Help Needed with Daily Pages Templates

With the new year fast approaching, I'd like to kick a project here into overdrive. It's always been my plan to have some way of producing daily pages that actually possess full date information (day, month, year, day of week, mini-calendars and holidays), as well as a high degree of usability. Unfortunately, since I manually produce all templates, the monthly versions take long enough to prepare, yet alone a full year's set of daily forms with both Sun-Sat and Mon-Sun variations.

Therefore, I'm calling on the help of the DIYPlanner community. Please keep reading for what I'd like to see, along with some samples of a new Daily Pages form in process.

First of all, I'd like feedback on the new design below. (Click to see a larger version, or here to download a PDF.)

Daily Pages (Draft)

There's nothing earth-shattering there, since it follows the same tried-and-true style of layout and content found in most commercial planners, but here it's keeping with the D*I*Y Planner 3 look and feel. A tighter line spacing was needed, but I've tested it, and it doesn't seem to be an issue for a big hand-writer like myself.

The form consists of five principle areas:

  • The date area contains the day, day of week, month, year, holiday, annotation area, the current monthly calendar, and two mini-calendars for the previous and next month;
  • The daily tasks area contains an area for symbol (e.g., check mark, forward arrow, dot, etc.), a column that can be used for priority/ delegate/ etc., and the task text;
  • The expenses section for costs/items;
  • The appointments section for the hours of the day, with optional times "pre-day" and "post-day"; and
  • The daily journal area for notes, time-tracking, and other miscellaneous jottings.

The Daily Journal page is actually optional, and I'm hoping that the main daily page will be available in both left- and right-page formats. I'm also hoping that the calendars will have both Sun-Sat and Mon-Sun months, so our friends overseas can use it.

But that brings me to the next point. I'm going to need some help to produce this one.

I've been speaking with a few potential volunteers who have offered to create OOo macros to produce the dated and calendar bits, but I haven't seen anything yet, and the new year dost approach too soon.

Can anybody here take on this task, either individually as or as a team? I can provide the rest of the template in a number of forms, with our ultimate goal to produce a PDF file for an entire year, dated, with both types of weeks.

My fingers are crossed that someone can step up to the plate. This is a project I cannot tackle alone.

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Design feedback

Hi.

The design looks OK. I'm wondering if there would be a lot of folks who'd rather not have the standard 8-6 day pre-filled. Some folks want to write in the times that fit their lives, and I remember seeing one comment from a person who didn't even want hour and half marks. :)

Does anyone know if it's possible to use mail merge to embed pictures? If so, it would be easy as pie to do this in an afternoon, given jpgs of the various months already made up.. I already worked out how to make mail merge do a monthly calendar and daily pages separately, but I'm not sure I'm really ready for three months as merge data on a single page. If you can merge in the name of the month jpg files and have it pick up the right picture in the result doc, you're home free, it's only four or five merge fields on a page with a background graphic. Yes, you'd have to do it several times to get all the different combinations, but that's not so tough.

shris

Love it

Hello,
I love this design, even though I am not familiar with the DIY Planner creation process, I would love to see this one finished.

Thank you,
Heidi

I love it

I've been thinking in my head that I needed something exactly like that. It's crossed my mind to just go out and buy planner pages, but I'd rather print them myself because I don't want to spend that much money on something I'd just be trying, and I'm not sure how well the punches would match up when I punch them into my Levenger.

I don't think Mail Merge handles images, but maybe an OpenOffice Database?

Databases and images

Hi.

I tried looking in OpenOffice.org Base for a way to insert changing images in a report or form, and I can't figure it out. Base is pretty opaque to me, I grew up on Access.

Having said that, I have figured out how to do it in MS Access. You have to create a column in a table that holds OLE objects. Then for each date record, you insert your image (has to be a bitmap, ugh) into the OLE field. Then on your report, you insert an image control that's bound to the OLE field. It works like a charm. And the report itself can have a different image as a background, so it would be easy as pie to put the overall page template in the background, then have OLE objects for the itty bitty calendar images. Putting the dates, month names, etc. on the left is just cake.

So that gets you an MS Access report that will output the necessary merge. But what will it output to? Not much. It'll put out text in various formats, but what we want is images. It'll do a "Snapshot" format that uses a freely available reader, but the file size is unbelievably huge. I suppose if you have the ability to create PDFs, then you might have another option to get the output you want.

shris

Figuring it out..

Hi.

I figured out how to do the images in Open Office forms.. but now the challenge is exporting it to PDF. It will only let me do one page at a time right now, which is awful.

It would be simpler to do one merge file per month and just make the background image include the itty bitty calendars. Then you'd have 12 background images per style.. Bleah.

Maybe someone with more expertise in OpenOffice can contribute more.

shris

Last hurdle solved

Hi Doug.

I figured out my last hurdle. I can do this with an Access database. I installed a free PDF generator that windows apps can use.

