Recently, I shared the essential elements that I always include in my morning routine (read that post HERE), and one of those elements was using my calendar. This habit alone has completely revolutionized my time management and my organization. But sometimes it’s difficult to find a calendar that’s just right. And more often than not, it’s impossible to find the perfect calendar for a specific purpose. So what to do? Design a custom calendar, of course! Here’s how to create a custom calendar in Word!
If you’ve been around the blog before, you’re likely aware of my
obsession, ahem, my love of calendars. I’ve added hours to my day with a calendar! But I also use calendars for other organizing projects, too. I use them to organize my blog calendar, special projects, and product launches (coming soon, yay!). I create custom calendars for so many projects, and they help me to stay so much more organized. Now, let’s get to the tutorial on how to create a custom calendar in Word!
Buckle up, friends, this is going to be a loooong post. But I’m trying to take it little step by little step, so that you’ll be a pro by the end of the post!
How to Create a Custom Calendar in Word
We’ll start by creating the calendar, then have some fun with the decorative elements!
Creating the Calendar
Here are the steps for creating the actual calendar and calendar blocks.
Step 1: Formatting
First, open a new Microsoft Word file. I like to create my calendars in the Portrait Layout, but you can create them in Landscape, as well. For reference, the screenshots in this tutorial will be in Portrait Layout, but the steps are the same.
Click on Page Layout then Margins. Change your margins to Narrow.
**I like to use Narrow Margins, because it leaves me more room for my calendar and decorative touches. But you can choose whichever Margin option works best for you.
Use your Enter key to navigate ALL the way to the bottom of the page. This ensures that you’ll be able to move around the page without causing formatting problems.
**Once you’ve completed this step make sure you use your arrows or your mouse to move around the page NOT the Enter and Delete key.
Step 2: Inserting the Table
Now, using your arrow keys or mouse, position your cursor several lines below the top left corner of the page (or your table will insert in the wrong position). We want to leave a few lines where we can create our header or add other decorative elements.
Once you’ve positioned your cursor near the top left side of the page, you can then insert a table by going to Insert > Table on the top navigation bar.
Click on the upside down triangle.
A “miniature” table will pop up.
Move your cursor so that you’ve highlighted 6 Rows (down) and 7 Columns (across), then Left Click.
**We’re using 6 Rows instead of 5 (average weeks in a month), because we need a row for the days of the week!
Step 3: The Look of a Calendar
In the top navigation bar, click the Layout Option under Table Tools. Here we will adjust the table height and width.
**Make sure you’ve clicked on your table or you won’t see the Table Tools.
If you highlight the whole table excluding the top row (where we’ll put our days of the week), you’ll be able to adjust the height and width for each row and column at the same time.
Adjust the height and width until you’re happy with the size of the calendar.
I adjusted my height to 1.5 inches. My width was already fitted to the page. Yours probably was too, but if not, make the adjustments now.
Step 4: One Page
After adjusting the height of your calendar, you may have ended up with a second page in your document.
Go ahead and place your cursor on the very last row of the first page (using arrow keys or your mouse), then use the Delete key until that second page disappears.
And that, my friends, is the basic calendar. Yay! Now, we get to move on to the fun stuff!
Adding Decorative Elements to Your Calendar
Adding decorative elements, unique fonts, and colors is definitely the fun part of this process. And after all of the work we did in the section above, we deserve some fun! 🙂
So, on to the fun part!
Step 5: Setting Colors
First, decide on a color scheme for your calendar. I’m using this calendar for some February project planning, I chose a color palette with pinks, light tan, and two bluish-grays.
*This is my color palette:
There are several ways you can find colors to use in your calendar in Word.
You can click on your table then click on Table Tools> Design > Shading and choose from the available Theme or Standard Colors options.
Also, you can find more colors by clicking on Table Tools> Design> Shading > More Colors….
And choose from the additional Standard color options.
OR you can use RGB Decimal Codes to create custom colors in Word by clicking on Table Tools> Design> Shading > Custom.
RGB Decimal Codes are a series of 3 numbers separated by hyphens, like this: 254-226-224. The numbers refer to the portion of the color that is red, green, and blue.
You can find RGB Decimal Codes by searching online for “RGB Decimal Code for [color name].”
If you have a Hex Code, which looks like this: #FEE2EO, you can search online for the corresponding RGB Decimal Code.
Once you enter an RGB Decimal Code (or use standard or theme colors), Word will place it under “Recent Colors,” which saves SO much time and effort when adding decorative touches to your calendar!
** Word only saves your Recent Colors until you close the document. If you come back to your document, you’ll have to re-enter your RGB Decimal Codes. I like to create an image with PicMonkey that includes my colors, RGB Decimal Codes, and the Hex Codes (if necessary). That way I have all of my color information in one document!
Step 6: Changing Borders and Blocks
Now that you know more about adding colors in Word, let’s make adjustments to our calendar borders and blocks!
You can change the color, thickness, and style of your calendar borders from within the Design section under Table Tools (make sure you’ve clicked on your calendar or you won’t see the Table Tools option).
On the right side of the Design navigation bar is a section called “Draw Borders.”
Click on the square in the bottom right corner of the “Draw Borders” section to open the options window.
