Calendar design, grid rows

Hi friends,

I’m teaching an illustration class and one of the projects is a six-month calendar. I am preparing to show the students how to build calendar templates in Indesign, but I am running into a weird, calendar-specific issue that affects the page layout.

I followed this tutorial, which is pretty great and thorough. It instructs you to set up tables in Indesign with 5 rows plus a header row, seven columns for the days of the week, etc.

However, as soon as I started actually plugging in the correct dates for January and February 2022, I noticed that while most months need just 5 rows, some months need 6 rows for the dates, like January 2022.

This creates an uneven-ness in the page layout and I am not sure how to solve for it. In the examples below, I left the calendar grid cells the same shape and size, just deleted the bottom row on February. This is okay, but that means the bottom margin on pages with the 5-row months are going to be bigger than on the pages that have 6-row months.

I’m hoping some of you seasoned calendar designers on there might have some insight :eyeglasses:

Okay, kind of embarrassing. I finished the tutorial and figured it out.

I think the standard solution is add a diagonal line to the cells on the fifth row when the dates run over:

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I’ve seen a horizontal line used as well, which allows for better writing space :wink:

You can start with 6 rows.

You can split a cell.

You can loop back to the blank dates at start of month.

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I personally do not like the 30/31 idea. I always use 6 rows and fill up the blanks with ghost numbers - dates in the previous / next month.

I have templates developed over several years which reflow all the dates in linked text boxes. I only need to change January 1st, add Feb 29th for a leap year and move Easter and it’s done. Unseen ghost dates are in boxes off the page so the reflow works properly.

There is a second format to consider, where the days of the week move and the dates are static, in vertical columns. In this one the only spare space is the one, two or three blank lines at the end of the last column.

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The way I do it is with autonumbering.

So if January starts on Thursday 1st.
I insert a blank carriage return, and set the leading to 0.
Autonumbering on.
Applies 1

Then copy that cell to the rest of the table cells.
Then you get 1 - 31

Yes - you do have manual makeup of the odd numbering etc. but easily solvable.

Best thing about autonumbering is that it is a lot harder to go wrong.

I started this method becuase I received a file from an outside source - that had threaded text frames for each date - and I inserted the Tab to push the dates along - but found out the text frames were threaded in the incorrect order. So it went - 1,2,3,4,5,6,9,7,8,10

I thought it was a messy way to do it.

So a table -
7 columns
6 rows
Apply autonumbering to the main body of dates.

Then for the end of the calendar - super easy way to get the small version of each month for the back of the calendar etc.

You copy the text frame with the Table - and you use Edit>Place and Link
You can then resize this - as it appears in the link panel.
Any time you make an Edit to January - - update the Link in the Links panel - and the edit happens automatically in the smaller version.

Place and link

huge time savers and very helpful in reducing errors.

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It looks like the two most common approaches to calendar overflow were already hit: overlapping the extra dates with a divider, or having the extra row. My personal preference is the extra row, but in commercial products I see the split Sunday/Monday lines more often. Which one is better is going to come down to the context and the consequences of each choice.

It’s that time of year when all the calendar orders are coming my way again, and I’ve seen old setups done a dozen different ways, from tab settings to individual text boxes interposed between manually drawn line grids, and tables (and linked tables at that!) are the tidiest way I’ve found to do it. Kudos to @Smurf2 for the breakdown!

No prob - if you need further assistance let me know.

Another great tip is to keep your calendars - they repeat every 5/6/11 years
although 2022 won’t repeat again until 2033.

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