So, here's what I'd need as input to the system:
* An image of the left page without any numbers or words or margins(!).
* An image of each month. One for the M-Su and one for the Su-Sa, I guess. If you haven't already got the months laid out, I can probably come up with something, it'll just take an extra couple of hours.
* A copy of the list of what formats you want, and whether you want them as one giant PDF for the year, or broken out by month or whatever.

Output you'd get back:
* A PDF proof to make sure I've got it right, before I generate the full set.
* PDF files. These would be big, you'll have to tell me where you want me to put them, since upload limits on the site are pretty small.

If you want a copy of the database when it's all said and done, I can do that too. Only useful with MS Access, though, and maybe only with the PC version.

shris

Automated search&replace

Hi,
Years ago I put monthly calendars into a text file. My forms were in Word. I then used mail-merge to produce daily pages. I can send you my teplates and data files. Daily page looks exactly the same as yours :-)

Nowadays I would recommend a tool like TextPipe (http://www.datamystic.com/textpipe.html). It operates on text files but that shouldn't be a problem. You can do automatic search&replace with data in Excel or CSV text files.

The important thing is, that you have only one data file with monthly calendars for each year.

Let me know if I can help.

Borut

Suggestion for format

As mentioned above, I also would really like a form that does NOT take up all the space necessary for the hours and half-hours. I don't have that many appointments, and when I do, I'd like to just be able to write in the time of the appointment. That way the space recovered can be used for other things-for example, a place to record all the voice mails I get in a day, or other miscellaneous information, without having to use a second page for those notes.

By the way, I've been lurking here for a long time and I want to thank everyone for all their excellent work and insight on this site.

Brute Force

I don't have the skills to write macros, but if you can't find someone who can automate it, I would be willing to take on doing it by hand for one set (monday start)

PHP might be an option

I don't know how to do this myself but the web language PHP, which I believe the D*I*Y website runs on, has functions for handling and generating PDF code. If the above forms were converted to PDF format there might be a way to merge data into the PDF code and produce the output you're looking for. Since everyone here likely sees that a backend database of some sort for the daily information would be necessary, and D*I*Y already has a database, then making it web-based might be the way to go.

Unfortunately I'm a total newbie with PHP but it may be part of my future work.

Daily planner comments

I like the date and task areas. Not sure I would track my expenses, but there are others who would. What I want to know is this:

I like to print back to back. What I would ideally like is the journal section printed on the back of the daily calendar page, so that I can have the calendar on the left and the journal section on the right-- ala Franklin Covey. I want to keep daily notes on things, but I am not willing to go back to the Covey planners.

Thanks and good luck with the design,
D

Back to back

The template Doug posted here is actually intended to be split into two parts, one on the front side and the other on the back side of the page. When I upload my version (which I will do very soon unless someone else outscoops me on the "compact" size) it will have a right-handed journal page and a left-handed schedule/tasks page very similar to what you see in the example above. (Though, truth be told, it will not have the same arrangement of hours: there will probably be more hours in the day, with only two lines per hour. Much like the FC compact pages use.)

Automate using OpenOffice macros

Seems like the simplest solution would be to automate it using the macro programming features of openoffice since the documents are in openoffice format to start with. I took a quick look around at the docs and it does seem pretty plausible to be able to do that and possibly even automate the dumping of the openoffice files to pdf afterword.

Here's a link to some code snippits written in the OOBasic language (which might be best for cross-platform compatibility, I don't really know)
http://codesnippets.services.openoffice.org/Writer/oobasic.x...
I might be able to take a look at coding up a rough draft or helping out a designer, but I'd prefer not to "own" it long-term.

In theory then, it should be simple to produce a PDF for each format for each of the next 10-20 years and then just upload them all to the website here. Then people can download the year(s) of interest and print the pages they need.

Send me email offline if you are interested in this approach: mikem at computer dot org.

- Mike

Date area on daily pages

Hi Doug,

I like the template but updating that date area every year for 365/366 days looks like a heck of a lot of work.

Here's a slightly lateral suggestion.

How about if the date pages only had the date and month, so they could be used year after year.
Then the date pages could be accompanied by a bookmark with the months and days. Perhaps a bookmark for quarter so if somoene wants a calendar year or a financial year planner they don't have to make changes to the bookmark layout.

I'm thinking of something like the harmony template but with little calendars http://www.diyplanner.com/taxonomy/term/23

That way you'd only have to update the bookmarks annually and the date pages would be 'eternal'.

Daily Pages Progress

A big thank-you goes out to all those who have offered suggestions or emailed me to volunteer.

I've been emailing with shris, and we think we have a workable plan that will incorporate all the various bits and pieces that people want. It's using Access (which is out of my Mac/Linux realm, unfortunately), but it seems that with a bit of careful planning and assembly, we can pull this off fairly quickly and thoroughly.

Out of curiosity, does anyone here have any experience with OOo Base, and specifically its (non-?)ability to generate PDFs from reports?

