Sunday, December 10, 2006

How to print templates on a copy machine or your computer printer

Lee Gilchrist wrote:
Here’s a somewhat experimental way to get around the $2 charge for the large letters using a normal photocopy machine. Take a thick marker (a sharpie marker should work good) and draw a vertical and horizontal line on each letter dividing them into 4 equal quarters. I’m talking about dividing the letters themselves not the sheets of paper the letters are printed on. Now fold the letters into quarters down the middle of the thick lines and photocopy each quarter section separately.
Set the copier to blow up (enlarge) to whatever percent --can you tell I haven’t actually done this yet-- will give you the 16” tall letters. Make sure you position each sheet you are copying on the machine about 1/8th inch out from the side, where the machine will pick up the thick lines you drew.
[Note: Anything you enlarge on a photocopy machine will expanded out from the upper left corner of the screen.]
Here's a better way, one you can do on any printer without going through a copy shop.
- open an Excel spreadsheet'
- on the View/Toolbars menu, make sure the Drawing toolbar is showing
- on the Drawing toolbar, select the "Insert WordArt" icon (a tilted "A")
- select a style (prolly start with a fairly plain one, like upper left corner)
- in the Edit WordArt text dialog box, select a font (but ignore the point size) and enter the full text you want
- a graphic containing the text will be placed in the middle of the spreadsheet, along with a floating dialog box called "WordArt"
- drag the graphic to the upper left corner of the spreadsheet
- from that "WordArt" dialog, select "Format WordArt"
- select the Size tab
- click the "Lock Aspect Ratio" on
- adjust the height to approximate number of inches you want
- tab to the Width field, and it should change automatically, so leave it
- do a print preview, and click the Margins tab and adjust the margins outward (if you want to maximize the size you can get on a physical sheet)
- print
- join the pages together
At that point, I cover the entire text with clear contact paper--both front side and back. Then when I cut the letters out I've got a fairly durable letter to trace around in creating the final letters.
I'm just in the beginning stages of experimenting with this, but it seems to work pretty well so far. The WordArt scheme keeps everything proportional and well aligned.

Thank you Lee for figuring this out and writing it up.