For any interested readers, I will be starting a series of posts of how to make your own photo book from start to finish. I’ll be getting into more detail and going step-by-step. Feel free to let me know if you have any topics you specifically want me to cover and I’ll be sure to add that in the series.
Hi all, I’ve been getting a lot of good questions from readers and fans, and I want to start sharing some with you. This question came from “JB” in June 2010 and it’s a good one about adding significant amounts of text to your book. We had a couple additional e-mails after this, but this covers the main parts of our e-mail discussion.
(JB, I hope you were able to finish your book) 🙂
I want to be able to add text from a word document or chart from Excel. Can you tell me which of the companies you compare have that capability–I am doing a memorial for my mother and have photos, recipes and want to have a few pages of words.
I would say that most if not all of the photobook companies would have that capability. You should be able to go into your Word doc or Excel then do a copy paste into the text box of your photo book layout. I would just make sure to carefully double check the preview to make sure that the text does not get translated into any weird characters that shouldn’t be there.
Spell check would be important too.
The biggest issue I have though with adding text is that some of the font selections can be pretty limited. In the past, when I’ve wanted a particular font, I’ve laid out the text in a separate program like Photoshop and by doing so got to control 100% the font I was using and exactly how it was going to lay out, including whether I wanted a photograph to be the background to the text.
Here’s the basic steps:
- Create your layout using text and photos in the photo editing/layout program.
- Save it as a JPEG and import it into the book making software like any other photo.
- Select a full bleed single photo layout.
- Then drag and drop it in.
It’s worked great when I’ve done it and the text prints out just the way I want it.
You can also use this method to make custom layouts for any book maker that doesn’t have fully customizable layouts within their software. (Our Photo Book Software Wizard can sort out the companies that have this feature.)
No worries – if you don’t have Photoshop:
- You can download a free trial of Photoshop at the Adobe website;
- Try one of the other FREE photo editing programs online:
I haven’t used these other programs extensively, but I believe they all would have a similar process as noted above.
Sounds like a great project that you’re doing.
I am planning to post some Q&A on my blog – so hope you don’t mind if I post this Q&A there since it’s a good question. (I don’t put any name or email or other identifiable info on the Q&A)
I would like to put first name and last initial if you don’t mind, but otherwise, I can just post it anonymously.
Let me know if this helped!
Dear PhotoBook Girl,
You most certainly can use my question. And your answer is very thorough. I am an extreme novice at this and I have been using your site as my “tutorial”. Since I am such a novice, your answer is a bit Greek to me, but I am going to work through it. I think a Q&A would be great on an already outstanding website. Of course you can use my question just as you suggest. Thanks again, I may be back with other questions in the near future.
I wanted to elaborate a little further the first part of the question about adding text to your photo book, as I went on a bit of a tangent. In order to make this Q&A more readable, I didn’t include the additional e-mail exchanges I had with JB which got a little more specific to her particular situation.
Note that Microsoft Word and other similar programs tend to add other information that is not visible when you do a cut and paste. Even when doing this blog, if I write it in Word and then cut and paste into WordPress sometimes I get weird formatting or odd characters that you can’t remove unless you go into HTML.
If you have considerable amounts of text that you want to add to your photo book, this is what I would recommend:
- Open up your Word document or any program in which you have your narrative saved;
- Select and copy all of the text you wish to add;
- Open up Notepad (PC) or TextEdit (Mac) (Both FREE programs that should already on your computers. Notepad is under your Programs under “Accessories”);
- Paste the copied text into the program;
- In Notepad, once you paste, it converts it to plain text;
- In TextEdit – go to “Format” select “Make Plain Text”;
- Now you can safely copy and paste this unformatted text into your photo book caption box;
- Make sure to run spell check if available in the photo book software program and ask someone to proofread it for you;
- Always double-check your book using the “Preview” function
I tried your copy and paste method for placing text into an online photo book. It didn’t work. I have a macbook pro and I used TextEdit – copy and paste didn’t work, nor control C and control V. The company is Shutterfly. Do you know if that option is available with that company – or do you have other companies to recommend that allow that function. Thank you.
Nevermind – I figured out how to get this to work on Shutterfly. Thank you for your instructions!
good to hear!
Okay, I need you to elaborate further. I cannot reproduce this. I don’t know how I managed to paste on to the Shutterfly text box. Could you add a bit more detail?
I am making a photobook for a birthday gift and friends have sent pictures plus a longish birthday note to be included on a whole page, or box.
I am wondering how I can convert my long text notes into a photo file so that the text can be sent to fill a whole page (replacing a photo)?
Hope that makes sense.
Thanks for any help you can offer!
I’m not sure I understand your question unless perhaps the note is something you wrote by hand and therefore want that to show up in its current form? That would be the only reason why you would need to convert it to a photo file. You didn’t mention which company you’re using, but for most, it should all be the same. Most companies would have a full page of text as one of the pre-made layouts, or you could just create a text box by dragging it to cover the entire page. Then I would recommend copying and pasting text as I outlined in this article. There is no need to do any conversion. Hope that answered your question? If not let me know…
I’ve been reading your comments about adding text into your photobooks. In my case I have a lot of running text, not just text that goes into a photo caption box. I’m really trying to produce a vacation journal with a long story but with lots of pictures. Is that possible? Appreciate your help.
Yes you can definitely do that, I would just recommend using the process I mention at the end of this post. You will probably have to copy paste the chunk of text that you want to use, there will not likely be any type of autoflow where it will link the text boxes (like you have in pro design software like InDesign or Quark for instance), so it will have to be more manually done, but it isn’t too hard. I’m doing that right now in my pregnancy journal.
How do you make a book?
Please see my series on how to make a photo book.
Eleanor Hall says
I did some copy / pasting with a birthday book last year. Yes, I did check for converted text and odd characters, but also found that my text at times was too long for the textbox, and made sure to check that all the words were showing up. If not, I either reduced the size of the font, or increased the size of the text box. It’s kind of tricky sometimes because the book preview wasn’t always full sized on my computer screen.
yes – agreed on all points! I sometimes increase the size of my window on my screen which sometimes doesn’t show the greatest resolution, but helps me look at the finer details like text. Text is very tricky though!
I’m trying to add text to the cover of the cloth Shutterfly book. I’m on the phone with them now. It seems there is not a way to have a title only pictures. Any suggestions?
If you can only add a photo, perhaps if you add the title to the jpeg file itself and then upload that, it’s a workaround that should work!