Going through all this, I can't help wondering how easy (or difficult) it might be to pull this off with PHP and the PDF libraries. I've done some very basic coding with it, but that was years ago -- it's out of my league and experience now, I'm afraid. I'd love to try a few experiments in the future.

all my best,
dj

I'll ask my resources

Doug,

My husband is a PHP programmer. I'll run this thread by him and see if he's got any ideas for this. We both use macs so I'm sure we can find a mac-friendly way to do this if there is a good solution that he knows about.

Thanks,
/innowen

Generating a PDF file from any program . . .

Maybe if you use a PDF printing program, such as PDF995 (I have used this for several years, and like it a lot, along with many of its sister and brother programs. You can try it free, but it is worth paying for, and then you don't get the registration screens.), you could print the multiple pages to PDF, and bypass the PDF command in your DB program. (I mention useful programs in this e-mail, but have no business relationship with the publishers, except that I have purchased, and successfully used, their programs.)

We send a lot of documents to other agent and to clients in our real estate business, and have found PDF995 and scan2email invaluable in either printing to PDF, or scanning to PDF. We very seldom fax, anymore, and our documents are far more legible. Not to mention the virtues of electronic filing. Hope this helps! Vicki

XSL Is the proper way to do this.

If you could create these template in an XML type format such as SVG, then you can apply an XSL template to them to put whatever content you want into it before you render it as a PDF. I have been playing with such things myself. I have been using InkScape to create my templates, as it can save and read SVG's. I know the OO format is XML based too, but have not looked at it.

The point of XSL is its cross platform, and a fairly well supported method of transforming XML documents.

This is really easy in OOo Calc

I don't see that anything here would be difficult at all. I don't know macros, PHP, or databases well enough to do much in any of those, but I've done similar designs entirely in a Calc spreadsheet. Calc features full support for OOo Draw graphics (literally cut and paste, and the pieces can be anchored to a page or a cell) and it will do all the formulas with nothing more than a bit of formula knowhow.

Some sample

Hi Doug,

I did a search for such a macro, and google pointed out this: http://www.ooomacros.org/user.php#103127 .
It is not exactly what's needed, but one that understands OOo macro scripting can easily modify the script for outputing something closer to what you need. Hope it helps.
By the way, I just want to give you a big Thanks for your work, this project helped me change in a way I would of never imagine.

Best regards,

//ionut

Beautiful Template

I love that template design! I think I'll stop using the one I designed and switch to this one when you get it ready with the dates on it.

I do have one question: Would it be possible to swap the pages left and write for us southpaws? I hate to have to write journal entries with my hand on the binding rings.

Just a thought. Keep up the good work!
--
Tim Foreman - http://timf.anansi-web.com/

making other size planner pages

Doug,

While I am not new to your site this is the first time I have elected to participate in your site so now I've joined up, as you might could say. Thanks for all the effort you have put into helping others through this site and the planners you have put so much work into.

When you go to port these planner pages down to other sizes I just wanted to let you know about an excellent program that will help simplify that process for you. You may already know about the program but just to make sure I thought that I would tell you about it. It is Clickbook by Blue Squirrel Software (http://www.bluesquirrel.com/products/clickbook/). The program will automatically resize and print any page to any other size page you want and it prints to PDF as well. There are also inexpensive programs that will convert PDF files to WORD, even some that are free on the internet (if you or anyone else needs such a feature.

As I have time to work on them for myself I plan on contributing some new pages to your site.

Thanks again for your site.

Hello ? Doug ?

I have e-mailed you several samples of my PNG and PDF efforts, but have received no response.

Are you out there ?

He's Not Dead, He's Resting ...

Panic not fellow D*I*Y's I have in my hand an e-mail... Doug is still very much alive and ploughing though his fan mail as I type. Hurrah!

Beautiful Plumage

them Norwegian Blues :)

"...and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk."

"'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!"

Very nice work Doug. * The

Very nice work Doug.
* The date area. Clear and well layed out.
* The daily tasks. I'd be tempted to add another column to this table. Just an extra line on the far right to allow for additional marks. It's not necessary, just an idea.
* The expenses section. This needs more room.
* The appointments section. Pre and post needs a bit more room, but I like the layout too much to ask you to change it.
* The daily journal area. A nice alternate page.

You've really got an eye for this stuff.

your newest Daily Planner template

Doug,

Looks great, I just found the DIY page last night and have been navigating it for hours since. I am sorry to hear that your current template is not available yet. It is what I'd like to download. I am surprised MS doesn't have something like this available off shelf.

I use the Covey Daily Planner and write through the appts with my tasks. I find the computer and it's auto alarms a life saver for keeping me on time to meetings. So I'd minimize the appts to a smaller window, for times my computer isn't available.

Thanks for the effort but looks like I'll be back at the Covey Store (sucks because of the $$$).

We have arrived !!

That which started here with Doug's vision, successfully concludes HERE

Enjoy !
-----------------------------------
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)