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Daughter had a brainstorm last week. She has a planner that doesn’t work quite the way she wants it to, so she drew up some new planner pages, photographed them and texted the images to me. She asked if there was a computer program that would allow her to easily design them.

I’m a lover of Adobe InDesign. When it comes to forms and publications, it’s my first choice. However, it costs a ton of money and is fairly complicated to use. Daughter has neither the time or money at the moment to mess with it. I suggested Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer. She has Word on her computer and Writer is part of OpenOffice’s freeware.

Because Daughter is busy with college, I volunteered to design something based on the images she sent me. And then inspiration struck. I’d try using OpenOffice’s spreadsheet, Calc. Because spreadsheets are basically grids, I figured it couldn’t be too hard to design forms with them. And I was right. Once I figured out how big I needed to make the cells in the grid and how to insert lines the way I wanted, it was easy.

Liv Planner 1 – This is a pdf version of one of the completed planner pages.

And here is a screen shot of the planner page as it appears in the spreadsheet program. Note how I’ve resized parts of the grid.

Planner Page, a screen shot that shows the spreadsheet grid.

Screen shot of planner page designed in OpenOffice Calc, a spreadsheet program.

Liv Planner 2 – Another planner page ready to use as a pdf document. This one is a To Do list so Daughter can keep track of the reading she has to do.

And here is a screen shot of the page:

Planner 2 - To Do List

A To Do list designed in OpenOffice Calc.

And, finally, here is a basic calendar form, also designed in Open Office Calc: Liv Planner Calendar.

And, the screen shot:

Screen shot of monthly calendar designed in OpenOffice Calc.

Screen shot of monthly calendar designed in OpenOffice Calc.

Not only was this easy, it was fun. It reminded me of designing something using graph paper. Because I had a blast making blank forms with a spreadsheet program, I decided to take on something more challenging. I’ll share that in my next blog post, so stay tuned …