and hold the left mouse button as you drag the corner toward the lower right corner of the page. You can adjust the proportions later if you need.
  7. Calendars in Publisher are just formatted tables. To allow the background to show, we’ll change the background to be transparent.

  8. Highlight the cells with the days of the week and the dates. (Generally the cell with the month’s name is separate from the rest of the cells. This means we will have to change our backgrounds, etc separately.) On the Table Tools – Design tab, in the Table Formats group, click on the little arrow under Fill and click No Fill. Leave the cells highlighted and in the Borders group, click on the little arrow beside Borders and click No Borders. We’ll change the font color a little later.
  9. Highlight the cell with the month’s name and repeat the Step 6.
  10. Now it’s time to add some graphics. We’ll use Microsoft’s clipart gallery for this project. If you’ve used a photo for your background you may not want to add anything else to your design.

  11. On the Insert tab, Illustrations group, click Clip Art. I used the term “plum blossom” to find the graphic I used.
  12. To change the size of the graphic, click on it and drag one of the corners to fit.
  13. If you want, you can flip the image. I wanted my tree to “lean” to the right, toward my calendar. Click on the image. On the Picture Tools – Format tab, in the Arrange Group, click on the arrow beside the Rotate icon and click Flip Horizontal.
  14. Now that my graphic is facing the way I want it, I can adjust the size and position to suit. We’re almost finished – just a few more steps!

    I’d like my calendar text color to coordinate with my graphic.

  15. Highlight the month’s name. On the Home tab, in the Font group, click on the arrow beside the font color icon. Click Sample Font Color. Your cursor will change to an eyedropper. Click an area on your graphic that’s the color you’d like to use. Your month’s name will now change to that color. Highlight the days of the week and the dates and repeat the process.
  16. Time to save the file as a .jpg and try it out.

  17. In the File menu, click Save As. Browse to the directory where you want to store your image. In the Save As type space, click on JPG File Interchange Format (*.jpg). Change the file name.
  18. The default resolution is set for 150 dpi. Because we’re going to use this on our desktop, we want as crisp an image as we can get so let’s increase that. Click on the Change button. Click High quality printing or commercial press (300 dpi). Click OK.
  19. I am going to suggest you also save this file as a Publisher file in case you want to adjust something later.

You now have an image you can use as your desktop image. The steps to do that are going to vary depending on your operating system and I’ll provide links for how to do that at the end of this article. You may find you need to fine-tune your design after it’s on your desktop. I like a lot of desktop icons so I want my desktop image to be simple. My sister-in-law prefers a clean desktop, relatively free of icons. She might want to add more elements to her image after she sees it in place. Not a problem. Open the Publisher file, tweak, save it as a .jpg again, and set it as the desktop again.

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