Author Archives: Carol Owens

What Is a Thumbnail Image?

By definition at Merriam-Webster Online:
thumb·nail noun [thuhm-neyl]

1. the hard covering at the end of a thumb: the fingernail of a thumb
2. computers: a very small copy of a larger picture on a computer

Since we all understand the first definition, let’s talk computers. A thumbnail image is a tiny graphics file. It is a small-scale, low-resolution image generated from the original image. Thumbnail images are created from standard size images and are used on webpages. The small size allows Web surfers quick access to webpage content. People would find retail shopping nearly impossible if it weren’t for the use of thumbnail images, and surfing pages with multiple images would simply take too long.

In many cases, thumbnail images are clickable, causing a larger image to load at the user’s discretion. This makes webpages user-friendly, saving the user from having to download large image files that he or she doesn’t need or want to see. With a page of smaller images, the user can click on only those images of interest and then download the large, original, high-resolution image file and not the small, low-resolution thumbnail image.

So, when designing your print documents, be sure to download the high-resolution image and not the thumbnail for the best quality image.

Time for “Spring Cleaning” of your bulletin

Spring is here—time to spruce up your house, get rid of clutter and get things organized. But this year, go beyond your home and yard when you do your spring cleaning and look for ways to rejuvenate your bulletin. And springtime is as good a time as any to take a fresh look at your bulletin. So consider these suggestions:

* Dispose of things that aren’t working. Whether it’s a burnt-out computer, a non-vacuuming vacuum cleaner, we all own things that are no longer useful. And the same may be true of some areas of your bulletin. Look through your bulletin from the cover to the last page. Can you utilize the space better?

* Get rid of duplicates. If you went through everything in your bulletin, you might find several items that do the same thing. Do you really need a staff directory on the cover and also on the inside pages? If you took it off the cover, would you have more space to add a new photo to the cover? Or if you keep it on the cover and remove it from the inside page, you might find you do have room for that fundraiser article you just didn’t have room for before. I mean, how many radios do you really need and do you even use them? If you looked at your bulletin in this same way, you might be surprised to find some redundancies. Always look for ways to diversify your information and get your readers attention.

* Put things back in order. Over time, and inadvertently, the spaces in your home can get “out of balance.” Perhaps you have too many chairs in one corner, your flat-screen television is crowding out your family pictures, or your new desk takes up too much space in your home office. With some rearranging, however, you can usually get things back in order. And the same need for rearrangement may apply to your bulletin, which might have become unbalanced with all your articles looking exactly the same. Restore your bulletin to its proper balance—use consistent size headers but have an article go across the whole bottom of the page instead of just two columns running up and down the pages or simply rearrange a few articles and add some new clip art.

Spruce things up by designing a new front cover. And if you need help with this new look, contact our designers at your local LPi service center for some additional help and ideas.

Spring cleaning really puts a smile on your face. I think it’s because we know that summer is right around the corner but a fresh new look to your bulletin can too. By giving your bulletin an annual spring cleaning, you can help make sure it reflects the current needs of your church community. And you won’t even have to get near the dust cloths or furniture polish.

Is Anyone Reading Your Church Bulletin?

What is the life span of your church bulletin? About as long as the service, and then you find it in the garbage can outside? Breathe new life into your bulletin and make it an effective communication tool for your church. Think of it as a mini-newspaper, packed with need-to-know and need-to-grow information.

An attractive bulletin will draw readers. Is your bulletin wall-to-wall typewriter type, or is the print easy to read? The fewer typefaces (or fonts) you use, the better, so when you begin to add text, choose two or three at most that complement each other.  It’s best to mix serif type, (those with small lines on the end of letters, like Times Roman), with sans serif type (those with no small lines, such as Helvetica or Arial).  Always use the serif type for body copy, as it is easier to read when there are many words. Save the more elaborate artsy typefaces for short headlines or subheads—and remember, use three at most. Too much type in any font makes the page look too gray, and people won’t want to read very far.

Find different ways to break up the text. Add graphics to your church bulletin.  Just go to, Liturgical Publications Inc Art & Media Portal. Pictures, photos, illustrations and clip-art are eye-catching and draw the reader into the text. Use moderation and choose graphics that create visual harmony.

Put only the most important information in your church bulletin.  If there’s too much, you’ll overwhelm today’s too-busy-to-read person.  Worse, they’ll end up reading it during the sermon!  Keep it brief, and refer readers to your website for more information.

The bulletin is the best and easiest way to help attendees, especially newcomers, know what to expect in the service, and to educate members on small groups, ministries, prayer groups and other activities that define your church. Include information that is important for your congregation to get through the week ahead.

You should include:
•    Ministry news
•    Small group meeting information
•    Approaching church events and outside events like concerts or trips to local amusement parks
•    Recap past week’s important events, and use names. People love to see their name in print
•    Excerpts from books or periodicals that relate to real life issues, such as parenting, relationships, finance and other topics that will provide spiritual growth
•    Pictures, if possible.  If you have the scanning technology to reproduce a high-quality photo, use it!  You’ll have more success in this area if you start with a photo that has good contrast and brightness. As much as people like to see their names, they like to see their pictures even more. (Don’t forget to have the individuals in the photos sign a release to use their images in the bulletin).

