New Year - New Desktop Wallpaper

By
Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

My annual custom is to change my computer desktop wallpaper along with the flip of the calendar to the new year. In the snapshot below, you can see my desktop update just completed. The desktop wallpaper in this case is a composition of a couple of recent photos along with a mini calendar. I find it very convenient to include a calendar on the desktop for looking up dates.

First, let me give you a written how-to of the steps so that you can make something similar to this for your own desktop. At the end of this post is a how-to demonstration video in case you learn better by watching instead of reading.

In my recent blog signature post, I had mentioned how those that have the latest versions of Microsoft Office Suite primarily use Word and Excel. Included in the suite are other programs people are often not as aware of. In the Windows version of the suite, there is an app called Microsoft Publisher. The mac version of the suite doesn't get Publisher (for some reason), but it does have PowerPoint. Both Publisher and PowerPoint make it very easy to do page compositions where you are mixing different photos and text like you see above.

You will want to do a page setup sizing of 16" wide by 9" tall. This is a special custom size. It is the proper proportions that match the screen ratio of our monitors. If were to just do a layout on a 8-1/2x11 paper sheet, it wouldn't match the proportions of your screen. Since we are making desktop wallpaper, we want an exact ratio match.

You can find both the size setting and the background color setting under the Page Design tab. For the background color, I prefer the darker colors so that it doesn't strain your eyes when looking at it for any length of time.

After your page is ready, you can simply drag and drop whatever photo JPGs you want to use. Once they are on the workspace, you can size them by dragging in/out on any of the four corners and move them into whatever position works for you. To rotate any image, use the handle at the very top of the image once you have selected it. On the format tab, you can also pick from various preset styles. For instance I used the white frame option so it looks like photographs used to look long before we were digital.

The next part of my desktop wallpaper will be the calendar. For this, I like to use timeanddate.com and specifically the page that creates printable pdf files. That link will take you to page. The pdf version of the calendar will create a higher resolution source that you can take better snapshots from. The calendar generator will create an entire year. However, in my case, I like to take snapshots of 4 months at time. Otherwise the calendar would take up a large portion of the desktop space. I want the majority of the desktop to be for photos and the calendar will just be the minor portion.

 

Once we have created and opened up the calendar pdf, the best results will be produced when you zoom the portion that you want to capture to be as large as possible on the screen. If you aren't familiar with how to capture screenshots, take a look at this post of mine where I give more detailed instructions.

You could paste the snapshot calendar directly onto your composition. In the illustration below, the bottom calendar is how that looks. The calendar has a white background box. This is okay and you could go with that. However, if you want to take it to another level, let's look how we can invert the calendar color so we get white text. Further by making the background transparent, the main color of our wallpaper shows through.

 

If you have Photoshop, this of course is a great choice to do the steps noted above. Many people though don't have Photoshop. So let's take a look at a great web app that does much of what Photoshop does (and it is free!) The site is photopea.com

 

When you take your calendar snapshot, save it to a file. Once you have the photopea window started then you can open the calendar file that you created. Use the magic wand tool with the contiguous setting OFF and click on the background area. This will create a selection of all your white background. (The contiguous off setting will allow the selection to get the areas also even inside the letters and numbers). Once you have the selection, press the Delete key. You'll see the background area turn to a checkerboard pattern. This indicates that it is now transparent. Use the Ctrl+D (Command+D) shortcut to clear the selection.

We still have black text, so the next thing to do will be to invert the image. You can do this through the image menu > adjustment > invert (or just use the shortcut Ctrl+I/Command+I). That's it, use the export command to save a PNG file that you can insert into your desktop wallpaper composition.

Drag and drop your white on transparent version of your calendar into the Publisher app. Then move it and size it how you like it. To give my calendar a little emphasis, I added a slightly darker color background rectangle that you can see in the above illustration. You'll need to use the "send to back" tool in cases like this (otherwise the new rectangle would appear on top and blocking the view of the calendar)

The Text Box tool will allow you to place text on the canvas. Let's use that tool in order to put the 2020 year label. You'll want that to be white text. You can also set the size and the font to your taste.

Finally, you'll want to remember to save your file occasionally as you go through these steps so that your work is safe. Further, by saving the publisher file for future reference, you can update it with the next calendar or photo choices in the future.

