Templates Make it Easier

The key to efficiently printing your QSLs is the use of a template, in your word processing software.

Templates are neat because you make up just one template, putting all the repetitive information into it. Then after each QSO it only takes a few mouse clicks to pick the specific information for that QSO (e.g. which rig you used, which antenna, etc.), and you can type in a custom note for the recipient.

Making up your own template is not hard. If you haven't worked with templates before, here are a few suggestions:

Templates are started in Word just like any other document. Your finished document becomes a template when you save it.

You'll be working with forms commands, so put that toolbar on your screen: Click "View", "Toolbars", "Forms".

Word's WordArt function is useful for putting your own call sign in big fancy letters. To get to WordArt, click "Insert", "Picture", and "WordArt".

The first item you lay down on your blank piece of paper should be a text box, the size that you want your finished QSL. Click "Insert", "Text Box", and then use your mouse to draw the text box. Then click "Format", "Text Box", "Colors and Lines", to select the frame style for your QSL outline. (You'll have even more QSL outline options if you use the "Format", "Borders and Shading", "Page Borders" options, but that requires careful selection of the page and margin sizes under "File", "Page Setup".) I put additional text boxes in the header/footer layer to surround name/address/rig information, and the personal note space.

Use Word's form feature to list all your rigs: Using the forms toolbar buttons, create a "Drop-Down Form Field" list so that you can just click on the appropriate rig after each QSO.

Make additional drop down form fields for your lists of antennas, power levels, QTHs, etc.

Use the "Text Form Field" button to make spaces for fill-in information, such as the other operator's name and call sign and RST, and the QSO date and time.

Add decorations from any clipart source.

It's easy to modify a template on holidays, to add clipart specific to that day. See the Halloween QSL example.

If you want to add your own scanned photo there are a couple of ways to get it into a Word document. To keep the printed resolution high, I prefer to scan at 300dpi, edit and trim as necessary, save the scanned image as a jpeg, then insert it in the template by clicking on "Insert", "Picture", "From File", then double click on the jpeg you want. The jpeg will appear in the template. To control picture location and size, access the format options by right-clicking on the picture, then click "Format Picture". Under that panel's "wrapping" tab I prefer "none". Under the "Position" tab I prefer to measure the "position on page" from "page". These controls will allow very precise positioning of the picture inside your QSL.

When the QSL template is ready, lock it by clicking on the "Protect Form" button in the forms toolbar. Then save it as a template: click "File", "Save As...", and then in the "Save as type:" line pick "Document Template".

To use the template after a QSO, click "File", "New", and click on your template's icon. Then fill in the blanks, and print it.

Instead of starting your own QSL from scratch, would you rather begin with one of my templates and modify from there? If you are using Word 97, just click here . After the template file comes up, click on "File" "Save as", and indicate the location for that template. (This works for Microsoft's Internet Explorer; the procedure might be a bit different for other browsers.) Then you can modify the starter template to make it your own.

Next page: Show your Rigs and Logos

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