And finally, ask your congregation what they’d like to see in the bulletin. Add a simply survey or questionnaire. By giving them a simple survey, which can be collected during the offering or at the end of the service, you’re conveying your desire to meet their needs better. They’ll be glad you asked and so will you!

A Couple of MS Publisher Quick Tips

Connecting Text Boxes

A great trick to use when creating a publication in MS Publisher is to connect text boxes. You can insert text boxes on different sides of a page, or even different pages, and allow your text to continue and “spill over” from one text box to another.

Insert as many text boxes onto the publication as you need or want to use. Click inside the text box in which you want to start. Click the “Create Text Box Link” button, which looks like two linked chains, on the “Connect Text Boxes” toolbar. Your mouse pointer will change to a pitcher icon. Click inside the second text box. The boxes are now linked and any overflowing text will continue from the first box into the second. Repeat with as many text boxes as you require.

Text in Shapes

Another great trick to use when creating a publication in MS Publisher is to combine text and shapes. To put text on a shape, right click the shape and select “Add Text.” A cursor will appear on the shape and you can begin typing directly into it. To make the text fit the shape, right click the shape and select “Format AutoShape.” Go to the “Text Box” tab and select “Shrink Text on Overflow” and the text will shrink to fit the size of the shape.


Contemplating when to use a semi-colon and when to use a colon? Confused about when to use quotes and where to place punctuation? Below are the answers!

Colons are used before lists in sentences, after the greeting in a business letter, and to introduce long quotations.

We are in need of the following items for the food pantry: canned items, rice, baby formula, and cleaning supplies.

Commas are used in a number of ways.

A. In a series of three or more words, phrases or clauses.

We ate cotton candy, popcorn, and ice cream.

B. After introductory words.

However, this project can succeed with everyone ‘s help.

C. To separate adjectives.

The speaker was friendly, knowledgeable, and articulate.

An apostrophe is most commonly used to take the place of a missing letter in contractions.

It doesn’t hurt to proofread twice.

It is also used to create possessive nouns.

The pitcher’s jersey number was retired in honor of his outstanding career.

Semi-colons are most often used to connect independent clauses that are not connected by coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, etc.).

Exercise helps prevent high blood pressure; a healthy diet is also beneficial.

Quotation marks are placed around a person’s exact words.

Fred said, “Cleveland is my favorite city.”

Unless the entire sentence is a question, the punctuation marks go on the inside of quotation marks.

When did Alice ask “who changed the schedule?”

Quotation marks are also used around the titles of short stories, poems, songs, articles and chapters.

Using Typefaces Effectively

How effective are your headings? Do they catch attention? Are they readable? Thanks to the computer there are many typefaces available to you, and you will want to choose them wisely. Each typeface has a personality, and you can “match” that personality to the subject of your articles.

While some of these decorative typefaces are fun to use, they are not necessarily appropriate for the entire article. For example, look at the word “Western” in the example to the 1eft.This typeface would make a great heading for a Country Potluck Dinner, but can you imagine reading an entire article about the dinner in that typeface? Your eyes would grow tired, and you might even lose interest in the article.

With this in mind, why not have some fun with your headings? To make headings stand out, they should provide a contrast to the article in some way. A natural tendency may be to put your headings in all capital 1etters.This might be appropriate for very short headings. However, text in all capital letters can be very difficult to read, especially when using script typefaces.

There are many other ways to give your headings some punch. Make them larger or bolder than the article. Choose something more decorative for emphasis. See the variety of examples below:

Most typefaces fall into two broad categories: those that look hand drawn and those that look mechanical. You probably would not use a script typeface to head an article about football, just as you would not use a mechanical typeface to head an article about flowers. Not sure which decorative typeface to use? Use your intuition. Different typefaces for headings can add variety and interest to your publication.

Is It Time For A New Look?

If your bulletin cover is starting to look old and boring, then it might be time for a new look. Take it from plain and ordinary to fresh and distinctive.

Gone are the days of black-and-white photo-copied bulletin covers. Differentiate yourself from the faceless bulletins of the past. A custom professional bulletin cover leaves the impression that you put great thought into serving the people attending your services. Liturgical Publications Inc has graphic designers on staff that are available to help give your bulletin cover a fresh new look that will capture the attention of your entire congregation.

A bulletin is the one piece of your church that accompanies a person after they leave the building. What is your bulletin telling your guests once they get home? A custom bulletin cover can have a lasting effect on a person’s opinion of your church. So speak to your guests with a design that will remind them of something that they want to go back to.

You can send us photos and text of what you would like on your cover via email. Take pictures (with a digital camera*) of and around your church and send us those photos for use on your new cover. Our designers will customize your text with font selection and edit and insert photos that have been submitted to give the final layout a fine tuned finished look.

