How to make a calendar with a picture?

by mihgasper

Making a calendar with a picture is easy. You need a table for dates in the chosen week, month, or year, and a picture. A free program to put both together can come handy too.

Calendars are indispensable for planning but we can't deny their decorative effect on everybody who sees them too. So a calendar with a picture is an obvious choice.

We can look at them as kind of windows with sometimes truly spectacular views and a useful table with dates (sometimes with additional space for notes) as a bonus. Or maybe a to-do list with an inspiring image on the top? In any case, calendars with pictures are a popular choice for most of us.

But how can we make one? What tools and skills do we need for such a project?

I'll show you a simple way to make a calendar with a lovely picture with completely free tools and resources, yet with a professional-looking result. Please, be careful, the devil is, like always, in the details.

We need some kind of table

This means lines, numbers, and words, or at least acronyms

There are numerous ways to make a monthly or yearly table. Spreadsheet software like MS Excel is a popular choice. Writing programs like MS Word can do that too. And dozens of drawing programs and so on and on.

Personalized calendars are more and more popular

My choice is LibreOffice package with LibreOffice Calc (free and open-source alternative to MS Excel) for making a table and LibreOffice Writer (free and open-source alternative to MS Word) in my case used only for conversion of the table to desired graphic format.

example-for-calendar-table

There is a learning curve to making a table, but it should not be too much work even for beginners. I believe it's worth investing a couple of hours in LibreOffice because with this package you get everything MS Office offers but completely free! Yes, thousands of free fonts are included.

If you don't want to learn and prefer quick results, there are also many free calendar templates for LibreOfice available. In this case, you'll be limited to design, language, typography, etc., yet probably satisfied to a reasonable extent.

january-astro-calendar

If you don't want to use LibreOffice, use any other program, where you can make a table (many are available online, so you don't even have to install anything and simply create something useful on the go, or just download an already-made table from one of the numerous free graphic resources.

Yes, you need a free graphic resource

Free images work great

If not for the table, you'll need one for a photo, an illustration, or another kind of image that will complement your table. While a table with dates is definitely enough for a useful calendar, it will undoubtedly look way better with pictures.

photo-of-cute-puppy

My go-to address for photos is always Pixabay. It's not just a great depository of impressive photos in high quality, it's also very useful due to its copyright policy. All images downloaded from Pixabay are free, they can be used for anything you want (except some illegal activities), and you don't have to worry about crediting the author (you are still encouraged to do that). You don't have to count the number of visitors to your page, report buyers of your calendars with pics, and similar technical stuff that can often destroy small businesses even before any kind of profit is made.

You have to put a table and chosen graphic together

We want a calendar with a picture, remember?

LibreOffice offers many ways to combine table(s) and picture(s) in Calc, Writer, or Draw but I prefer to use Inkscape. This is another free and open-source alternative to otherwise very powerful, very user-friendly (I admit, more than Inkscape), and very expensive Adobe Illustrator (which, by the way, is available through subscription only, what means you can't even buy it and deal with the costs once and for all).

Inkscape is way more demanding for beginners than LibreOffice programs but there are tons of learning materials on YouTube and for a simple project like making a calendar with a picture, you'll probably know enough in a couple of hours. Basically, you just have to import the table and the picture and then add the tile (Calendar 2023, for instance). All three elements should be appropriately formatted, where Inkscape's ability to resize the elements could play a huge part, and finally aligned due to your preferences (I like elements to be centered).

free-printable-2023-calendar
free-printable-2023-calendar

Beware of the dimensions

Your final design, if any good, will be eventually printed on paper. This means you'll have to format the file with your calendar to fit (in most cases) to A4 or letter format (first for European, the second for USA standard, and no, they are not the same, although quite similar).

I mostly use the format with 2100 pixels width and 3100 pixels height for vertical and vice versa for horizontal designs.

You can check some of them here:

https://mycalendarland.com/calendar/yearly-calendars/free-printable-calendars-yearly

Such formats make very large files and if you want to present them on a web page, you'll have to resolve several technical problems. You'll have to know a bit about different graphic formats and compression methods. You'll also have to find a good compromise between speed and quality, or, if you want, resolve an interesting dilemma - would you like to make happy your visitors or Google bots?

Will you provide speed or quality?

Who can resist a cute puppy on the calendar?
Updated: 12/20/2022, mihgasper
 
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Do you make your own calendars or just buy them?

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mihgasper on 12/22/2022

Well, this article is about making a calendar, not about making dozens of calendars which are offered through web pages (see example of such page above).
Yes, before you decide to put up such page, you need to understand the basic difference between GIF, JPG, PNG, SVG and other graphic formats. You should be able to convert between them, know how to resize each graphic file, know a bit about most useful formats for desktop computers and mobile devices, know how to compress the files where the compression is possible and what prize you pay with your decision (typically faster loading files come with less ressolution).

mihgasper on 12/22/2022

No, I believe, everybody, especially with some previous knowledge of MS Office, can become pretty self-reliant in LibreOffice in a few minutes. Inkscape is a different kind of beast, because it's a graphic program aiming at graphic designers.
Anyway, to make a simple calendar, you just need the basic knowledge of dealing with files and graphic elements (import, export, pick an element, move it, resize it). Even without tutorials anybody can learn it through trial-and-error method. Some setbacks should be expected at a bit more demanding tasks like centering/aligning elements and you'll probably notice it's not so user-friendly when you export a file and later you can't find it (warning - be focused before you press enter).

DerdriuMarriner on 12/21/2022

The computer crashed before I asked my other question regarding learning materials.

The fourth paragraph to your subheading Beware of the dimensions indicates that compression methods, graphic formats and quality versus speed compromises are vital concerns.

Would there be that quantity of quality learning materials for improving extant knowledge, or self-instructing, on the above-mentioned concerns?

DerdriuMarriner on 12/21/2022

The second paragraph under your subheading You have to put a table and chosen graphic together indicates that "Inkscape is way more demanding for beginners than LibreOffice programs but there are tons of learning materials on YouTube and for a simple project like making a calendar with a picture, you'll probably know enough in a couple of hours."

Would that quantity of quality learning materials also apply to LibreOffice?

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