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!

Color Makes You Key (CMYK)

Posted on April 1, 2013 by - Catholic Tech Talk

CMYKYou may see the letters CMYK mentioned with regard to printing. While it may seem to be an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, on closer inspection you’ll note it does not.

The obvious issue is the letter K which oddly enough stands for the “key” as in the key plate. Just as with a keystone, the key plate is a crucial part of color reproduction.

In the subtractive color model, cyan, magenta and yellow inks are used in varying amounts to create a variety of shades and hues that more or less represent all the colors of the rainbow. This is done by the inks subtracting reflected light off of our white paper.

In theory, if you combine equal amounts of those three colors what should appear is black. Smaller percentages of equal amounts would thus create shades of gray. In practice, however, the impurities of mass-manufactured printing inks will produce a dark color, but one that is rarely close to what we would call “black.”

This is where the Key plate comes into play. In printing, the key plate is used with black ink. Since this ink is a purer black than the three process inks can produce added together, images reproduced on press will have richer contrast and darker areas will look neutral.

Black ink can be manufactured less expensively than cyan, magenta, and yellow, so when color separations are made, the three colors are often replaced with certain amounts of black which is an added benefit.

Black ink is also used for type. This has the advantage of producing sharp type with only one impression on press. If we instead used the three color inks, minor changes in alignment would create a blurred effect that made the type unreadable.

So next time you see the letters CMYK, you’ll be a little wiser as to how key the letter K can be in making a good impression in your printed bulletin or newsletter!

Setting Tabs in Microsoft Publisher

Posted on November 30, 2012 by - Catholic Tech Talk

One of the easiest ways to maintain an even structure in Microsoft Publisher is to use tabs in the margin bar at the top of your document. Using tabs makes placing detailed information more visually pleasing and easy to understand. Pressing Tab by default gives you a gap of about a quarter of an inch in a document. This can also cause a text box to unevenly place text.

Note: It’s best to set up tabs before placing text, but we’ll use already-placed text in this demonstration. If you have already-placed text and want to use tabs, simply highlight the text you want to use tabs with

First let’s organize this text by spacing out this information using tabs. Since there are three text segments, we will space out the text by pressing tab between segments. For this example, we want text to appear to the left, center, and right of our text box.

We first click on the text box and choose where we want our first tab point to begin. We want to line up the left hand side, so we’ll left-click twice on the ruler icon at the top-left edge as indicated by the red highlighted dot.

This brings up a menu and we select the Left alignment. We could also choose to have dots appear in between our tab spacing by choosing an option in the ‘leader area.’

Now that we have set the Left tab, we repeat the process by double-clicking the ruler in the center of our text, and then clicking the Center bubble. We repeat this process on the right-hand size. The end result should look like the example below.

As you can see, the text is organized and much easier to read. These tab settings are completely customizable to whatever project you’re working on. Tab spacing and the amount of tab sections can all be adjusted to suit your needs.

Keeping Tabs on Your Content

Posted on January 9, 2012 by - Catholic Tech Talk

Looking for a neat way to keep things in line within your bulletin?  Give your space bar a break and consider using Tabs, a convenient method for organizing your information in a clean, easy-to-read format.  When set up correctly, all you need to do is press Tab on your keyboard, and Microsoft Publisher will automatically position your text in the location you want.  You have the option of lining everything up to the left side, right side, center, or at the decimal points.  Search for “Tabs” in Microsoft Publisher’s Help menu for more information and detailed instructions.

Tabs are very useful for laying out your mass times and intentions, activity schedules, contact information, and many types of lists and forms.  Check out the following examples and try these quick tutorials for your bulletin or newsletter!

Three Column Weekly Activity Schedule

List activities for the week, using columns for date, event, and time.

Steps:

  1. Create a new text box with the heading “Upcoming Events.”
  2. Enter a date, then press tab.  Enter an event name, then press tab again.  Finally, enter the event time.  Press Return or Enter to begin a new line.
  3. For example, Type Nov. 27, then hit tab.  Type Choir, then hit tab.  Type 9:00 am.  Press Enter.   Repeat this process for several lines.
  4. Highlight all of the text you inserted, and then click Format, Tabs.
  5. Click Clear All to remove any previous formatting.
  6. Click in the field under Tab stop position.  Type 1.15 as your measurement.  This will determine the placement of your tab.
  7. Select Left alignment.
  8. Click Set to apply your selections to your highlighted content.
  9. Click in the Tab stop position field again, and type 3.5.
  10. Under Alignment, click Right.
  11. Click Set.
  12. Click Ok.  You’ll notice that your lines are now reformatted.  If things are not lining up the way you want, just start at step 3 again, and adjust your tab stop measurements and alignments as needed.

 

Contact Information

Use tabs and leaders to organize names and phone numbers so readers can easily find the specific information they need.

Steps:

  1. Create a new text box with the heading “Contacts.”
  2. Type a first and last name, then hit tab.  Next, type that person’s phone number or extension.  Press Return or Enter to start a new line. Repeat this process on the next several lines, until you have typed all names and phone numbers.
  3. Highlight the text you inserted, and then click Format, Tabs.
  4. Click Clear All to remove any previous formatting.
  5. Click in the field under Tab stop position.  Type 3.3 as your measurement.  This will determine the placement of your tab.
  6. Select Right alignment.
  7. Under Leader, select Dot.
  8. Click Set to apply your selections to your highlighted content.
  9. Click Ok.  You’ll notice that your lines are now reformatted, and should include dots between the names and phone numbers.  If things are not lining up the way you want, just start at step 3 again, and adjust your tab stop measurements and alignments as needed.

 

Weekly Collections

Use the decimal alignment tab to position collection amounts in your Stewardship area.

Steps:

  1. Create a new text box with the heading “Church Support.”
  2. Type “Previous Balance,” then press tab.  Type your previous balance amount in this format: $x,xxx.xx.  Hit Enter or Return to begin a new line. Type “Contributions,” then press tab.  Type your parish’s contribution amount in this format: $x,xxx.xx.  Hit Enter or Return to begin a new line.  Type “Total,” then press tab.  Type your total donation amount in this format: $x,xxx.xx.
  3. Highlight all the text you inserted, and then click Format, Tabs.
  4. Click Clear All to remove any previous formatting.
  5. Click in the field under Tab stop position.  Type 3.2 as your measurement.  This will determine the placement of your tab.
  6. Select Decimal alignment.*
  7. Under Leader, select Dot.
  8. Click Set to apply your selections to your highlighted content.
  9. Click Ok.  You’ll notice that your lines are now reformatted, and all numbers should be aligned at the decimal point.  If things are not lining up the way you want, just go back to step 3, and adjust your measurements and alignments as needed.

*You can also try using the right alignment setting for this example.

Although it may seem daunting at first, with just a little practice and some determination, you can master the above techniques and use them to make your publications more attractive and helpful for your readers!  Remember that all of the above examples can be adjusted to fit your needs.  For instance, if you typically use different categories for your church support section, name them accordingly.  Or, if you’d prefer a 2-column activity list, just create one set of tab stops, instead of two.

Have you tried using Tabs in your publications?  Please comment about your experiences.  Would you recommend Tabs, or is there a different method that works better for you? Share your tips and tricks!