*Tips for taking pictures for the cover design...
Take many pictures at various angles from inside and outside of your church. When taking pictures of the building, take pictures standing from the right side of the building then the left side and finally, a couple head on. (Be careful not to cut off the steeples! :o ) It is helpful to have a variety of different images to work with, too. There might be other areas of interest at your site (i.e. statues, paintings, chapels, or anything special in your church or complex) that could be captured to make your bulletin cover unique. Remember, what you take pictures of is your choice. It’s your church, you know best what is significant to your organization and congregation.

Ready for your new look? Please contact us to begin working on your new custom cover design!

If your account starts with…

01, 02, or 05 (Milwaukee/Edina/Denver): Call 1-800-950-9952

03, 04, or 06 (Hartford, CT/Rochester, NY): Call 1-800-888-4574

14 or 15 (Cleveland/Detroit): Call 1-800-477-4574

Rotate or flip objects in Publisher

Select the object that you want to rotate or flip.

Do one of the following:

Rotate objects freely

Point to the green rotation handle.

Drag the mouse in the direction you want the object to rotate.

NOTE: To rotate in 15-degree increments, hold down SHIFT while dragging the handle.

Rotate objects by 90 degrees

On the Arrange menu, point to Rotate or Flip, and then select the option you want.

Rotate an object an exact number of degrees

Right-click the object.

On the shortcut menu, click Format <object type>, and then click the Size tab.

Under Size and rotate, type or select the number of degrees to rotate the object in the Rotation box.

Rotate an object on its base

Hold down CTRL and drag the green rotation handle.

The object will rotate in a circle by pivoting around the handle (handle: One of several small shapes displayed around an object when the object is selected. You can move or reshape an object by clicking on a handle and dragging.) that is located directly across from the green rotation handle.

Flip an object

On the Arrange menu, point to Rotate or Flip.

Do one of the following:

To flip an object horizontally, click Flip Horizontal.

To flip an object vertically, click Flip Vertical.

Different ways to resize an object in Publisher

After selecting an object, you can resize it in a number of ways by dragging the handles of the object.

Position the mouse pointer over one of the handles (handle: One of several small shapes displayed around an object when the object is selected. You can move or reshape an object by clicking on a handle and dragging.) and then drag the mouse but be careful not to squish or stretch the object. Below are a few ways to resize objects and not lose the original shape.

• To maintain the object’s proportions

Hold down SHIFT. Position the mouse pointer over one of the corner handles (handle: One of several small shapes displayed around an object when the object is selected. You can move or reshape an object by clicking on a handle and dragging.) and then drag the mouse.

Release the mouse button before you release SHIFT.

• To maintain the proportions and keep the center in the same place

Hold down CTRL+SHIFT

Position the mouse pointer over one of the corner handles (handle: One of several small shapes displayed around an object when the object is selected. You can move or reshape an object by clicking on a handle and dragging.) and then drag the mouse.

Release the mouse before you release CTRL+SHIFT.

You can also choose a specific height and width or choose a specific proportion.

• To choose a specific height and width

Right-click the picture or AutoShape.

On the shortcut menu, click Format<object type>.

In the dialog box, click the Size tab.

Under Size and rotate, enter measurements for the height and width of the object.

• To choose a specific proportion

Right-click the picture or AutoShape.

On the shortcut menu, click Format<object type>.

In the dialog box, click the Size tab.
Under Scale, enter the percentage of the original height or width you want the object resized to.

Quick tips for bulletins & newsletters

Here are some quick tips for improving the readability of your bulletins or newsletters.

Avoid Mixed typefaces

All those fonts installed on the computer can be very tempting but try to avoid mixing type. Using one type family or two is usually best. Consistency of typeface usage will give your publication a uniform look and make it easier to read.

Avoid Excessive Capitalization

When you use all caps, it looks like shouting, which in any publication may look rude. If you must use all caps, then use sparingly.

Use Only One Exclamation Mark

Your words speak for themselves; so if you must use an exclamation mark, then use only one.

Avoid Over Adjusting Tracking & Kerning

Use Tracking

To change the spacing between text characters, you can adjust tracking. Tracking is available only if you are working on a print publication. Select the text you want to change. In Microsoft Publisher, on the Format menu, click Character Spacing. Under Tracking, do one of the following: To adjust tracking automatically, click one of the preset spacing options. To adjust tracking manually, click Custom, and then enter a percentage between 0.1% and 600% in the By this amount box.

Use Kerning

A less well-known ability of word processors is the kerning function because it is not usually turned on by default. Kerning uses the information found in the font to adjust the space between pairs of letters, producing more readable copy. Microsoft Publisher automatically kerns text pairs sized at 14 points or higher. Text below 12 points usually doesn’t need to be kerned. (On the Format menu, click Character Spacing. Under Automatic pair kerning, enter a size from 0.5 to 999.9 points). Publisher will kern text pairs in any font size equal to or greater than the size you type.

Some of these points are fairly basic, but get them right and your publication will impress.