PrintableCal comes installed with a number of attractive templates. However, there may be cases where you'd like to customize a template to include things like business logos, contact information, photos, different colors, different layouts, etc. PrintableCal enables you to do this, and then re-use your customized template again and again.
Think of all the time this could save when you need to create or update your calendar. Instead of editing by hand, the template pulls in all your schedule data and formats it based on how your template was defined. PrintableCal automates the process and can complete in a matter of seconds what would normally take hours of manual data entry.
Creating a Custom Template - A Walkthrough
The steps below explain how a fictional business named Bob's Bicycles could customize the default Month template to include their contact information and logo. This calendar is printed and distributed to their customers. Many business have similar needs, or you might think of other ways to take the functionality described below and adapt it to your own requirements.
- Templates can only be customized in Excel. However, customized templates can be used when generating calendars in Word. The first step is to click the Customize button on the PrintableCal tab of the Excel Ribbon.
- After clicking the Customize button, the Task Pane will appear with a list of currently installed templates. Templates are listed by type, such as Agenda or Month. To see all templates for a certain type, click the + button to the left of the category name. Select the template you'd like to use as a starting point for your customizations and then click the Customize button. Note, when you save the customization, you can choose to save to a new template if you don't want to overwrite the original. In this example scenario, Bob chooses to customize the Default Month template.
- The template will open in a new workbook. if you're using Excel 2013 or later, this will be a new Excel window. Notice the template doesn't contain any events or tasks. Templates should always be saved without any events or tasks, since that data is dynamic and will be automatically populated in the template when a calendar is generated. Think of the template as a placeholder for your data. The template defines the layout and appearance of the calendar, but not its actual content. In this case, the Default Month template shows January 2014 as a placeholder for styling the template. The date shown in the template is arbitrary. When a calendar is generated you can pick the desired date range, which could span any number of months. The template will be re-used for each month, each on its own worksheet. The Task Pane also shows Save As Template, which is where the template name and description can be entered before saving. More on this later...
- The default template doesn't contain any branding or other information. Since Bob wants his customers to remember where the calendar came from, he'll add his company logo and contact information to the template. Also, the colors don't match well with Bob's logo, so he'll adjust the colors as well. The Notes area of the Default Month template is a good place to add some customizations. Bob removes the Notes label and pastes his company logo into the bottom-right corner.
- Next, Bob adds his company's contact information to the template. There's some empty space to the left of the logo. The cells were merged in the default template, so he unmerges the cells first. The text color is set to match his logo.
- The blue border doesn't look good with Bob's orange and green logo, so he changes the border and year color. There are several ways to do this, but one quick method is to use the Colors drop-down on the Page Layout tab of the Excel Ribbon. Bob picks a color palette that replaces blue with orange.
- Bob's done! Here's how his finished template looks. Snazzy!
- The final step is to save the template, using the Save as Template area of the Task Pane. Bob enters a new template name so as to not overwrite the default template. He also enters a description and then clicks the Save button.
- After saving the template, it now appears in the template list when the Create Calendar button is clicked to populate the template with events.
Customizing Template Layouts
The walkthrough above covers a simple scenario. There are many other more advanced template customizations that can be performed.
One very important thing to be aware of when customizing templates is how PrintableCal works with named cells.
When editing a template, there are some cells that must be present in the template. These are designated with cell names, which are shown in the upper-left corner, below the Ribbon. For example, one of the cell names required by the Month template style is Year, which tells PrintableCal where to put the year number for the month being printed. The cell value (i.e. "2014") in the template is arbitrary. The important thing is that the cell name is present so PrintableCal can dynamically populate the value when the template is used to generate a calendar.
Cell names can be moved elsewhere when changing the template layout. For example, if you prefer the date to be below the calendar, or along the side of the calendar, the cell name could be moved to the desired location.
Every template style (Week, Month, Year, etc) has cells names it requires. When changing the layout of a template, make sure to note where named cells are located before moving things around. Also, be aware that when cutting and pasting cells, any referenced cell names are not pasted. For example, if cell B5 is named "DayName1" and cut/pasted to cell D7, the "DayName1" reference will be lost and will need to be manually set to the new location.
Instead of re-positioning cells by cutting and pasting, click and drag the cells instead. This ensures the cell name references the new location.
When saving the template, if there are any missing cell names, a validation window will appear listing the problems and providing tips on how to correct them. Each template style has its own set of validation rules which must be satisfied before the template can be saved. For example, some template styles will ensure cell names are positioned properly in relation to each other.
The template will only save when all validation rules have been satisfied. This ensures PrintableCal can properly generate calendars using the customized template.
We Can Help
If you don't have the time or expertise to develop a custom template, we provide this service at a very affordable price. Please send a description or (preferably) a mockup of what you'd like the template to contain to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll estimate how long it will take us to create the template and provide you a quote for this service. We're speedy-quick and since we developed PrintableCal, we know all the ins and outs of customizing templates.