Sunday, September 23, 2012

Forming Up Your Genealogy--Part 18--Certificates

State conference time in Florida is busy if you are on the FSGS board. As the Florida Lines newsletter editor, I'm on the board. Because of my layout and design experience, I'm frequently drafted for tasks outside of my normal newsletter duties. Last year it was pulling together the conference syllabus. This year it has been designing a new pioneer certificate. Just as a f.y.i., I thought you might like to know how I approached this task, the functions I selected, and the design elements I considered.

Here are a few of the current contenders for the final certificate.

  • Certificates are on landscaped paper (8-1/2x11) with 0.5 margins.  
  • Variables in the forms have been set up as fillable fields: Descendant, Pioneer, (certificate) Number. 
  • Electronic signatures will be added so that the President and Chair don't have to sign individual documents. 

Orange Blossoms

This certificate layout uses a table. 

Column 1 = green stripe...filled the cells with a green from the orange blossoms photo (used Paint to sample color and get color formula)
Column 2 = orange blossoms
Column 3 = green stripe
Column 4 = FSGS logo and text
Column 5 = empty column to create a vertical space and a line for the right text alignment
Column 6 = green stripe

Row 1 = green stripe
Row 2 = orange blossoms and text
Row 3 = green stripe 

Table borders are set to None
I used Paint to create the orange blossoms. It's one photograph repeated four times in a column. 

Pioneer Border

This certificate layout is mostly flowing text. The border and the outline of the state are a watermark created in Paint and saved as a .png to maintain the colors. To match the colors, I sampled from the FSGS logo. The text for the certificate simply flows over the watermark. The signature area at the bottom of the certificate is a table (three columns and one row), which makes placements of the elements easier. Table borders are set to None

Pioneer Stripe

This certificate layout is a table. Table borders are set to None.

Column 1 = blue stripe with Florida (used Paint to sample color and get color formulas)
Column 2 = empty column for white stripe
Column 3 = blue stripe with Pioneer
Column 4 = empty column for white stripe
Column 5 = blue stripe with Certificate
Column 6 = empty column for white stripe and left margin for left text to alignment 

Text flow uses merged cells. Row one has all of the cells from columns 7 to 9 merged.
Column 7 = certificate number and presentation date
Column 8 = empty column for spacing
Column 9 = signatures 

Row 1 = majority of certificate text
Row 2 = Certificate number and President's signature
Row 3 = Presentation date and Chair's signature

Design Element
Take a close look at each certificate. The design element that makes them work that you might not immediately see is that for the most part I picked one margin and I stuck with it. The first certificate has text that is flush right. In the second one the text is centered. The third certificate is (mostly) flush left. In Orange Blossom and Pioneer Stripe I used an empty column to create an accent line to serve as a margin.

If you are interested in layout and design, I can't speak highly enough of a book: The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams. Williams offers practical suggestions that almost anyone can follow to create more attractive layouts. Over the years, I've referred back to this book again and again to refresh my memory on what this lady has to say about designing.

As always, if you have questions, send me an email or post a comment.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Forming Up Your Genealogy--Part 17--Quick Access Toolbar

With Word 2007 and 2010, access to Word functions moved from a menu setup to the ribbon. When Word developers moved the commands to the ribbon, they picked the commands that were the most used. In addition, they enabled a Quick Access (QA) toolbar that is located immediately above the ribbons. I've written about the QA toolbar before in the post Displaying Buttons You Need. If you'll refer to that post, you find instructions for adding and removing buttons to that toolbar.

If you are going to create forms on a regular basis, you may well want to add the form fields (text, check box, and drop-down) to the QA toolbar to make them easy to grab on the fly.

In the screenshot below, you see that I've added the Legacy Tools group--and--the check box, drop-down, and text form field buttons. I added the Legacy Tools group because it includes more than the three form field buttons. I might want to use the additional buttons in the Legacy Tools group but I don't need them all the time. I know I'm going to be using the three form field buttons constantly; therefore, I added them as separate buttons.

Your other option is to create your very own personal tab with the buttons you want on it. That's what we'll talk about in the next post. 

...Oops...Forgot one button you'll need...Restrict Editing...
  1. Locate the button on the Developer ribbon.
  2. Right-click the button. A pop-up appears. 
  3. Select Add to Quick Access Toolbar. The button appears on the QA toolbar. 
Adding the Restrict Editing button allows you to display the Restrict Formatting and Editing pane on the fly. The button is a toggle with an on/off position. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Forming Up Your Genealogy--Part 16

While doing research for the FSGS newsletter, I ran across an item that I thought might interest readers of this blog. Genealogy In Time has an online individual fact sheet that was created in 2008. Click here to see the form.

What I find interesting about the form is that I've written about every skill you would need to reproduce this form. Actually, I've written about additional skills that you could use to make the form fillable.

The upshot of all of this is that the time you spend reading a blog like this one comes into play when you find an example of something you'd like to produce for yourself. You can examine the sample, reverse engineer it, and in some cases, make it better.

So go check out the form and see if you feel confident enough in your skills to reproduce...or reproduce and improve it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Change Calibri Follow Up...Another Way

Uh oh! My correspondent wrote to me and said my shortcut to change the default font didn't work for him. I tested it successfully on three computers! I've used the same shortcut for years.

Microsoft has another way to change the default font...OK, it's the official way to do it. Click here to go to the Microsoft Support site to see the instructions for Word 2003, 2007, and 2010.

