How to Insert a PDF into a Microsoft Publisher Document

Posted on December 19, 2014 by - Catholic Tech Talk

Customers occasionally call to ask “Can I insert a PDF into my Microsoft Publisher document?”

Yes, you can insert a PDF into your Publisher document as an object. You won’t be very happy with the results, however. Publisher inserts the object at low resolution.

What’s the workaround? The best workaround that we’ve discovered is to install a free, third-party utility called Boxoft PDF to JPG. With the Boxoft utility you can convert a PDF into a high-resolution JPG. When that’s done, you simply insert the JPG into your Publisher document as you would any other image. Voila!

If you’re interested in trying out the Boxoft PDF to JPG software, click here to download the installer. The first time you launch Boxoft PDF to JPG you will be prompted to download and install Ghostscript. After installing the software, configure Boxoft PDF to JPG to output a 300 dpi JPG by clicking the “Next >” button at the bottom of the main window and, using the up arrow, increase the dpi to 300.

PDFtoJPGConverter

 

PS: After you run the Boxoft PDF to JPG installer, the desktop shortcut may read “Flip PDF to JPG” or something similar rather than “Boxoft PDF to JPG.”

To download a cheat sheet containing step-by-step, numbered instructions for converting a PDF to a JPG using Boxoft PDF to JPG click here.

NOTE: If the person who created the PDF applied any security settings to the PDF, you will not be able to convert the PDF to a JPG.

Disclaimer: Boxoft PDF to JPG is distributed “as is.” No warranty of any kind is expressed or implied. You use at your own risk. LPi will not be liable for data loss, damages, monetary loss, or any other kind of loss while using or misusing this software.

How to Use a Style Sheet

Posted on October 1, 2014 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Style sheet? What’s a style sheet?

A style sheet is a set of criteria defining the layout and appearance of a publication. Style sheets impose margins, fonts, point sizes, alignments, and other criteria to give text a uniform appearance. It includes rules for using artwork and conventions for specifying names, titles, places, numbers, dates, times, etc. Anyone responsible for your organization’s internal and external communications and anyone who contributes to your publication should receive a copy of your style sheet.

What follows is a sample style sheet for a fictitious organization:


The Community of Like-minded People

Please follow these guidelines when creating your publication. We are trying to create a uniform, professional look with all our printed materials.

Approved fonts:

  • Main headings, Times New Roman, 22 point
  • Sub headings, Arial Bold, 14 point
  • Body copy, Times New Roman, 10 point
  • The alternative font for styled headings or body copy is Verdana. Use it for text with our approved logo. Verdana should be used very sparingly. It can be any point size

Clip art:

  • Our approved logo
  • Please contact the main office for a camera-ready or a digitized copy of the logo
  • Please obtain reprint rights for any copyrighted materials
  • Please obtain release…

Usage:

  • Main headings, left aligned, ragged right
  • Sub headings, left aligned, ragged right
  • Body copy, left aligned, ragged right
  • Times should be specified in the following format: 9:00 am, 10:00 pm, 1:30-2:00 pm
  • No abbreviations may be used anywhere in the publication
  • Acronyms are permitted

Other issues:

  • The formal name of the organization is “The Community of Like-minded People.” In the first reference the full name is preferred. In subsequent references, the name may be shortened to “The Community” or alternatively “Our Community”
  • Do NOT underline or use ALL CAPS
  • Always use the area code when specifying telephone numbers. Telephone numbers should be specified in the following format: 999-999-9999
  • Spell-check and proofread all copy before submission

These guidelines are subject to periodic review and change. Please contact the main office for the most current style sheet.

Date published or revised


Using a style sheet ensures that all your publications conform to your organization’s custom identity.

Why You Shouldn’t Save Files to Your Desktop

Posted on August 1, 2014 by - Catholic Tech Talk

Your computer’s Desktop is the easiest place to save images, text documents, recent downloads, and any other kind of file. But while it seems easy and convenient to save that file there where you know you can find it again, here are three reasons why you shouldn’t:


Why You Shouldn’t Save Files to Your Desktop

  1. Files stored on the Desktop can actually slow down the computer’s overall performance.
  2. Your Desktop will eventually run out of visible space which actually makes it more difficult to locate the file you need. Some of you may have already run out of Desktop space.
  3. Most importantly, the files on your Desktop at this very minute have probably not been backed up and are vulnerable—they may be easily deleted. If they are important enough to be quickly accessible, they should be backed up and stored in a folder nested within your “My Documents” folder or elsewhere on your computer.

Folders and Shortcuts.

Folders and ShortcutsFolders are a great way to organize files without taking up all your Desktop space. Create folders for different projects, publications, or file types. You will also want to store your folders and files in a location that is safe, but can still be accessed easily. You can easily do this by creating  Desktop shortcuts to your folders and files.

