28 August 2011

Monthly View Calendars

I needed to do some future planning the other day of the next few months on several fronts. I thought a monthly calendar page would be helpful for this to go at the start of each month in my A5 Malden which I am using the page per day diary insert.

I started playing around with iCal, but I found it quite slow inputting things, then I realised... why are you attempting to use an electronic calendar... so I closed the application went for a walk, watered the sun flowers, said good evening to my neighbours, walked the length of the garden, let my brain work through what to do to create a monthly calendar.

OK I thought, I could do my old trick of using MS Outlook to generate a calendar, but none of my existing appointments are on Outlook any more. No that won't do.. how about Google Calendar? I've used it for some time it mainly holds all my birthday reminders, I also tend to put things on there, so the rest of the family know were we are going to be etc.

So Google Calendar, it's free, all you need is a Google account or a Gmail account and there you have a calendar with Day, Week and Month views... ok if you have used Google Calendar you know what it can do... yes? The one button I had over looked... the print button!

What does this do... it offers different layouts and options for the current view (Daily, Weekly, Monthly) and it gives you a preview. When you click on 'Print' it sends you a PDF file, which you can then review before you print it. I tried this out with a couple of monthly layouts.

Both are quite a nice simple clean un-cluttered layout. I tried punching the sheets after printing them on A5 paper and found that the margins were not quite right but a small adjustment in the scaling setting on the printer to reduce the grid by a couple of percent did the trick.

So then I revisited iCal again, but this time with only a blank calendar and tried a similar trick with that.

Again quite a nice clean layout, but this one offers the mini calendar as a option for the previous month, this month and next month. If you turn off that option it expands the month grid in to that space. When you go to print, it will let you print to a printer or to pdf. Again with a little bit of adjustment to the scaling I managed to get it to fit an A5 sheet of paper without the punched holes causing problems with the printed text. I quite like the way they grey out the days of the previous month and the next month, so it concentrates your eye on the current month.

iCal of course is only available on the Apple Mac, but with Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar, Hotmail Calendar all offering similar free on-line calendars, that you can print out, then there are quite a few options available for people interested in having a diary insert customised to their own requirements be it printed on high quality paper, or with different timings during the day etc.

I'm finding having a monthly calendar at the start of each month is a great boost to my ability to plan each month up to the end of this year. It is particularly useful for holidays and events that extend over several days.  Give it a try.


  1. Is there a way to do this for a personal Filofax using Googlemail Steve?

  2. @Sally - I use a program which I downloaded from DIY Planners (http://www.diyplanner.com/node/6210). You can choose whether you want the month over 1 or 2 pages, vertical or horizontal, etc. I then use standard Filofax notepaper to print out one month per page. I have the Jan - Dec dividers and have the monthly overview behind each followed by my week-to-view pages for that month.

    I like having a monthly overview too. Especially for weekends which get particularly hectic!!

  3. I'm so old school I bought the month on one page Filofax inserts for 2012 (landscape) to use in my new study-fax that I'm creating and I have the onto on two pages for 2012 in my Malden so I can plan next year without too much added bulk into my planner.

    Hadn't even thought about trying to use digital calendars and print to fit!! Will investigate that as like you say being able to see the whole month with more space than the year planners provide is really helpful


  4. Sally, it is possible to print on to Filofax Personal size paper, but I'm not sure if aspect ratio will be correct for that size, so you might end up with larger borders when printing this size.

    To print the PDF on Personal size, you need to set up a custom page size in the print dialogue box, this will vary between printers and between operating systems, but I tried it on mine this morning and it was fairly easy to do.

    Google calendar obviously format their output for standard size paper (A4/A5/Letter)

  5. Spent ages designing my own in Word!!!! Almost wish I hadn't now I know about Google Calendar!!!!However you live and learn....... thanks for the information. Very useful and interesting. I too found the month spread over 2 pages an irritating format in A5. Like to see the month ahead at a glance, as you rightly say, useful when events spread over several days, like Bournemouth's recent Air Festival.

  6. I've had good success printing out my Outlook calendar in both personal and A5 sizes.

    Since we're required to keep a shared calendar at work - and I have a ton of appointments - this has been a lifesaver when I've been in areas with no cell service.

    Plus, it's easy to both write on and reprint so it always looks fresh and organized. You can easily print month, week, work week, day ... it's endless. Google and iCal work fine, too.

    Here's what it looks like (in personal size): http://somenotesfromafar.blogspot.com/2011/02/with-just-little-filo-tweaking.html

  7. I've bought some Filofax monthly view inserts for 2012. I'm hoping they will help me plan my time better!


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