I still like my way better...kick, moan, grip!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Change Calibri back to Times New Roman...Permanently

When you buy a new computer, you usually get a few surprises...some more pleasant than others. For anyone who is buying a computer right now and upgrading to the latest version of MS Word, you'll find that the default font has changed from Times New Roman to Calibri. Lots of people still like Times New Roman and so they begin a major fight with Word as they try to suppress Calibri. Changing the default font is easy to do if you know what to do. If you don't, it will make you crazy.

Editing the Normal Template
To make a permanent change to the base fonts that your version of MS Word uses, you need to edit the Normal template. As a general rule, I wouldn't suggest that you do so because this is the base template for every document or template you create. Think about it...the first page that opens is usually your starting place for everything you do. Now here's a little secret. If you mess up the or Normal.dotx, you can download another copy and start again.

This subject comes up because I've had someone write to me to ask how to do this task. I checked back in the posts on this blog and realized that I've never explained this task to you. So here goes it.

Word 2007/2010
  1. Open MS Word and then stop. The document that appears on your screen is a copy of the Normal.dotx (template).
  2. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click the launch arrow in the lower right of the group. The Styles pane appears.
  3. Right click on the Normal style, and select Modify from the pop-up menu. The Modify Style dialog appears.
  4. In the Formatting group, select another font and size.
  5. At the bottom of the dialog, click the check box New documents based on this template, and then click OK.
  6. Close the document. You don't have to save changes.
  7. Open a new blank document, display the Styles pane, and check your Normal style. The style should include the changes you've made.
  8. Display All Styles so that you can check and see if the change cascaded throughout all of the styles in the Normal.dotx.
    --At the bottom of the Styles pane, click Options... The Styles Pane Options dialog appears.
    --In the field Select styles to show, select All styles from the drop-down list, and then click OK. The system shows all built-in Word styles. Every one that is based on the Normal style (almost every body type of style) will reflect the changes you've made. 

Just an f.y.i.
The same process works for Heading 1, if you've set it up so that other Heading styles are based on Heading 1. Your system may or may not be set up in this manner. If yes, change Heading 1 and the change cascades throughout all of the Heading styles. If no (your system may be set up based on the Normal style), you must change each Heading style. I thought I'd mention Headings since newer versions of Word use Calibri for Heading styles too.

Email me if you have additional questions.

Word 2003
And just in case my Word 2003 users are suffering...
  1. Open MS Word and then stop. The document that appears on your screen is a copy of the (template).
  2. Open the Styles and Formatting pane.
    --Click the button.

    --Or select the Format menu, and then Styles and Formatting.
  3. Right click on the Normal style, and select Modify from the pop-up menu. The Modify Style dialog appears.
  4. In the Formatting group, select another font and size.
  5. At the bottom of the dialog, click the check box Add to template, and then click OK.
  6. Close the document. You don't have to save changes.
  7. Open a new blank document, display the Styles and Formatting pane, and check your Normal style. The style should reflect the changes you've made.
  8. At the bottom of the Styles and Formatting pane, select All Styles in the Show field. The system shows all built-in Word styles. Every one that is based on the Normal style (almost every body type of style) will reflect the changes you've made.

P.S. If this method doesn't work for you, be sure to read Change Calibri Follow Up...Another Way.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gonna Be Missing for Awhile

I've started working on the Florida State Genealogical Society (FSGS) newsletter for October. I only have this task three times a year (published February, June, and October).

The October issue is a sensitive one because it includes more of the final details of the FSGS annual conference. The current president and board members have worked and worked and worked on this conference. They are attempting to change the format and the focus. The conference isn't in any trouble per se. However, RootsTech along with a few other events went a long way toward elevating expectations and the FSGS is attempting to exceed those expectations for FSGS members. My part in all of this is to layout a newsletter that promotes the FSGS's goal to morph from the same old same old to new and improved...I mean really really new and improved.

Sorry to say that this is the first FSGS conference I won't be able to attend in many years. I'm going to miss what looks to be the best FSGS conference ever. But it can't be helped. The tides are agin me.

The upshot for you dear reader is that I won't be posting much during the next few weeks while I tinker and tinker with the newsletter. When I do start posting again, I need to post about (not necessarily in this order):
  • How to show legacy form buttons on the quick access toolbar (Word 2007/2010),
    which I mentioned but don't think I've walked you thru yet
  • How to find buttons that aren't on tabs and put them on a custom tab (Word 2007/2010),
    which is an alternative to placing them on the quick access toolbar
  • How to use Avery templates to create a different type of fillable form (Word 2003, 2007, 2010)...I love Avery (
I can see from the statistics that several readers--perhaps new readers--are going back and reading older posts. I hope you find them helpful.

P.S. Have you played with yet?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

View When Opening Email Attachments

In earlier versions of Word, when you open a document attached to an email, the document opened in a view that allowed you to start editing immediately. However, starting in Word 2007, attached Word documents automatically open in a Full Screen Reading view. You have to click the Close button in the upper right of the document to enable editing. You can change this default view to Page Layout view, which allows you to start editing  immediately.

Changing View Default
  1. Display Word Options.
    --Word 2007: Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Word Options.
    --Word 2010: Click File, and then Options.
    The Word Options dialog appears.
  2. On the General tab, locate the Start up options, and remove the check mark from the following field: Open e-mail attachments in Full Screen Reading view.
  3. Click OK. The next time you open a Word document that is attached to an email, it will open in Page Layout view and you can immediately edit the document.