Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Using Borders and Digital Papers to Make Teaching Documents

This post has come about because I get so many questions about how to use our borders and frames to make a 'teaching resource file'.

I am going to show you the very basics, for users that have very little experience with this sort of thing. I only started using PowerPoint to do some of my resources recently after some sellers on TpT  alerted me to how easy it is to use over Word... and i have to say.. it is MUCH easier. Bear in mind, that you create your document in PowerPoint, but SELL it as a PDF file, so that the graphics and your work is protected. Some designers let you use their clip art in PowerPoint, but most require you to lock it down in a pdf file.

So start by joining TeacherspayTeachers if you have not done so already and logging in to your account. Go to our Graphics From the Pond store, or another of your choice.

Search for the borders/pages you wish to download. An easy way is to use the Custom Categories set up by store holders. We have one called 'Borders-Page' and also 'Badges & Headers' where most of our page borders and decorative elements are kept.

Once you have found the set of graphics you would like to use, you need to download them to your computer from TeacherspayTeachers. These ones here are FREE, some are priced. Make sure you are logged in. Click Download Now.

A box will pop up giving you the choice to SAVE or OPEN. You want to save them to your computer before you do anything with them. Instead of selecting SAVE, use the drop down arrow to choose SAVE AS.

When you use SAVE AS you will be telling the computer WHERE you want to save them. Choosing just SAVE will work, but your computer will save them to a default location (probably a folder called 'Downloads')

Then, navigate to WHERE you want to save them. I have a folder in My Documents called My Teaching Resources and then a further sub folder called BORDERS. You can see here, I am selecting this folder to put them in. Notice how I am saving a COMPRESSED (ZIPPED) FOLDER. This is how they have been provided to you on TpT as we can give you lots of little files in one big one, zipped up to make it faster to download.

Now you have chosen WHERE to save it, just hit SAVE. You can also use this opportunity to give the file a new file name if you like. You will notice that anything you download from TpT will have the product description as the file name, and some of these are long. You could just rename this 'Scribble Borders' for example. If you intend to make lots of teaching resources, and use lots of graphics from a variety of artists, I would suggest including the designers name in your file name. For example, you could out Pond Scribbles... or something like that.. as after a while you can forget where everything came from! 

Once your save has completed - hit OPEN

Now, you want to 'unzip' the contents of the folder you just downloaded. You will not be able to access the contents of a zipped file.

Once you have hit OPEN. Extract all your files, by clicking on EXTRACT ALL FILES. If this does not appear for you, you may have to right click on the folder and go to 'extract all' or similar.

Extract.. I never alter any of these other fields...

Now, in the same location as your original zipped downloaded folder, will be another folder, with the same name, but the little folder icon will NOT have a zip on it - it has been unzipped. Your original zip folder will remain there.

Double click on this new folder and you will see the contents. In my graphics folders, I always include the graphics themselves and a Word document and PDF copy of the Terms of Use for these graphics.Each graphic/border/page is a different file in itself. Usually a .png file.

If you can't see what they look like, use your 'View Options' in the top right hand corner of your screen. You can switch from List to Icons...

Now you have unzipped your files and had a look at them, close it by using the red cross in the corner. You are just closing the folder, not deleting it. It is just closed from view.

Now, you want to start your document. Open PowerPoint or similar...

A new document should open. Some text boxes will be there as a default.

Click these and delete them for now.


Then PICTURE. A new window will open, allowing you to choose what picture you want to INSERT. Navigate to the location of your borders/pages. Remember I saved mine in MY DOCUMENTS and then in a folder called BORDERS. Your computer will probably open a default PICTURES folder.

Navigate to the border/page/graphic/clip art of your choice. Either double click on it....

Or click once and then hit INSERT

Now, the border/page has been inserted onto your first page/slide in PowerPoint

Use the rotate function to turn it left 90 degrees, and other functions such as size and cropping to your choice. There are many other picture formatting functions.. I will explore a few for you in other posts.

You can also use these corner circles to click and drag to change the size. Just click, hold and drag to change the position.

To add text to your page, use INSERT, then TEXT BOX

Click and drag to make a text box. Type in your text. 

Then, you can format both your font, and the position of your text box with the various functions.

You can add other elements, such as basic shapes to layer between your background/border/page and your text. Here I am selecting a rectangle.

Once inserted and formatted (fill and line changed to white), I can then position the various elements by right clicking on them and either sending them BACK or FORWARD.

Once your document is complete, and you have added credit at the end of my file for various designers and artists, and added your own copyright info, save the file as a PDF file ready to sell or distribute.

To see all our borders/pages/frames and other clipart to use in your teaching resource files, visit our TpT graphics store.

If you are thinking of signing up as a seller on TeacherspayTeachers, please consider using this link to sign up... so we can benefit slightly from referral earnings for the first year you sell.

Let me know if you have any further questions!
Have a great day!