Printing Tips

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

PDFs in Open Office and Snowflake Tags

Most of my printables are at 100 dpi, which makes them nice and web friendly, but when I want to do something with more detail and still have it be web friendly, I create pdf files. It does make bigger files though since the images are so much more detailed so I don't do it often.
You can use all sorts of options to create pdfs for free or low cost. You can use Primo PDF which works a lot like a printer. You install it, then when you have your document or image all set up the way you want, you "print" it and choose Primo PDF as your printer. It's a fast easy option, but it does have some limitations.
I like Open Office, it's completely free and very easy to use. It's what my husband has been using for all his word processing for years.

To create something like my circle tags, first I draw the tags and save them in .bmp format so they will look exactly how I want them to. My circle tags are meant to be cut out with a 2 inch circle punch, so I create my graphics at 300 dpi in 2.10 inch circles so there is a little room for not centering it perfectly.
Time for a little math. The default width for an open office document is about 7 inches. My tags are 2.1 inches. 7/2.1= 3.33(and some change, close enough) which means I have room for 3 columns of tags. If you were making 1x1 inch squares to use for Scrabble pendants and other things you can use inchies for, you'd want at least .25 inch border on all sides, so 7/1.5= 4.66 so 4 columns.
Open OpenOffice Writer which is the word processing program, and go to format/columns

Select 3 columns, and just let it go with the equal widths.

Go to Insert/Picture/From File and insert your image. Click under the image and insert the next one. Continue doing that until that column is full and in the case of my tags,I had just enough room at the bottom to put some text in.
Hit the return key once or twice to get to the top of next column, and fill that one in too.

That's the bottom of my document. The gray lines will NOT be in the finished pdf. They are just guidelines so you can see where the columns are. You can save your template, but it's so quick to set up columns I don't.
When your happy with your layout,save your file so you can adjust it later if you want then go to File/Export as PDF.

Choose lossless compression to keep your graphics very clear.

Pick the name and where you want to save you pdf, and you're done. Do your test print off the pdf, and you can upload or email or sell the pdf as you please.
Open Office is free for any application. If you want to use it for business you don't have to buy a license, and it's ad-free.
You can download the snowflake tags I used as an example HERE and matching printable paper HERE
I hope you find this tutorial helpful.

1 comment:

  1. Very good writeup, Shala. Open Office PDFs are smaller than other PDF files, too.

    ReplyDelete

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