The best way to do things is to do what works for you. And if you don’t have fancy software, Adobe Illustrator, or even photoshop, you can always create graphics the semi-old-fashioned way, using Microsoft WORD.
Yes! It’s true.
Word isn’t really intended as a “graphics” program but it’s pretty straight-forward and equally frustrating since the program does have limitations. For instance, you can’t stretch or squeeze a font, flip images, place them at an angle, or many other things. Some resources that are good for that are:
picnik (easy to use photo site)
Inkscape (downloadable software)
But if you’re looking for the quick and simple method you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’ll create this header for the Design My Header Contest:
Let’s get started.
Your version of WORD might be slightly different than mine (if you like nitty gritty details, my version is Word for MAC: 12.2.0) But whatever version you have, the concepts are similar.
- Start by opening a new document.
- When making headers, set-up the document as “landscape”, so you can create a very wide image.
- To create graphics we’ll use layers of boxes and shapes, group them together, and then right-click on the whole thing and “save as picture”. Here are the details…..
- Grab a shape for your image. In the toolbox (which usually pops up to the right of your document–and is also located at the top toolbar), click on the object palette and you’ll see tons of shape options. I typically use the first two–the rectangle or the rounded rectangle.
- Click on the shape you want, then go to the document and click/drag to make the shape. Make the shape as wide as possible on your document, so the image is the highest quality possible.
And it looks like this:
Let’s format and customize the box.
- First, get rid of the shadow. I don’t care for how the shadow looks and it affects the font as well. So just uncheck that box down there:
- Choose a color for the border, a color for the inside of the box, or you can insert a photo into the box:
I chose light blue. And now the box looks like this:
But I don’t really like that shade of blue…or any of the colors they have listed. So let’s customize that too.
- Click on “more colors”" and a color wheel pops up.
- Select the exact shade you want from the color wheel. There are infinite shades to choose from.
Okay, it’s looking better.
Now let’s add text to the image.
- RIGHT-click on your mouse and select “add text”
- Use the toolbox to the right to pick your font type, size, and color. I used Century Gothic.
Now, a major drawback with WORD, is that you can’t move the text around very easily inside the box, unless you place the text inside another layer….meaning…..unless you place it in another image/box, and then make that box transparent. Here’s what you do:
- Select another image.
- Format it so that there is NO shadow, NO border, and NO fill. This makes the box totally see-through. (btw, side-note here….if you want to make your layer partially transparent–so you can see a photo behind it, etc–select a fill color for the box and then use the transparency slider to vary the opacity. But that’s for another day).
Okay, now you have another layer. RIGHT-click to “add text” and place the words inside the new box:
Now you can move that box around and place the words wherever you like…almost.
I wish the individual letters were a bit closer together. But in WORD, I’m limited with the font size and can’t squish them closer. So let’s cheat it.
- Just as you created the layered box above, create 4 individual transparent boxes–one for each letter and smash them as close as you like:
TIP: You can always cheat the letters even more by placing your cursor in front of a letter, selecting a very small font size (such as 5), and then hitting the spacebar a few times. I also do this with the Return key if I want to move something up or down just slightly.
- To group the letters together, hold the Shift key down and click on each image to select them all, then RIGHT-click, and select “group”. Now you can move the letters around as one complete image.
And there you go. Big letters, close together.
But I’m not done yet. It needs something more.
Let’s add another layer in there.
- Pull the text box out of the image.
- Select another rounded rectangle and center it inside the original image.
- Format the box to be white, without a border (I also removed the border from the outer box).
Now, with WORD, you’re also limited to the order in which you’ve created things. Meaning….since I created the transparent box before this new white box, I can’t pull the text box up on top of the white, or the white box will cover it. WORD accepts images in the order you create them–with the newest layer on top. You can see that here:
So…simply click on the text box (the one that says “MADE”), hit copy and then paste and now you’ve created a newer version of the box. Now you can easily pull it up over the white box and the letters will show up.
- Then, as we did above, hold the Shift key down and click on all the layers of your image (all the boxes). When they’re all selected, RIGHT-click and select “group”. You have one complete image now!
- RIGHT-click and hit “save as picture” and your image will be saved as a png file (portable network graphics). Your computer and software programs will recognize the file in a similar way as a jpg. Or, you can always import it into your photo software (such as iPhoto on my Mac) and then export it again as a jpg.
Okay, one last step!
Here’s what it looks like when I import the image into iPhoto. When we created the image in WORD, one of the image layers extended above the blue border image….so there’s a bit of white space at the top. Let’s get rid of that:
I simply cropped it off in iPhoto and now I have a header!
Of course when all was said and done, I thought it needed one more touch.
So I added another text box to the top:
And we’re done!
The image quality is not as great as other programs, which is a drawback to WORD. But the finished header size (if you make it as wide as a landscape document) is large enough for the top of my blog.
- To place it on the top of your blog in Blogger, click on Design, and “edit” under the header. Then add the image!
Here’s one more idea:
- To create the graphic/button for the contest, I created many boxes in varying shades of the same color, grouped them all together, then saved as a picture.
- Next, I created a new image–using a circle shape–and inserted the image above as a picture (rather than selecting a color). I added many layers of text boxes, grouped them together, and there you go!
There are many, many other options and tweaks you can do in WORD.
So have fun designing and exploring!