How to Set Up Your Church’s Facebook Page

Posted on February 3, 2016 by - Catholic Tech Talk

churchFacebook is a great tool for churches to engage parishioners, create prayer chains, evangelize the lost, and encourage stewardship.

If your church is not already on Facebook, here are some steps to set up your account.

  1. Log in to your personal Facebook account. If you do not yet have an account, click here and follow the instructions labeled “How do I sign up for Facebook?”
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  2. Go to facebook.com/pages/create.
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  3. Click the Company, Organization or Institution button and select “Church/Religious Organization” from the category menu.
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  4. Enter your church name and click the Get Started button.
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  5. Under the About tab, enter a sentence or two that briefly tells people about your church. You are limited to 155 characters for this description.
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  6. Enter the Web address you would like for your Facebook page. We recommend matching this to your regular church Web address—i.e., if your website is www.stmichaelmilwaukee.com, enter “stmichaelmilwaukee” and click the Save Info button.
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  7. Click the Upload From Computer button to add a profile picture for your church. This can be an image of your church, your church’s logo, or a seasonal image of your choosing. Once you have selected a photo, click the Next button.
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  8. Click the Add to Favorites button to add a quick link to your church Facebook page to your favorites panel. Click the Next button.
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  9. Under the Preferred Page Audience tab, simply click the Save button. You can adjust this setting later.
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  10. Your page is now created. At the top of your page you will see icons under the headingComplete Page Info. Click through these icons at any time to Add a Cover Photo and Add Contact Info.
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Now that your page is created you can create posts, add images, and share content. In a future article, we will discuss some best practices for Facebook.

Four Reasons Why Your Church Needs a Facebook Page

Posted on January 27, 2016 by - Catholic Tech Talk

The Apostle Paul spent a lot of time in town squares, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ wherever he went. He spoke of becoming all things to all people, in order to win some to the cause of Christ. And we are each called to do the same.

Facebook is the new town square with roughly 1.4 billion active users logging in every month. Your parishioners are here. People needing God are here. And your church needs to be here too.

Here are four reasons why your church needs a Facebook page today:

Engage-ParishionersFacebook Lets You Engage Your Parishioners All Week Long

The Mass is the center of all things for the church, bringing the sacrifice and love of Christ into the present moment. This is a message that can be (and should be) echoed throughout the rest of the week using your Facebook page.

  • Post daily Bible readings to connect your parishioners to the word of God.
  • Share homilies for those who might have missed Mass or who are physically unable to attend.
  • Post Catholic articles, encouraging words, and up-to-date news.

Facebook also gives your parishioners a place to share pictures, videos, events, news, and prayer requests all week long. And speaking of prayer…

PrayerFacebook Makes a Great Prayer Chain

Prayer is powerful and sharing prayer requests is something the church has always done. Facebook makes it easy for parishioners and visitors alike to share prayer requests or ministry requests with the community and, instantly, church members can respond and help them.

  • Encourage parishioners to share their prayer needs with the church body.
  • Remind parishioners to intercede for one another as needs arise.
  • Ask parishioners to share how God is answering their prayers.

The practice of praying together draws people closer to God, the church, and one another. Making prayer a focus in daily life can transform a person’s faith and we want to share that message in church, at home, and online.

EvangelizeFacebook Helps You Evangelize the Unchurched

Imagine if you could regularly share the Gospel with those who are lost or fallen away from the faith in just five minutes a day. Facebook provides a place for you to do exactly that.

  • Post content that directly speaks to the power of a relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Encourage parishioners to share those posts on their own Facebook page
  • As parishioners share, the Gospel is being spread to everyone they’re connected with on Facebook.

Now imagine people regularly seeing reminders of God’s love, forgiveness, and mercy. This is digital evangelization and God can use it to transform hearts and change lives.

Facebook Encourages Stewardship

We are called to practice stewardship in every area of our lives, to acknowledge that all good gifts come from God, and to use those gifts to honor him. Facebook offers multiple opportunities for your parishioners to give of themselves in their everyday lives.

  • Recruit volunteers using Facebook events
  • Encourage parishioners to ask the community for help when they need it, and to pay it forward when they are able.
  • If you are a WeShare customer, install WeShare on your Facebook page and use it for donations, events, and fundraisers.

Your parishioners are already using Facebook, so give them a way to be good stewards of that time.

For help integrating WeShare with your Facebook page, please contact your Engagement Manager.

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

Posted on April 29, 2015 by - Catholic Tech Talk

Mobile FriendlyWith more and more of the Internet traffic being on mobile devices, it is critically important that your church website be mobile friendly.  Remember, your website is a marketing and engagement tool.  It is how local Catholics, traveling Catholics, and anyone interested in finding a church can learn about your parish online.

 

Click here to read the full article

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.

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]

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!

 

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.

Are you Linked into “Linking”?

Posted on June 21, 2013 by - Catholic Tech Talk

If you use Publisher, Quark or InDesign to create your publication, one of the options you have when placing images is to link them to your publication file. But what does that mean and why would you choose to do that?

LinkGenerally speaking images files are large and take up lots of storage in your computer. When embedded in a Publisher, Quark or InDesign publication, the file you are working on becomes larger and takes more memory and hard drive space. In most circumstances this is an acceptable practice, and while it will make the program respond slower, the average computer used today is able to process data so quickly you will not likely notice. The same can be said for the space used by larger files in that most computers have very large hard drives and expansive amounts of RAM so that the effect of these larger files is rarely a issue to the average user.

This brings us back to the question of when is linking a good idea? Linking allows all high resolution image files to remain in one centralized location such as a server. This is commonly used at companies that work with high volumes of large image files such as newspapers or magazines. The files remain on the server and are not being copied to individual workstations across the company network slowing it down. When the document is finally ready for printing, proofing or final print, the software then finds the original high resolution image file and sends it to the printer.

The drawback to linking files to a page layout program is that, if the link is ever broken the high resolution file can no longer be used when you need to print it. When this occurs you will see a warning like the one in Microsoft Publisher. It states Publisher cannot find the following linked picture. It then lists the image that is missing. Publisher then offers up three options, find the linked picture and update it, print the low-resolution picture currently displayed in your publication, or print an empty space in place of the missing picture. In that instance you will always want to find the original file as printing the low resolution image or an empty space would only possibly be useful for proofreading.

As you can see, linking images is best avoided for the average user of page layout programs since it amounts to more confusion. Simply inserting the high resolution graphic is generally the best bet. The files you will find on LPi’s Art and Media Portal are all designed to keep the file sizes compact to allow for quicker downloading while at the same time making your bulletin or newsletter look great!