Monday, December 15, 2014

Working with Text Part 2

In the first part of this series, I showed you how to use Microsoft Word to make patterns for text projects. I covered how to not only get the letters or other text the font and size you want, but also how to make those huge letters in an easy to trace outline form.

enlarging text over multiple pages

It tends to be easiest to then print out the letters and use them individually, using a scaled-down version of your text document to guide the placement and spacing. If your printer can use larger paper than standard copy paper, you can use the paper size selection menu in Paint. Sometimes a sheet of legal paper is just what you need. See below.

Sometimes you want to print out your text at full size to get the full effect of the words together. If legal size won't do it, and you aren't blessed with a large format printer, this means printing on multiple sheets of standard 8.5x11 inch paper and taping the image together.

 There are several ways to do this, depending on what programs and even what printer options you have. Again, I am not an expert, and many of you may already have a better way that works for you. But here's a basic way to do it for free on a program most PC users already have. (I have another way that involves a graphics program, but that will the next part of this series.)

First make a text document that you want to print out in a large format (Above). If you made one following the steps of Part 1 of the series, open it now. Make sure it's spaced and sized how you want it. Highlight all the text and copy it with a right mouse click. Now open MS Paint. Most PCs come with this program in the Accessories folder. Paste your text selection into it. Sometimes some odd shifting happens in the copy/paste procedure.

 It's pretty easy to adjust the placement of the words by selecting the words that I want to shift and then dragging them into position. Below, I shifted the bottom line slightly to the left.

 Paint does not treat the text as vector images, so don't stretch the words much to resize. Instead use the resize option to the right of the select button for this. (Not shown) Your won't be able to specify inches or similar measurements with resizing or with Paint in general, just percent or Pixels. You have to play around with it to get it how you want it. Other programs have this feature, but again, that's for another post. It's best to get them the size you want them in the Word document before importing into Word.

 Since this method will print across several sheets of paper, I like to place a box around the phrase to help with centering the text on my project. It also helps with lining up the pages after they've been printed. (Above) The orange arrow points to the rectangle selection. Once you've clicked it, you can click and drag on the screen to make a perfect rectangle. In the upper right corner of the screen shot above is the line size button. I make it the thinnest.

Once you've got the image and text how you want them, it's time to set up the page.

Click the blue tab indicated by the orange arrow. On the drop down list, hover over the Print button as indicated by the green arrow. Don't worry, it won't start printing at this point. This brings up a sub-menu (you can also click on the little arrow to the right of the Print button. Go to Page Setup as indicated by the blue arrow. The dialog box below will pop up.

Much of this is pretty straight forward. Chose the size of paper you will be using and decide between portrait or landscape. Don't bother with margins. The bottom portion is where we will get this document nice and big.

Choose whether to center the text horizontally or vertically (orange arrow). I did both. Then click the circle by "Fit to" indicated by the green arrow. The blue arrow shows where you can now decide how many pages to print on. I entered in 2 by 2 pages. This is a fairly easy but imprecise enlargement process since we all can pretty much visualize the size of multiple sheets of standard paper. If you can't, pull out a few blank sheets and lay them out side by side to get a feel for how many pages you need. See the difference in the grey 'preview document'? Click OK.

You can preview before you print. The arrows above show you at the print menu again, but selecting 'Print preview'. I didn't get a shot of this, but Paint will show you the individual pages that it is going to print. It would be helpful if it showed all the pages at once, but it doesn't.  If you don't like what you see, go back and adjust things, resize, whatever.

Then you are ready to actually go to the print menu and hit Print! Double check and make sure your printer and Paint agree on the orientation (portrait vs. landscape)

This a previous version, without the rectangle around the words.
Then you will get your lovely large sets of letters/text. My example just happened to print each word out on it's own complete sheet of paper. That's what works best for making the  pattern, fewer pages to tape and lines to match up. But, ideally to better show you this technique, I would have had some letters cut between pages.

With Paint, you are likely to get some pixelation  of the lines. It's nothing that going over the lines with pencil or pen won't cure. Again, not ideal, but cheap and easy.

Then you tape the pages together. You can see in the image above where I cut away the margin where the box crossed from one page to another so I could tape it precisely. Sometimes it will be off a smidge and you just adjust accordingly.

So there you go. A quick and easy way to get larger phrases really big using Word and Paint. BTW, other things can be enlarged this way, not just text.

Upcoming parts of this series will be using a graphics program to enlarge words in a specific area to a particular dimension and various ways to transfer the text to your quilt.


  1. Great series of articles Amy.

    BTW - I noticed in the lst part of the tutorial you used the Harrington Font, but I don't see the name of the font you used in this 2nd part. Beautiful font.


    1. Thanks! That font is Edwardian Script. Love the swishy loops. At this size you can notice it’s a little bumpy where the letters join, but that can easily be corrected when tracing or marking.

  2. Well I'll be darn. This is so beautiful. I never tried Edwardian Script but loved Bradley Hand. The sample of Edwardian in Word was so tiny, I've always passed by it. I am so glad that Sewgal has become a fan of yours.
    Sewgal is one of my favorites also.

    1. Thanks! It is pretty, isn't it? I am delighted to see SewCalGal pop in and comment from time to time too!

    2. Thanks for correcting me Amy. It's SewCalGal and not Sewgal!

      Today, I will be repeating, SewCalGal!, SewCalGal!, SewCalGal!

  3. I just followed your tutorial without any problems! Excellent information that I will have to keep in mind for future projects! Thanks so much. I love this technical stuff!!!!

    1. I'm glad you found it helpful! I do not love this technical stuff, but I am stubborn and I like doing stuff myself. I figure that it's got to be good for my brain to learn this stuff, right?