Friday, April 18, 2008

Newsletters: How To

Thanks for voting yesterday! A couple of you asked about making the newsletters - so let's see how well I can do at explaining how I keep this manageable!

First of all, it started with Emily - her newsletter is called the Emily Edition. I set up an e-mail list to everyone who I thought would want to receive it and have added/subtracted since then. This makes it super easy to keep track and all I have to do is click the Emily Edition list and it inserts ALL the e-mail addresses. This goes out to lots of people, so this is a huge time saver!

Next, I have a folder in Microsoft Word for each child's newsletters and then have it divided by year, so it goes like this:

Emily Edition:

Rachel Review:

Samuel Sentinel:

Within the folders, I simply name the file whatever the date is I am sending it out: 04-16-08.

When I go to do the next newsletter, I open the one I last sent out and just delete out the pictures and change the date, volume number. This makes it easy to format because all of that is already done and saved over from time to time. Therefore, you only have to set it up one time. Here begins my speech about using SAVE AS instead of SAVE! If you just hit save when you do this the way I am explaining, you will lose the last newsletter - please, please use SAVE AS to rename the newsletter for the next time!

Here is an example: (click to enlarge any of the photos in this post)

Open last newsletter:
Change details and delete pictures, I leave the text as is for now:
Next, I go through all of our photos and choose which ones I want to use. I do this by browsing through them using Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. When I am on a photo I want to use, I right click and select "Open With" and then choose "Microsoft Photo Editor." The purpose for this is to reduce the size of the photo or your newsletters will be so humongous that no one's e-mail will be able to hold them (especially when sending three at a time like me!)

So, now that you are in Microsoft Photo Editor, you go up to Image and then Resize. I usually change the size to about half of whatever it currently is, though even smaller would probably work. Now, this is VERY important - and yes, I learned it the hard way. When you save the picture that has been resized, you need to use SAVE AS! I just add the word "small" to the end of the file name so I can differentiate easily between the edited photo and the original. If you don't do this step - all your pix will be small and if you need 4x6's or to enlarge them, they will be grainy and not good quality. TRUST ME - please use SAVE AS!!!!! Ok, moving on from my soap box! :)

After you have gone through and re-sized the photos you want to use, go back to your Word document.

Here are the steps for adding pictures to your Word file:

Choose Insert
Choose Picture
Choose From File
Now, you can select a photo from your computer to add. This is where adding the word "small" comes in handy, because you can find these easily and don't need to sort through them again! So, choose a photo.
When the photo is in your document, right click on it and choose Format Picture. Then choose Layout. Next, click the box that says Behind Text and click Ok. This will allow you to move the photo anywhere and re-size it easily. It is MUCH easier to make this work if you do this step!

Repeat the above steps to insert all your photos. Now, just arrange them around a middle open space. I use a text box to insert my text as it is easy to move from time to time if I want to move it a little to accommodate photos.

Now, it is time to insert your text. I use the typeover function and it just erases last time's news and adds the new stuff.

Ok, when you are all done - save the entire thing. Now, I used to just send these as attachments from Word - but I will tell you that it is a pain for the recipient in some cases. So, we switched to PDF and it is SO much easier!

Here are all three of the newsletters I sent out this week, to give you a feel for each one:

Emily Edition:
Rachel Review:Samuel Sentinel:
To get your file in PDF format, you need to use Adobe Acrobat or Cute PDF Writer. We use Cute PDF because it is a free download. From my document in Word, I simply choose Print and then under printer options, choose Cute PDF Writer. I send these PDF files via e-mail to our list.

I hope I have not made this sound impossibly hard - I wanted to try to think of every detail so you could just print this out and let it walk you through how to do it. If you have questions, please leave them here and I'll do my best to help. Now that I have this established, I can do all three newsletters in about 45 minutes total.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing how to do this, those newsletters are precious!
Kristyn in MD

Wendi said...

Thank you for sharing. I am not very tech-nical so I will see if hubby can sit down with me this weekend and make this work. I have been terrible with my scrapbooking and think this might be a great solution. Such a wonderful idea and I know my family would love these!

~katie~ said...


Thanks so much for sharing about your newsletters for the children. They fashion a modern day "baby book" and go way beyond!! I'm thoroughly impressed at the organization and what a blessing these will be in the years to come. Even better, they are stored on the computer, so multiple copies (back-ups) can be saved, unlike traditional albums that can yellow and fade. I think this is by far the most organized, creative way to keep track of childhood memories with pictures and all. Great idea! I'm sure it will bless many ladies searching for ways to keep track of their children's precious memories. I have been very *overwhelmed* in this area ~ so many pictures to sort through. I'm getting ideas already....thanks!

Leah said...

Great tips, Monica. Thanks for sharing them! I also use the Cute PDF Writer - what a blessing that freebie has been at times! =)

Jenny said...

I love this idea! Thank you for sharing.

Rebecca said...

What a great thing to do for family & friends! It's extremely thoughtful of you!