Here’s how:

Let’s pretend you have a folder on your Desktop called Publication Resources that contains several Microsoft Publisher documents for your publication. You will first store this file in a more secure location, then create a shortcut to it.

  1. Right-click on the folder and choose “Cut”
  2. Open your My Documents folder (in Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.x, it is just called “Documents”)
  3. In an empty area of the My Documents folder, right click and choose “Paste.” Now your Publication Resources folder has been moved from the Desktop to the My Documents folder.
  4. In the My Documents folder, find the Publication Resource folder that you just moved. Right-click it and choose “Send to > Desktop (create shortcut).”
  5. Close the My Documents folder and go back to your Desktop. You should see a new icon there called “Shortcut to Publication Resources” or “Publication Resources – Shortcut.”

So whenever you need to open that folder, you can just double click the shortcut on the Desktop and it will open just like it always did. The difference is that the shortcut on your Desktop is only a shortcut—the actual file is stored safely in your “My Documents” folder.

Shortcuts are a nifty feature. They work for both files and folders. Use them to declutter your Desktop and safeguard your valuable information.

[Adapted from The Computer Tutor]

Seven Tips for Building a Better Bulletin

Posted on July 3, 2014 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Bulletin Cover1. Use boxes sparingly: Cluttering a bulletin with lines and boxes makes it difficult for your parishioners to know where to look. Keep lines to a minimum and separate content with color or white space. Try adding images to help illustrate the content allowing for a more attractive, clean layout.

2. Use white space: It is a design element that is often overlooked by editors, who strive to fill every bulletin with as much information as possible. Cramming the publication full of content can overwhelm parishioners and potentially discourage them from reading. Paring down the text is like clearing the aisles. Cutting some content will greatly improve the overall look and organization of the publication, making it easier to navigate, which should in turn encourage reading.

3. Avoid underlining: The practice of underlining dates back to the days of the typewriter, when it was used to emphasize text because typewriters lacked bold and italic styles. It is unnecessary in today’s age of modern technology. In addition, underlining is confusing for your readers because Web addresses are typically underlined. Text with a line underneath makes the words appear to be hyperlinks in print. Keep in mind that most professional publications such as books, magazines, and newspapers tend to avoid underlining, so it is wise to follow this best practice.

4. Make sure your text doesn’t get lost: Using dark texts on dark backgrounds makes them difficult to read especially for older individuals. Try using a lighter background or using white text with darker backgrounds. A general rule of thumb is that the background color should be only 30% tint or less to ensure it is light enough that text can be read. When inverting your text (white text on a dark background), make sure your background color is at least an 85% tint so it is dark enough to provide contrast for the white text.

5. Stick to 3 Fonts or Fewer: Multiple fonts can make a publication look messy and unprofessional. Stick to three or fewer styles for a more cohesive, appealing look. As the saying goes, everything in moderation. The key is not to overuse any one technique.

6. Use Better Images: Images found through search engines like Google and Bing are often copyrighted and using them without written permission is illegal. These images are also often low resolution and so appear low quality when printed. For higher quality images that will print beautifully, we would encourage you to use LPi’s Art & Media Portal or a stock photo website like istockphoto.com.

7. Provide new, relevant content: Recycling the same material from week-to-week discourages parishioners from reading the bulletin. Move this kind of static content to your website and direct readers there instead. This will free up room for more dynamic, interesting, articles within the bulletin to engage your parishioners.

Get Inspired!

Posted on June 13, 2014 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Creativity can be very elusive, especially when you are working on a deadline and need an idea as soon as possible!  Many of the world’s greatest thinkers developed unusual habits in an effort to spark their minds.  Maya Angelou made hotel rooms her workspace of choice, while Igor Stravinski got his innovative juices flowing by standing on his head.

Thanks to LPi’s Art & Media Portal, inspiration is only a click away. Log in to your account and then click here for an assortment of beautiful typographical art to suit any publication.

Here are some ideas for putting that inspirational content to use in bulletins, newsletters, and social networks:

Inspirational PerformationBulletins

Typographic artwork can serve as a permanent staple within your bulletin or used when needed.

  • Use as a Banner or Heading: Combine inspirational art with other content to create bulletin banners.
  • Place on a Perforated Page: Readers can tear out a new inspiration each week to post on their refrigerator or bulletin board.

 

 

 

Inspirational CalendarNewsletters

  • Article Inspirations: Use inspiring images to help springboard inspiring articles.
  • Place an image on your calendar as a monthly reflection

 

 

 

 

 

Social Networks

  • Pin image to your boards
  • Use as a Facebook cover photo on profile picture
    Inspirational Facebook

Now that you have some inspiration to work with, it is time to get started. How else can you imagine using these images?  Please share your ideas in the comments.

