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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."

With the area still highlighted, click Print Area > Set Print Area from the same tab and group. It looks like nothing happened, but press the Home key once, and notice the solid (or dotted) line around the area you just selected. This is the area of your spreadsheet that Excel prints, as long as you don't change the Print Area to something else. Highlight a new area: A2 through G7. Click the Borders button in the Fonts group, under the Home tab, then choose All Borders from the drop-down list.

Enter the days of the week in Row 2 (A2:G2), center horizontally and vertically, then enter the days of the current month on the calendar. Next, merge the top cells into one. Highlight Row A1 through G1, then select Merge & Center from the Merge button under the Home tab, Alignment group. Now, let's add a fancy title (June 2015). Click Insert > Text > WordArt and choose a style for your text , then type June 2015 in the field box. 

If you'd prefer a more ornate month and year, try some clipart. Delete the WordArt, then select Insert > Illustrations > Online Pictures, and type June in the search box. Choose an image for the title, then size to fit. Next, add some clipart images to decorate your calendar. Select Insert > Illustrations > Online Pictures again, type Summer in the search box, then choose from the filtered selection. Size to fit in the space provided. Note: Sizing down is usually no problem, but enlarging (or sizing up) will likely result in a blurred image. 

If you happen to select an image with unwanted areas, such as a picture with the wrong year, you can crop the image to remove that element, but only if it's standing alone beside a border. First, the image must be selected so the Picture Tools/Format menus are displayed. Select Format > Crop > Crop. Notice the black "handles" around the image. Put your mouse cursor on one of the handles, hold down the left mouse button, and then slide the handle up, down, or over to crop out the unwanted sections. When satisfied, click anywhere outside the image borders and the image is cropped.

Next, size and place. But the background is blue, and you want a transparent background. No problem. Select the image, (the Picture Tools/Format menus appear). Choose Format > Remove Background > Mark Areas to Keep. Use the handles on the image to adjust the border around the parts of the picture you want to keep. Since you've already cropped it, just stretch the borders towards the center, then click outside the image area and it's done. The background is transparent, the wrong year is cropped out, and it's sized to fit in the header space above your calendar.


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