On the left side of the options window, you can choose which borders to adjust: None, Box, All, Grid, or Custom.
In the middle of the options box, you can change the style, color, and width of your borders.
On the right side are options for making changes to borders within highlighted sections of the table (highlight those sections prior to opening the options window).
In the screenshot below, I changed the color of my borders by choosing “Grid” in the left section and choosing the dark bluish-gray under “Color” in the center section.
To change the width of the outside borders of my calendar, I selected “Box,” then clicked on the drop down menu next to “Width.”
In the drop down menu, I choose the 2 1/4 point width.
And this is how those changes looked on my calendar.
I later decided that I didn’t like the wider outside border, so I changed it back to the original width.
**Play around with these settings! There are a ton of fun options.
Step 7: Formatting the Days of the Week and Dates
Now, type the days of the week into the top row of the calendar.
Highlight the whole row and change the alignment by going to Table Tools > Layout > Alignment (the 2nd box from the right). There are 9 different alignment choices. I like the “Align Center” option.
Highlight the entire row again and change the color by going to Home > Font Color.
Recently used colors show up in this menu, too!
Now change the font on the days of the week by following the same process. Font options are available at Home > Font.
You can also change the size of the font with the drop-down menu options to the right of the font options box.
Now add and edit the dates with the same process.
**When navigating the boxes of the calendar, use the Tab key.
Step 8: Adding the Month and Year
Add a text box for the month and year by clicking on Insert > Text Box > Simple Text Box.
This is what your text box will look like once it’s inserted.
Type the month and year into the Text Box.
Then change the font, size, and color of your month and year by using the options within the Home tab (just like we did for the days of the week and the dates).
Explore the options under “Text Box Tools” to make changes to your Text Box.
- Move your Text Box.
- Change the size.
- Use the “Shape Fill” option to fill your Text Box with with color, including white if you want it to be opaque.
- Explore the “Shape Outline” options and change the color, weight, and style of your Text Box Outlines, including choosing “No Outline” to “erase” them (they’ll appear as light blue dashed lines on your document but won’t show up in a PDF or when you print your calendar).
- Change the shape of your Text Box with the “Change Shape” options.
I decided to have my text box stretch all the way across the top of my calendar. It’s my favorite way to set up my month and year Text Box!
With the “Shape Outline” options, I made the top and bottom Text Box outlines bluish-gray.
Play around here and find what you like!
Step 9: Adding Decorative Elements
Now we’ll add some decorative elements!
To add decorative elements, go to Insert > Shapes.
Click on the upside down triangle to open the shape options.
Choose a shape and insert it. As you can see, there are many options! You can even draw your own shape by using the “Freeform” option (the weird looking heart laying on its side under “Lines”).
I inserted a heart into my calendar document.
You can duplicate shapes, make them larger or smaller, and move them.
I moved and resized my heart until I was happy with it, then keeping the heart selected, I sent it to the back of the Text Box by using the “Send to Back” option under Drawing Tools > Format.
This is how the heart looks after it has been sent to the back of the Text Box.
I copied my heart by right clicking on it and choosing “Copy.”
I duplicated it by right clicking on my document and clicking “Paste” four times. You can also use “Control V.”
I re-positioned and sent all of my hearts to the back, but they looked a little wonky….
So, I turned on the Gridlines by going to “View” and clicking the box next to “Gridlines.”
I was then able to position my hearts more evenly.
It’s hard for me to see when the Gridlines are on, so once I was done using them, I turned them off by unchecking the box next to Gridlines.
Finally, I used the “Shape Fill” and “Shape Outline” options to add color to the inside of my hearts and to the outlines. I also added two small hearts on either side of my month and year.
Since the 14th is Valentine’s Day, I added a small pink heart on that date, just for fun. Yep, I went a little heart crazy! 😉
There are so many different options that you can experiment with here, so take some time and play around with these steps!
Step 10: Creating a Place for Notes
You did it! You made it to the final step of this rather looooong tutorial!
But there’s one more thing I like to do to my calendars….
The final step I like to complete when creating a custom calendar in Word is to open up any empty calendar boxes to create a space for any notes I may need.
Start by highlighting a section of open boxes, then click on the small square in the bottom corner of the Table Tools > Design > Draw Borders box.
This opens up the “Borders and Shading” option window where you can make changes to your calendar borders (we explored these options in step #2 above, Changing Borders and Blocks).
In the section on the far right of the options window, click on the middle border to “erase” the borders from empty boxes. The “erased” lines will be light blue and dashed, but they won’t appear in a PDF or when you print your calendar.
Now, you have an open box in which to record any important notes related to your calendar or events!
Here’s what it looks like on my printed calendar.
If you’d like, you can open up any other empty sections.
And that’s it! You just created a custom calendar in Word!
My Final Calendar
To give you an idea of the finished product, and to show you that all of the work is worth it, here are a few photos of my final calendar!
These calendars are so versatile.
And I use them to help me stay organized and to plan so many different events and projects.
In fact, I’m using SIX of them to help me plan for a big launch coming in late summer! 🙂
Make sure to pin this tutorial, so that you can always find it when you need it!
If you found today’s post helpful, you might also enjoy these related posts.
Thanks for joining me today!