The last step is to export as JPG so that you can actually set it as your desktop. In publisher, you can do the "Save As" command and choose the file type to JPG. I like to save these types of files in the Pictures subfolder of your user folder. Once you have saved the file, find the file in the file explorer, and right click on it and choose "Set as Desktop Background"

Now if the above sounds interesting to you and you are ready to try it out, you may want to watch the how-to video below to see the various steps shown for you to learn and follow along.

Recommendation: once starting the video, click the full screen button in the lower right corner to see the details better of the tutorial.

 

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Craig Daniels
This blog is all about technology and helping you to use it smarter! Your digital footprint is your chance to attract new clients. What kind of impression are you making via your website, blog, and social media? We’ll be talking about that! Are you as productive as you can be? What apps might help you out? Do you know how to use all the best tools inside the apps? I enjoy photography and videography, you can expect to see those topics also on this blog.
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PS - get ready for some homework… :) 

Comments (13)

Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Craig Daniels another lesson to bookmark and focus on later.... wishing you and your lovely family a Happy and Healthy 2020...

Jan 01, 2020 08:18 AM
Craig Daniels

thanks Barbara! hoping your upcoming year is fantastic

Jan 01, 2020 09:39 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Thanks Craig, I have some tasks to take care of next week. Your suggestions for our blog signatures are in the queue. This is also a a great idea, I like seeing a calendar - makes sense.  Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family. 

Jan 01, 2020 08:34 AM
Craig Daniels

Hi Debb - thanks so much!! wishing a great year for you!

Jan 01, 2020 09:41 AM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Thank you Craig Daniels Happy New Year to you and your family too!

Jan 01, 2020 08:45 AM
Craig Daniels

thanks so much John! and to you!

Jan 01, 2020 09:42 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Craig,
I just want to say Happy New Year and thank you for all the amazing tutorials you share with us.  You're awesome.

Jan 01, 2020 08:54 AM
Craig Daniels

thanks so much Carol, always appreciated!! :)

Jan 01, 2020 09:43 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Craig, for sharing these helpful instructions.

Image result for happy new year 2020 images

Jan 01, 2020 10:01 AM
Craig Daniels

hi Roy, thanks very much! the best to you as well!

Jan 03, 2020 05:14 AM
Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service 661-714-1643

Craig Daniels , your tutorials are fantastic and with so many details that even I should be able to do something like this. Bookmarked!

Jan 01, 2020 12:06 PM
Craig Daniels

Hi Eva, that's great. I hope you have success in your creation :)

Jan 03, 2020 05:14 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ
602-380-4886

Happy New Year Craig Daniels ! Yea it's 2020!!  I just changed my wallpaper about a month ago to reflect my passion of nature and hiking.  Love it! So inspiring every day and soooo peaceful!

Jan 01, 2020 01:30 PM
Craig Daniels

It's fun Anna to have something on our desktops that make us happy. It's like a window to our world isn't it? :)

Jan 03, 2020 05:15 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

This is the guy you want to sit next to in high school & college......

Jan 02, 2020 06:09 AM
Craig Daniels

I like this comment :) :) :)

Jan 03, 2020 05:15 AM
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Another great post on how to make updates on your computer. Have a blessed day. 

Jan 02, 2020 10:45 AM
Craig Daniels

It's always good when we can make things better, glad you enjoyed! thanks!

Jan 03, 2020 05:16 AM
Graziella Bruner
NCS Premier Real Estate - Detroit, MI
Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County

Thank You and Happy New Year!  Great instructions, very detailed. I'm going to apply it for my desktop at the office.  Thanks again, Have a blessed New Year.

Jan 02, 2020 03:48 PM
Craig Daniels

that's awesome, I hope you enjoy your new desktop :)

Jan 03, 2020 05:16 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Hi Craig Daniels ,

Another excellent post to book mark.Thank you the tutorial is excellent. Happy New Year to you and your adorable family!

Jan 02, 2020 05:38 PM
Craig Daniels

thanks Dorie, love that. Hope you have a great 2020! :)

Jan 03, 2020 05:17 AM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Thanks for sharing your information. If you  could set up this project for busy or lazy people, what would your fee be? You can respond privately: my email address is prolifestylesolutions@usa.com. Thanks so much and all the best to your continued success.

Jan 02, 2020 10:39 PM
Craig Daniels

Hi Kimo, good to see you. I'll send you a PM. thanks!

Jan 03, 2020 05:17 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

Excellent tutorial, Craig! Thanks for sharing it.

 

Feb 04, 2021 03:29 PM