Calendar template

Solve a production challenge on a calendar in InDesign


My buddy Dave Hayes doesn’t just describe himself as a ‘weather freak’, he wears it as a badge of honor and made a mark of it.

Dave, a local musician, turned his other passion – weather – into a regional Facebook page and website for his fresh, honest, and accurate forecast. In western Massachusetts (where I live), southern Vermont (where I work), and northern Connecticut, we don’t just rely on him. We Like him!

One of the ways Dave funds his base operation is by selling a beautiful annual calendar with local photographs of his fans, as well as “moon phases, meteor showers, planetary conjunctions, equinox dates. / solstice, information about the eclipse, popular festivals, notable local weather birthdays, and more! weather information, “as he describes it.

But as he looked to update his paper design this year, some production-related storm clouds started to arrive.

More after the jump! Read on below??
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I was happy to help him solve this particularly difficult problem, given that he was using an older version of InDesign.

As I was helping Dave, it occurred to me that his experience provides a great example of how you should be. thinking about any problem you are having in InDesign, and it illustrates the decisions Dave made while creating his document that might, in hindsight, have made this problem much easier to resolve. I don’t expect you to have Dave’s exact problem, but I hope the process and results here could help you become a better production artist.

Dave being Dave he was only too happy to give me permission to share our adventure with you. So button up your raincoats and off you go.

The high pressure system exerts pressure

“I’m thinking of making the date numbers bigger in my calendar, but I’d like to find a way to select all of the text boxes that contain the numbers and both of them make them bigger.” [width and height] and also make the font bigger, ”Dave asked me. “Is there a fancy way to do it?” “

(Dude, you got me at “fancy fix.”)

Here is the situation. Dave, using InDesign CS6, had created the calendar grid manually, using the Line tool. Each cell contained a text frame with the date. Each issue has been formatted locally as 16 Raleway ExtraBold points.

Calendar grid with Paragraph Styles panel displayed [Basic Paragraph]+

First challenge: How can I globally edit text without styling?

  1. First, I created a new style – I called it NUMBER2 – for the new type specifications for numbers. In my game with his file, I used 24 points.
  2. I discovered that Dave had formatted all of his text in exactly the same way, allowing me to use Find / Modify to do a GREP search to find any digit ( d) and replace it with the found text ($ 0).
    • I used Find Format to restrict these numbers to those that were specifically Raleway ExtraBold 16 point (under Find Format Settings, Basic Character Formats pane).
      Find the format settings with the basic character formats set on Raleway ExtraBold 16 point.
    • I have set Edit Format to change whatever was found in the NUMBER2 paragraph style (under Edit Format Settings, Style Options pane, which appears when you click the button). The Edit Format Settings dialog box displays the style options: Character Style [Any Style], Paragraph Style: NUMBER2

Now the numbers have been changed, but at 24 points the text frames with two-digit days have become outdated.

Calendar grid with larger numbers with three overlaid text frames

Second challenge: How could I correct the geometry of the page to solve this problem New problem: open all text boxes to automatically accommodate new larger numbers?

It certainly helped that Dave used step and repeat or faithfully copied and pasted text frames when he created the document. The text frames were mostly 0.3 inches wide, with a few 0.34 inches and an outlier at 0.27 inches.

  1. I created an object style (creatively named NEW OBJECT STYLE), with all the basic attributes initially turned off except the text frame auto size options, with the auto size set to the height and width and orientation set on the proxy as the top left corner.
    New object style with all attributes disabled except auto size text frame options with auto sizing definition for height and width and proxy set for top left corner
  2. I launched Find / Modify and selected the Object tab. For each of the individual day count frame width measurements, starting with 0.3 inches:
    • Under Find Object Format, I looked for general text frame options and entered the width measurement.
    • Under Change object format, I selected NEW OBJECT STYLE as the object style.
      Find / Modify the object, with the format of the search object: General options of the text frame: Column width: 0.3 inch, modify the format of the object: Object style: NEW STYLE OF OBJECT

I told Dave that if he had any outliers he could select the text frame and from the context menu select Fit> Fit Frame to Content without worrying about searching – an approach that would definitely be easier. .

And with that, the clouds parted and the sun started to shine! Each image found by the search automatically enlarges in width and height to accommodate the new size of the number.

Full page of January 2022 calendar.

Great lessons to be learned from this challenge

Hope I made it clear how much I admire Dave, personally and professionally, although I offer a few (hopefully gentle) critiques of how he put his document together. I can barely remember looking at a thermometer so I wouldn’t expect my meteorologist to be fluent in object and GREP styles!

  • The power of InDesign lies not only in the features it offers, but also in their creative and concerted use. This solution involved Find / Edit with GREP, Find / Edit with object, paragraph styles, and object styles. If you need to change something, always think: how do you find it?
  • If you use InDesign regularly, stay on top of new features, even if you don’t need to use them right away. We never know! I’ve been using InDesign since 2003, and had never searched for objects or frames by width until this challenge. Don’t be afraid to try new things (on working file copies, of course).
  • Learn how to use styles, even if you don’t think you really need them! Once you’ve got yourself into a complicated project with a lot of local formatting, you can’t easily change your mind. The paragraph, character, and object styles would have made editing this template so much easier.
  • If you’ve come across a layout challenge like this – and we all will, at one point or another – don’t panic! Divide the solution into separate challenges. Even though you can only automate part of a solution, it’s still a big improvement.
  • Even if you don’t use InDesign often, you can use Word or other software more frequently for office and administrative work. . Once you get used to using the styles, I guarantee you’ll start to think in styles. Whatever software you use, using styles, if available, will improve the quality of your work!
  • No matter how hard you use InDesign, aim for consistency! Dave brings precision, logic and nuance to his weather forecast, and it’s clear that while he didn’t use styles, he built his document with consistency. Its action made all the difference by letting me help it out by giving me a reasonable number of frame widths to look for.
  • If you are designing a calendar, you should definitely check Calendar Assistant, which automates pretty much everything about the process. It’s free for non-commercial use and $ 20 if you use it to make money. Think how much time this $ 20 will save you!
  • At the very least, I would strongly advise anyone creating a calendar from scratch to use tables (and, of course, table and cell styles).
  • Dave had everything on a default layer. A project like this would benefit from multiple layers that can be toggled on and off as needed for clarity, focus, and ease of object selection.
  • If you can’t be a professional designer, have one waiting that owes you a favor.