 

Creating Event Calendars for Busy Schedules

Posted on March 5, 2014 by - Catholic Tech Talk

Spring will soon be in the air, and Lent is now upon us. Preparing for holy seasons presents a challenge to our editors, who must find a way to squeeze many special events and masses into the bulletin. What is the best way to convey important dates and church happenings to parishioners within a limited amount of space? Depending on the type and amount of information, there are several layout options to consider.

Traditional Calendar Style

Calendar layouts are ideal for displaying very basic details. The following example worked well because only the date, time, location, and event name were needed. One limitation of using this method within Microsoft Publisher is that the table row height expands based on the amount of content in each cell. In other words, unless the content is the same length for each day, the calendar’s rows may vary a bit in height.

Calendar

How To Create a Traditional Calendar

Creating a traditional calendar in Microsoft Publisher is not a straightforward process, but it can be done.  The calendar must be created manually by inserting a table into the document, with 7 columns and 6 rows.  Resize the top row to a shorter height, as that area will contain the days of the week.  Next, number each cell based on the dates within the calendar month.  To avoid confusion, enter all dates first, then go back and type in the events for each day.  See Microsoft Publisher’s Support website, or call an LPi Tech Support Representative if assistance is needed with table formatting.

 

Chronological Event List

Upcoming EventsEvent lists work well when there are only a few events to note, and/or if the time span for activities is shorter than a month.  Alignment, color and white space can help organize the information, as demonstrated in the below example.

Using tabs to align the dates and events balances the information and improves readability.

How to Create a Chronological Event List:

Refer to Keeping Tabs on Your Content  or Setting Tabs in Microsoft Publisher for tips on how to create tabs.

 

Chronological Table

Tables featuring a row for each weekday are useful when there are several daily activities.  This layout offers extra room for event descriptions, if needed.

Chronological Table

How to Create a Chronological Table

Create two separate tables, with three columns and fifteen rows each.  Label the left column with days of the week.  Decrease the width of the middle column, and then type in the numerical date, working vertically down the table. Event descriptions can be placed in the right column.

 

Cluster Parish Events

Cluster Parish EventsJuggling multiple events for more than one church may seem daunting, but using a list or table format makes it possible.  Event lists can be organized by abbreviating the church names, with a clearly labeled key section.  The following is an example of a tabbed event list with key.

Table layouts may work better if each church has many events that are not shared with the other locations.  Simply include a separate column or row for each location.

 

In summary, there are many potential ways to organize event information in a concise, readable manner.  Note that some of the above examples may require an intermediate to advanced level of skill with Microsoft Publisher.  Feel free to contact your local LPi tech support department if you need any assistance with tables or tabs.

Have any alternative methods or tips for managing your events/activity list, besides those mentioned above?  Please comment to share your thoughts. We are always interested in new ideas and suggestions!

 

Newsletter Design Trends: How to Find Your Style

Posted on January 14, 2014 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

All newsletters share a common purpose of communicating a message to a targeted group of people.  The type of information and reason for presenting it will vary, however, because every newsletter is unique.  For instance, the goal could be to build brand awareness, increase an organization’s membership base, educate readers, garner donations, etc.  Regardless of the intention, most publications fit into one of several distinct style categories.

Here are the most common types of newsletter designs:

Covers

Cover Styles One

Inside Pages

Inside-Pages 2

Which style is best for your organization?

Bulletin editors who read other posts will be familiar with some of the following tips, however there are several other considerations to keep in mind when designing a newsletter.

  • When choosing a layout, first and foremost, consider the amount and type of content necessary.  If there is a lot of important information that must be included, use a design that keeps the text clear and readable. If certain articles are a priority, be sure to place them towards the beginning, and set them apart with graphic elements or white space.
  • Next, think about the culture of your organization, and the target audience.  The design should reflect the values and interests of both parties.  If unsure what style is most appealing to your readers, perhaps take a poll and/or ask for suggestions.
  • How is your newsletter distributed?  Mailed, picked up, downloaded online, or emailed?  The method in which the reader receives and views the publication should influence design decisions. For instance, if readers prefer to read your newsletter online instead of receiving a hard copy, it is helpful to use attention-grabbing graphics and colors to keep them interested and prevent unsubscribing.  If the publication is a mailer, it will likely be quarter-folded, with the back page on the outside being the first thing that readers see. Therefore, any logos or branding should be prominent on the back cover, and you may want to place the most important article and/or table of contents there as well.
  • Finally, consider your technical abilities.  As an editor, you are responsible for working within a regular deadline to gather articles and assemble them within your template.  Be honest with yourself about your comfort level in using a more advanced layout, which may include grouped images, master pages, various font styles, tabs, etc.  With practice you will become a pro, but if you feel stressed at the thought, perhaps a simple, traditional layout would be a better starting point.  You can always redesign the publication at a later date once you feel ready to take on a new challenge.

