‘Tis the Season for Making 2013 Photo Calendars

Guest blogger Cynthia Hartwig, co-owner of Two Pens (@twopens2), teaches business people how to write social media content from both sides of the brain.)

In the midst of shopping, tree trimming, cookie baking, and a whirlwind of holiday parties, who has time to build a 2013 calendar?

(To download the calendar, click to Word document “Rowing Club Annual Calendar Template” at the bottom of the post.)

Moi! (Thanks to Word’s Online Templates.)

I was recently “volunteered” by my rowing pals to make a 2013 calendar to keep our important Conibear Rowing Club regatta dates. You want it when? January 1, of course!

After taking a deep Lamaze-type breath, I turned to the Word’ templates on office.com and soon found this beautiful picture-rich 12-month calendar template. Only then did I breathe a sigh of relief. (You can find lots of other calendar templates on office.com, too.)

A beautiful photo calendar took only a few hours to complete

The most time consuming part of building my calendar turned out to be picking great photos. I like rowing and photography a lot, so theoretically I had a huge number of photo files to plow through. To save time and sanity, I decided to only look at the photos I had starred for each month of the past year. That way, I narrowed my search down to 12 of my best photos and then chose the images that had something to do with rowing in that month.

During February, for example, a month of rain, wind, and wet in the Northwest, I picked a shot of two of our water soaked rowing rats at the Lake Stevens regatta.


In June, Conibear always competes in the Regional Masters competition. Voila! Here’s our winning quad yukking it up after their race.


Crop the photos to match the size of the photos in the template

All the Word calendar templates come with a pre-ordained space to insert your photos. It’ll make your life easier if you check the size of the template’s photo box and match your crop size to it. Select your photo, then go to the Format tab on the Ribbon, and select Size.  If you are going to print the calendar, crop to the Absolute size. This template calls for photos with an Absolute height of 8.64″ and a width of 7.69″; images this large will print beautifully. If you’re not printing your calendar and just plan to share it online, you can select the actual image size shown at the bottom of the box. This will keep your file size smaller.

When you’re ready to crop, click Format Pictures and set the size of the crop box to the size the template calls for. Then go through and crop every photo with this setting. My cropping tip is to cut out unimportant information around the edges of your photos. See my post on Word’s Picture effects for more tips on this surprisingly robust feature in Word.

In this silhouette shot of early morning rowing, I cropped in to emphasize the water droplets, for example.


Once all your images are cropped, you’re ready to place your photos

Use the Insert from File command to select each month’s photo and drop them into the image boxes on the template. If you’ve cropped at the Absolute size, the photos will drop into the box, easy-peasy. If you’ve opted for smaller image files, you will have to adjust the size of the image in the space.

Now you’re ready to build out the nuts-and-bolts of dates and schedules

Word calendar templates let you replace example text on the days of the month by simply typing in your text. If there’s no example text, you can also just start typing on any day. I added important rowing work out and regatta dates.


You can also have fun with trivia or, as I did, with work out tips.


Word templates make it easy to share. And to delegate

If you are super time-challenged, as I was, you can share your Word calendar at this point and ask for help with the details. I sent mine to our coaches and asked them to plug in regatta dates for me. You could assign someone in your group to come up with all the tips. Spread the joy, I say.

Proof, print and enjoy

Once all the data is in place, make sure you proof your calendar for errors. Then send it out to your favorite local printer or pick one of the many online printing choices that are both cheap and fast.

In a nutshell: three hours was not so bad

A calendar task I thought was going to be complicated and arduous took me a little less than three hours. You may do it in less. And you don’t even have to share the fact that Word online templates saved your bacon. Let me know how you think my quickie Conibear Rowing Club calendar turned out in the comments. I’m open to suggestions for who to “volunteer” next year.