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Excel's best tricks: How to make a calendar

JD Sartain | July 9, 2015
So, what else can Excel do? People ask this question all the time. The answer is "almost anything."

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So, what else can Excel do? People ask this question all the time. The answer is "almost anything." Excel has evolved into one of the most versatile programs available. In addition to spreadsheets that calculate everything, it's also a database, a programming tool, a graphics program with charts, tables, drawing tools, photos, clipart, and even layout abilities, and it's a limited, but functioning, word processor (with a spell checker, Thesaurus, grammar tools, research capabilities, translation functions, and more).

With its graphic features, you can create anything from a detailed drawing to an edited photo. You can make calendars, note pads, list pads, schedules, grid/graph paper, greeting cards, business cards, etc. If you're wondering why anyone would use Excel over programs such as Photoshop and/or Illustrator, the answer is simple. Not everyone has access to graphics and/or photo-editing software. And, although Windows includes PC Paint as an Accessory program, it's actually easier--in many cases--to use Excel for some projects. This week, a calendar; next week, note pads and lists. After that, we'll tackle several other projects for those who prefer to use Excel for graphics.

How to start your calendar

Open a blank worksheet. Highlight Columns A through G, then roll your cursor down to extend the highlight through Row 7, making the range A1 through G7. From the Home tab, select the Cells group, and click Format > Column Width. Type 18 in the Column Width dialog box, then click OK. With the range still highlighted, select the Cells group, and click Format > Row Height. Type 75 in the Row Height dialog box, and click OK. Move your cursor to the Home position, A1. Change the Row Height to 118. Cursor down to A2 and change the Row Height to 30.

Highlight the range A1 through G7 again. Select the Page Layout tab, choose Orientation from the Page Setup group, and click Landscape. Next, click Margins from the same tab and group, and select Custom Margins from the list. The Margins tab in the Page Setup window appears. Press the Tab key once, and your cursor moves to the first setting: Top.

TIP: It's so much easier and faster to just tab and type through these settings, rather than trying to highlight each field box and cursor the up/down arrows.

In the Top field box, type .25, then press the Tab key and your cursor moves to Bottom. Enter .25, press the Tab key, cursor moves to the Left field box. Enter .25, Tab to the Right field box, enter .25. Press the Tab key, cursor moves up to Header, enter 0. Then tab again down to Footer, and enter 0. Press Tab again, and the cursor moves to the Center on Page panel. Check both Horizontally and Vertically, then click OK.


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