Remember that there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to newsletter design.  Any of the above options can be transformed to fit your needs!

Bulletin Design Trends: How to Find Your Style

Posted on December 11, 2013 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Every publication is unique, but there are several different styles commonly used for bulletin layout.

Covers

Bulletin Covers One

Inside Pages

Bulletin Pages Two

Which style is best for your church?

When choosing a layout, first and foremost, consider the amount and type of content necessary.  Is there a lot of important information that must be included?  Choose a design that keeps the text clear and readable. On the other hand, if you have room to spare, you will probably have more flexibility in your bulletin’s design.

Next, think about your organization’s culture.  Is the parish conservative and conscious of tradition?  Or is the church progressive and up-to-date with current trends?  Perhaps your congregation falls somewhere in the middle?  The design should reflect your parish values and interests.

Third, consider your technical abilities.  As an editor, you are responsible for working within a regular deadline to gather articles and assemble them within your template.  Be honest with yourself about your comfort level in using a more advanced layout, which may include grouped images, master pages, various font styles, tabs, etc.  With practice you will become a pro, but if you feel stressed at the thought, perhaps a simple, traditional layout would be a better starting point.  You can always redesign the publication at a later date once you feel ready to take on a new challenge.

Finally, remember that there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to bulletin design.  Any of the above options can be transformed to fit your needs!

 

Print Preview Using LPi Express

Posted on August 30, 2013 by - Catholic Tech Talk

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” — Benjamin Franklin

Franklin’s adage is just as true today in the cyberworld as it was in colonial times. Before you submit your publication to LPi to be printed, walk through the following steps to prevent any issues.

  • Always preview your PDF file by clicking the Preview your .pdf file link on the Ready to Submit screen. Clicking the Preview your .pdf file link gives you one last opportunity to review your publication.
  • When you click the Preview your .pdf file link, what you will see is what we will print. If everything looks good to you, close the preview window and click the Submit button.
  • If you spot something which you wish to change, close the preview window and click the Reset button to return to your publication.
  • Make whatever changes you wish to make and then print your publication to the LPi Express printer again. And don’t forget… preview your PDF file again before clicking the Submit button. This will eliminate the need to submit your publication a second time.

*If you do need to submit your publication a second time, please call us as soon as possible so that we can intercept the job which you submitted previously.

Logo Design Tips

Posted on July 31, 2013 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Logos are not just for global brands like Apple and Starbucks. They are a powerful tool for any organization aiming to differentiate itself and establish a loyal following. A logo can give religious institutions a recognizable identity that represents the core values and mission of the congregation. What makes a good logo?

Simplicity

There are several reasons why a logo should be relatively simple. Imagine viewing it from afar, perhaps on a sign. It should be clear from a distance. Alternatively, it must be readable at a reduced size, for instance on an envelope or business card. Keep in mind that complex elements may become lost at a smaller size. Finally, simpler designs are more memorable and therefore easier for patrons to recall and identify the organization associated with the logo.

Appropriate Colors

Logo colors should be evaluated and selected carefully, as they lend meaning and symbolism to the organization they represent. Colors can influence emotions and convey various messages depending on the viewer’s culture. In general, bright colors are considered upbeat and friendly, while darker colors are seen as more serious and professional. The logo should also have enough color contrast to be effectively made black and white when necessary (for example, when faxed) without losing important design elements.

Timelessness

Trends come and go, but a great logo should withstand the test of time indefinitely. Avoid designs that might go out of style in order to avoid the need to rebrand the organization too soon.

Unique Design

Steer away from generic logos. Certain trends, although visually appealing, are often overused and end up becoming cliché. Crowdspring has several great examples of unoriginal logos in their post on “Overused, Overdone Logo Concepts.”

Consider what sets your organization apart from the rest. What is your mission? Are there any distinctive architectural elements, or nearby geographical landmarks such as lakes or bridges? Include those unique elements in the logo in order to make it your own.

Church Logo Examples

Below are several great examples of LPi customer logos.

Logos

Logo Usage Suggestions

The logo should be used on all printed communication materials including letterhead, bulletins, flyers, directories and newsletters.  It should also be included in outdoor signage.  Don’t forget to place it online as well; logos must be prominently visible on websites, social media pages and email signatures.

Keep the logo consistent by developing a style guide with directions for proper use to ensure it remains the correct colors and does not become distorted or altered in a way that makes it unrecognizable.

Next Steps

Ready to develop your own logo?  Don’t forget that graphic design services are free for LPi customers.  Feel free to contact one of our designers to get started today.