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 How To: Excel for Signs
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Marken
Fireman



Posted - 03/05/2006 :  9:55:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Since many of you showed interest in using Excel to make signs, I'm going to put together a tutorial to help you get started.

Excel is a very versatile program that can be used for numerous applications. It's fairly easy to use once you learn how to navigate the program and use it's various options.

If you have any questions along the way please feel free to ask them. I'll help as much as I can.

Lesson 1

The first thing I'm going to teach you is to resize the work cells so they are close to HO scale. They won't be exact, but very close.

Open the workbook by clicking start, programs, Microsoft Excel. I'm currently using Excel 97.
This is what you should see when the program opens.



Each rectangle you see on the screen is called a work cell. They are labeled A, B, C etc along the top and 1, 2, 3 etc. along the left side. Each page is called a work sheet and there are three of them when you open a new work book.


Work cell A1 will be highlighted when you first open the work book. The first thing you need to do is left click on it and hold the mouse button down. Drag the mouse to the right. As you do the cells will become highlighted. Keep on going until you get to column AZ. Then while watching the numbers on the left side of the screen, drag the mouse down until you reach line 100. You can then release the mouse button but the cells will remain highlighted as seen below.



Now, at the top of the page, click Format, Row Height and change the number to 9 and click OK.
Next, click on Format, Row Width and change the number to 1. Click OK. Your worksheet should look like the screen below.



What we have done is change each cell to represent an area of 12"x12" in HO scale.

Now we can save our work book to whatever we wish to name it and where we want to keep it. Click on File at the top of the page, save as, and rename the book Signs.xls and choose which folder you wish to save it in and click save. (I've created a separate folder named Signs on my E drive and will keep it there)

That's it for lesson 1. If you have any questions, please ask.

In memory of Mike Chambers

Country: USA | Posts: 2972

Dutchman
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/05/2006 :  10:02:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ken,
Thanks for getting this started. I will be following along.


Bruce

Country: USA | Posts: 32064 Go to Top of Page

Tabooma County Rwy
Fireman



Posted - 03/05/2006 :  10:08:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ooo boy (rubbing hands together gleefully), I'll be eating this up myself!


Country: USA | Posts: 4630 Go to Top of Page

Jim T
Fireman



Posted - 03/05/2006 :  10:43:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK Ken, I've got it so far. This is going to be good.

Jim



Country: USA | Posts: 1188 Go to Top of Page

AVRR-PA
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/05/2006 :  11:05:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit AVRR-PA's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi, Ken --

I'm trying to follow along with a slightly different program -- Corel Quattro Pro. I won't torment you with questions that are irrelevant to everyone else, but...what units are you using when you set column height and width? Inches?

Thanks,

Don Reed
Pittsburgh



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Dreamweaver
Crew Chief



Posted - 03/05/2006 :  11:40:11 PM  Show Profile  Send Dreamweaver a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Ken this is what my screen looked like after I did what you said. Did I do something wrong.




Country: USA | Posts: 864 Go to Top of Page

Tim Kerkhoff
Fireman



Posted - 03/06/2006 :  01:41:24 AM  Show Profile  Send Tim Kerkhoff a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Ken,

I have the same thing that Mike J has. I think it has to do with our screen resolution. Plus I am working on a laptop that is a wide view type monitor. My little boxes that were highlighted appear to be perfectly square. I think we are ok.

If not you need to let us know.



Country: USA | Posts: 5879 Go to Top of Page

Tim Kerkhoff
Fireman



Posted - 03/06/2006 :  01:46:34 AM  Show Profile  Send Tim Kerkhoff a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Ken and Mike,

I changed my screen resolution to 800x600 and I am now close to the size you have on your screen. Mike, change your screen resolution and see if that helps.
If I understand, I don't think you need to really change anything, but your screen will not match Ken's unless you do. The main thing is getting the 12x12 cell. Is that correct Ken?



Country: USA | Posts: 5879 Go to Top of Page

LVRALPH
Fireman



Posted - 03/06/2006 :  06:08:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ken, good stuff. Watching with glee on this!


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Rick
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/06/2006 :  06:14:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ken, thanks for putting this together. Looking forward to the next step.


Country: USA | Posts: 23315 Go to Top of Page

Marken
Fireman



Posted - 03/06/2006 :  06:47:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Guys,

I have my monitor set at 800x600 (old eyes) What you need to do is to keep dragging the mouse to the right until you get to column CZ and then set the cell height and width as we did above.

You can also go down the page past line 100 if you wish and do as above.

Your full work sheet will then appear as mine. Once we get some signs made we can adjust everything as we go.

Tim, you are correct. Cell size is important.



In memory of Mike Chambers

Edited by - Marken on 03/06/2006 06:48:50 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 2972 Go to Top of Page

railphotog
Fireman



Posted - 03/06/2006 :  07:46:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit railphotog's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nothing really to do with Excel, but I have an older freebie copy of Print Shop 6.0 that came with a package of Avery labels. It has all kinds of features for making signs, among other things- drop shadows, outlines, any colors, resizing to any size, placing images anywhere on a page, on top of others, etc.

I've looked at the idea of upgrading this program - I think they are now up to version 20-25 or so, but the description on the box just shows all kinds of bells and whistles that I can probably do without. I know this doesn't help much in this thread, just wanted to let everyone know there are alternatives to Excel.


Bob Boudreau
My model railroad photography website:
http://sites.google.com/site/railphotog/

Country: Canada | Posts: 4027 Go to Top of Page

jerryglow
Engine Wiper



Posted - 03/06/2006 :  08:57:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit jerryglow's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm a firm believer and longtime used of CorelDraw for layout such as this. I also use it to make artwork for decals both for myself on an ALPS and occasionally for Oddballs. Older versions of this program can be picked up very reasonable and should have all (more than) the features you'll need. It really lets you do some professional layout and as a plus outputs well to devices like a vinyl cutter which I've used to make masks for true painted on signs. I even used it to send to a CNC cutter to make a lampost nameplate a miniature of which appears here.




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wvrr
Fireman



Posted - 03/06/2006 :  09:44:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit wvrr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ken,

Here's a helpful tip for you....If you press Alt-Print Screen, it will create a screen image of the active program that you can paste into a document, photo editor, etc. Saves you from digging out the camera!

Your tutorial is pretty cool, so far!

Chuck



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Skeeterbait
Section Hand

Posted - 03/06/2006 :  09:48:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You wrote:
"Next, click on Format, Row Width and change the number to 1. Click OK. Your worksheet should look like the screen below."

On my version it's called COLUMN width instead of row width. This is something that regular users of Excel could figure out easily, but it could stop a beginner dead in his tracks right at the git-go.

Ken Olson



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Marken
Fireman



Posted - 03/06/2006 :  11:05:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Ken. It should be column width instead of row width.

I'll have to change it when I get home.


In memory of Mike Chambers

Country: USA | Posts: 2972 Go to Top of Page
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