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Another DIY Engagement Announcement using Microsoft Word

This is part 2 in our series of DIY projects for those of you who recently got engaged. Just as in the last tutorial, we will be making photo engagement announcements using Microsoft Word (Windows Vista). Our previous one was pink, this one is brown and blue, and we will be using some different techniques and tools. To see larger versions of the screen shots, just click on them. They’ll open in a new window.

Wedding engagement announcements are sent to friends and family to let them know your big news, just like baby announcements. In the coming weeks, I will also post tutorials on how to make engagement announcements and engagement party invitations using Illustrator.

Also, this announcement could easily be turned into homemade printable wedding invitations. Just remove the photo and put the invitation wording in its place, perhaps using a couple of different fonts.

A Note About Vista Word
When using Vista, in order to make some of the adjustments to the photo, make sure that the document you’re working in is saved in the current Vista format (you’ll see a .docx extension). I have set the defaults in my Word application to save everything as Word 97-2003 documents (.doc) since .docx isn’t compatible with earlier versions of Word, or Macs. Working in the 97-2003 format also has other advantages such as the option to select all the pictures and textboxes at the same time, great for aligning them, or moving the entire design around on the sheet. However, there are limited special effects available when working in 97-2003 mode, so in order to play with the photo (see step 5), you need to save your file as a .docx document.

Today’s announcement looks like this:

Blue and Brown Engagement Announcements

I have sized it to 4.5×6.25, which will fit perfectly in a standard A6 envelope (but you can obviously make it any size you want).

1. In Word, go to “file” (i.e. the Windows symbol that replaces the old “File” menu) – New and under Templates, click on Invitations. This brings up a new menu on the right hand side. Click on Other Invitations. You’ll see the same layout in 4 different colors. You can choose any one you want of course, but I went with the blue and brown one.

InvitationTemplates

Click on the color you want, and click on Download. That will bring up a document that looks like this:

TemplateDocument

Click on the blue box on the right hand side and copy it (either by right clicking or pressing CNTRL+C). Open a new document (letter size is good) and paste the box here (by right clicking or pressing CNTRL+V). Right click on it, go to Text Wrapping and select In Front Of Text. Right click again and go to Size. Uncheck the Lock Aspect Ratio box, and in the height window, put in 6.25 and in the width 4.5. Click Close.

SizeBlueBox

2. Now, let’s add the text. Go to Insert – Text Box – Draw Text Box and draw a box anywhere in BlankTextboxyour document. It will most likely be filled with white, but that’s fine, we’ll fix it later. Select the font you want under the Home menu (you can change it later) and type in your text. I used GeoSlab703 Lt BT, 22p Bold for the top box and 14p bold for the bottom one. (If you want to use that font but don’t have it on your computer, read this post about adding fonts.) Click outside the textbox and go back to Insert and draw another text box for the text below the picture. Type in your text and click outside the box to deselect it.

3. To format the text boxes, right click on one of them, and go to Format Text Box. Under Colors and Lines, you want to make sure to select No Color and No Line. Repeat for the second one.

FormatTextbox

I also made the text color brown, and to do that, you want to select the text (i.e. highlight it with your cursor), right click, click on the A with a color bar underneath, go to More Colors and select the one in the bottom left hand corner for a nice, deep brown.

SelectTextColor

4. Now, let’s add your photo (I used a clip art picture). Go to Insert – Picture and locate your photo on your computer. It will most likely end up behind the blue box, so right click on it (the photo), go to Text Wrapping and select In Front Of Text. Right click again and go to Size. This time, you want o make sure that the Lock Aspect Ratio box is checked, and put in the size you want in either the height or width (the other side will change proportionately), I set my photo to a height of 2.89″ (but this is obviously totally up to you, whatever looks good is good). Click Close.

5. Drag the photo to where you want it to be on the blue box and, if you want to, add some extra layout features to it. I added a frame with a reflection on the bottom. To to this, select the photo and go to Picture Tools Format (it’s in the menu on top of your page). There you’ll see a line of frames and if you click on the down arrow next to them, you’ll get a whole menu of different looks. Hover over each with your mouse, and you’ll see the effect on your photo. Select the one you like, and if you want to play with it even more, try all the different options on either side of the frames. There is an endless variety of shapes and special effects to choose from.

PictureTools

6. Make sure everything is aligned by selecting the photo and blue box and go to Picture Tools – Align and click on Align Center. Next, select the two text boxes and go to Text Box Tools – Align – Align Center. Now you just have to eyeball it and use the arrow keys to move the text so that it is lined up with the photo. (Why, oh why, did they set Vista up this way?). That’s it, you’re done! Your own engagement announcement cards!

You can fit two of these cards on one sheet of 8.5×11, and then all you need to do is trim them to size and mail them out. If you prefer to send them as postcards, you could get a rubber stamp with a postcard back and just stamp the back of each card.

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