Print-It-Yourself Guide for Printable Invitations and Announcements
So you've decided to use your laser or inkjet printer to print your baby invitations or announcements. With Baby Cachet's DIY printable invitations, your work is already half done because there's no need to find the right card stock, embellishments, or other card-making supplies. Our printable invites come complete with everything you need and, in most cases, are fully assembled except for the occasional requirement to apply a double-sided tape. Best of all, you don't have to design the card. Each invitation has been professionally designed and preprinted with a specific theme to match your special occasion. So all that's left to do is to print your personalized text onto the card, mail it, and enjoy the compliments.
So what's involved in printing your personalized text? We've outline the eight general steps below. You'll need the following materials before getting started:
- Your Baby Cachet printable baby announcements or invitations
- A few sheets of 8.5" x 11" white paper
- Microsoft Word (click here to learn about other software you can use to print your cards)
- A ruler, pen, and pair of scissors
While these steps are written specifically for Microsoft Word 2000 on a PC, they can still serve as a useful guide if you're using a Mac, another version of Microsoft Word, or another application to layout your personalized text.
Before you dive in, take a moment and consider the advantages and disadvantages to printing your own baby stationery. Then if you feel up to the challenge, make sure you get to know your printer before you print and learn about which printer (top-feed vs. bottom-feed, laser vs. inkjet) works best for home printing as well as how to determine if a card stock is compatible with your printer.
Print Your Own Invitations in 8 Easy Steps
Step 1: Measure card
First, you'll need to measure your invitation and note the width and height of the card. If the card is folded, be sure to open it and measure the unfolded dimensions. If the card has multiple pieces, measure the piece that will be printed with your personalized text.
Step 2: Prepare test sheets
Cut the 8.5" x 11" sheets of paper to the same dimensions as your invitation card. Mark an "X" on each sheet and place them in your printer with all the X's facing the same direction (i.e., all faced up or down). These sheets will be used as test sheets and the X's will help you verify on which side of the paper your printer printed your personalized text.
Step 3: Set card size
Open Microsoft Word. Select File, then Page Setup. Under the Paper Size tab, select "Custom size" from the drop-down menu for the Paper size and enter the Width and Height of your card.
Step 4: Set card orientation
In the same Paper Size tab, select the Orientation of your card. Choose Portrait if your card is tall and narrow. Choose Landscape if it is wide and short. Make sure your test sheets are placed in the printer in the same orientation.
If your invitation is not top-folded and you'd like your personalized text to be centered vertically on the card, go to the Layout tab and select "Center" in the drop-down menu for Vertical alignment.
Step 5: Set card margins
Under the Margins tab of the Page Setup dialog box, set the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right margins of your card. If your invitation card has a preprinted border, motif, or other design elements around the perimeter make sure the margins are large enough to prevent your personalized text from printing over the preprinted design. With a ruler, measure from the edge of the card to the inside of the preprinted design, and then set the margins according to the measurements. The space inside the four margins is defined as the print area.
Select OK to close the Page Setup dialog box. Save your template if you haven't done so by going to File then Save or Save As.
Step 6: Enter personalized text
Enter your personalized text exactly as you'd like it to appear on the announcement or invitation. If you'd like to change typeface (font), font style, font size, or font color, select the text and go to Format, then Font and make the desired selection (or you can use the buttons on your toolbars). In the Font dialog box you can also add special effects such as italics, bold, underline, shadows, etc. If you'd like to change the alignment, select the text and use the following short-cut keys:
- "Ctrl + E" to center
- "Control + L" to left justify
- "Ctrl + R" to right justify
Or you can go to Format, then Paragraph where you can change line spacing as well as Alignment. Once you're done with entering and formatting your text, Save your template again.
For tips on wording and etiquette for your announcement or invitation, visit our wording ideas and etiquette guide.
Step 7: Print test sheets
Once your personalized text has been entered, print a sample using one of the test sheets. Go to File and select Print. Click Properties. Under the Paper tab, choose "Custom" for the paper size and enter the same paper dimensions you specified in Step 3.
Place this printed test sheet over one of the invites and make sure that your personalized text is aligned and does not overlap with the preprinted design on the card. Make adjustments as necessary and reprint on fresh test sheets until you are satisfied with the alignment of your personalized text.
Note: If you are using Windows XP / NT / 2000, chances are "Custom" is not an option for paper size that appears under the Paper tab when you go to print. In other words, even though you can specify a custom paper size in Microsoft Word, your printer does not recognize that custom paper size. This is because the printer drivers for Windows XP / NT / 2000 do not, by default, offer any custom paper sizes as in Windows 95 / 98 / ME.
To correct this problem, first make sure you have the latest driver for your specific printer. Otherwise, download it from the manufacturer's website. Regardless of driver, certain printers may not permit you to set your paper to a custom size and will restrict you to one of several standard paper sizes such as 8.5" x 11" (letter), 8.5" x 14" (legal), and so on. Most Hewlett-Packard and Epson printers have custom paper size capability.
If installing the latest driver still does not allow you to specify a custom paper size, then you can create your own custom paper size at the operating system level by using the following procedure: Open the Control Panel and then the Printers folder. Click File and then select the Server Properties option. This will bring up the Print Server Property dialog box. Check on "Create a New Form" in the Forms tab. Give the form a new name such as "Custom 4x6". Enter the desired Paper size, which should be the same as the card size specified in Step 3. Click the "Save Form" button, and then OK. Now you should be able to select that custom paper size when you print.
If this remedy still does not resolve the problem, then you will have to layout your invitation on an 8.5" x 11" paper size in Microsoft Word and position your text so that it falls correctly onto the actual card. This means that in Step 3 you will need to set your paper size to "Letter" and in Step 5 you will need to experiment with different margins to position your text where you want it on the card. You may also want to use an 8.5" x 11" test sheet, rather than one cut to the size of the card, to initially determine if your printer begins printing at the left or right and top or bottom of the sheet.
Step 8: Print your invitations
Based on which side (X or no X) of the test sheets your personalized text was printed, determine whether you should place your invitation cards face up or down in your printer. For your first attempt with actual card stock, print out one card, perform a quick check, and if it is correct, continue printing. We suggest printing small batches of about 10 cards at a time and checking the print quality after each batch. Once you're done, congratulate yourself and admire your own masterpiece!
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