Brook Gentlestream
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I don't know how to use Microsoft Publisher.
That being said, I've found an insanely long round-about way of printing nine cards to a page in Microsoft Publisher. I'm sure someone who knows the program may know a better way to do it, but I don't, and this works for me every time.

If you want to use this guide, you'll need to print this and have it handy when trying to print your cards, as its a long process, especially the first time you do it.

Before starting this process, create a blank Microsoft Access or other database file and have it in your Desktop or somewhere you'll remember.

---



Preparation
If you click on File-->New, you will get a lot of page options.
I like to go to Business Cards and click on "Blank Sizes".
Click on the arrow next to one of them and select "Duplicate".
Modify the Width and the Height and rename the template something like "Playing cards" or something.
The sizes I use are 2.5" by 3.5"
Once you have created this design, you never need to do it again. For now on, you can click File-->New, then go to Business Cards, then find your Playing Cards in the Blank Design area. Then just click "Create" at the bottom right corner of the screen.


Working with Cards
Now you should see a blank playing card in front of you.
You can click on the lines, circles, squares, and arrows at the left side of the screen to create your playing card template.
There's also a text box button to enter all your information.

If you do not see these drawing buttons anywhere, you will need to go into the View menu at the top of the screen, scroll down to Toolbars, and in the menu, make sure Objects is selected.

Before you go too crazy with designing, I want to point out that this is only a single playing card. Notice the "1" at the bottom of the screen? This is page 1. You can right-click on that "1" to get some nifty options, most notably "Duplicate page". Using this, its easy to create a quick template than duplicate it however many times you need to before entering your final information. I like to put in all the text boxes and text and duplicate the dummy information, then just delete info and add info as I need to.

Once you are ready and you have several hundred custom pages of wonderous material, you will likely want to print these in a 3x3 grid. I wish you the best of luck. I'm not quite sure how its supposed to be done, but I've come up with a system that works for me. It's a bit long, but it gets the job done.


Printing (sort of)

First of all, you will want to make sure the Task Pane is showing on the left of the screen. If you're not sure what that is, go into View at the top of the menu, scroll down to Toolbars, and in the menu that opens, make sure Task Pane is selected.

At the top of the Task Pane will be a title, like Format Publication, Page Options, or any number of other screens. Clicking on this title opens up a drop-down menu so that you can switch to a different screen. The screen that we want is "Mail Merge."

Ignore all that weird stuff you see, and skip down to where it says "Step 1 of 3" --> Next: Create or connect to a recippient list. Go ahead and click on that. (You may have to click a little arrow at the botom to scroll all the way down.) This will open up the Select Date Source screen.

I keep a data source handy called "Blank" just for this. It can be an Access file or possibly an Excel file. Go ahead and go create one now. Okay, not use that file for the "Select Data Source". It doesn't have to have any actual information in it.

The "Mail Merge Recipients" window should open. In theory, this is where we sift through all the data in our data source and decide which of it we'll be using. We're just going to say to use the blank file (which should already by default be selected) and just click OK to get out of here.

Yay, now we're back to our page. In theory there's more stuff to do if we were actually mail merging but we're not, so we're just going to skip to the bottom of the task pane and click on "Step 2 of 3 --> Next: Create merged publication.

Now, we have some "Create merged publications" options. Don't click on print. Click on "Merge to a new publication", which should be the second option on the screen.

Now we have create a brand new temporary unnamed file with all your card information. Why? I don't know, just go with it.

Don't click on print. Click on "Prepare for commercial printing".

Now, believe it or not, we're at the screen where we really want to be. See where it says Commercial Press at the top? Click on that drop-down and select "High Quality Printing". Now click on the "Printing Options..." button beneath it.

Finally, you should see some useful page options. The first two are uninteresting: "One page per sheet" or "Multiple copies per sheet". It's the third one that interests us, "Multiple Pages per Sheet". Remember, each page or copy is ONE of your cards, so multiple cards on every page is a good thing! Clicking on that should show you a picture of a page with 9 cards on it.

Although its not strictly necessary, I recommend adjusting the values at the bottom so that there is a slight seperation between each card. My preffered numbers are -
Start Row: 1 Side Margin: 0.2" Horizontal Gap: 0.3"
Start Column: 1 Top Margin: 0.10 Vertical Gap: 0.15

Click on OK to close the printing options screen.

Now, go all the way to the bottom of the Task Pane (on the left) and click on "Save..."
A popup window will open telling you that you must save this temporary unnamed publication. Click "OK". I would save this into your games directory with a unique name and version number. Something like "Test Card Game v1". After choosing a name and location, click Save.

A pop-up appears! The Pack and Go Wizard? WTF? Yeah, I have no idea. Anyway, click "Other location". Click "Browse". And select your location again. Once you are inside the correct foler, then click OK.

Click "Next" in the Pack and Go Wizard.
Stuff happens and another pop-up appears. Un-select the "Print a composite proof" box or you will get an interesting surprise. Then click "OK".

Now close or minimize everything.

Go to the location where you saved the file. You will notice a compressed file with the name you selected earlier. In older days, you would have needed a decompression program to open this such as WinZIP or WinRAR, but many modern versions of windows may be able to open it as it is. Just double-click it.

There will be a file inside called "publication.PDF". Copy this file to your Desktop. Rename it to whatever you like. Open it and enjoy, this is your reward for all that work!


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Craig.
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For prototyping, I create one card layout in Publisher, create and Excel file with the card text, values, etc., and then use the mail merge feature to print out the cards automatically. You can set it up to fit 8 cards per page.
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Steve S
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Holy crap.

Umm... I use Inkscape. It's free, and so are the blank card templates you can find around the web. Designing the cards was pretty much just hitting "import" on any images I wanted on the cards and then drawing a text box to type in.
I was also able to create multiple variations of similar cards by simply copy-and-pasting between cards.
You can see what I came up with (with no design skill whatsoever, mind you) under Railroad Dispatch USA.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Shadoglare wrote:
Holy crap.

Umm... I use Inkscape. It's free, and so are the blank card templates you can find around the web. Designing the cards was pretty much just hitting "import" on any images I wanted on the cards and then drawing a text box to type in.
I was also able to create multiple variations of similar cards by simply copy-and-pasting between cards.
You can see what I came up with (with no design skill whatsoever, mind you) under Railroad Dispatch USA.


How about a link to the blank card template you used?
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Steve S
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lordrahvin wrote:
How about a link to the blank card template you used?


I don't remember where I got the one I was using specifically but a quick Google search found me this one that is extremely similar (if not exact) - you want the svg version:

http://www.warbard.ca/2011/12/20/templates-for-cards/
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