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Producing a printable calendar


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#1 fred8033

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 09:42 AM

Does anyone have a good solution for producing a printable calendar? As much as I like our web vendor, SOAR, and had been in the past a huge proponent for them in our area, the web vendor has been a total failure for providing a printable calendar. Our unit (both troop and pack) views our web sites as far more for the parent then the scout. In fact, the last thing our troop wants to do is send the scout to the internet for any troop related activity (registering for camp, checking attendance lists, ...). For our Boy Scouts, parents and prospective parents, we'd like to be able to hand them a short (one page, maybe two) page calendar that represents the next year. This means every entry would need to be at most one line and briefly formatted. We'd like to hand it out at courts of honor, at open houses and on request. Right now we are screwed. It's just too hard to get two or three different calendars to match up and do it continualy and have it accurate every moment. So we'd like to focus on keeping all data in one place and having it print the calendars. Is there another web vendor with this capability? TroopTrack.com looks very promising. We are tempted to switch if they work out. But I'm just not sure. Any constructive suggestion is welcome. We are really desparate for a solution.
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#2 Fehler

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 10:46 AM

I've found Google Calendar to be a great solution. Can be linked directly onto a Google Site website, can be subscribed to for the people with hand-helds doing their scheduling, and can be easily printed (well, exported to a .pdf which can be easily e-mailed/printed) in either a standard month/day format, or the "agenda" format, listing all the events for the next 6 months on one page. Multiple users (with Google Account logins) can add/edit events. Multiple calendars (if all are Google and shared public) can be viewed at once, so I have my personal calendar, my Pack calendar, the Troop, District, and the Pack-down-the-street calendar all viewable at the same time, or I can click a calendar on or off as needed.
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#3 Papadaddy

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:00 AM

I used to use Calendar Creator when it was still an MS-DOS program. (yes, I am a dinosaur). Just checked and v12 is out from Broderbund for $30.
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#4 fred8033

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:17 AM

I should admit I'm disappointed in the SOAR vendor. I've asked for this feature for four years and every request has been blown off and instead the new feature sets have to do with pretty colors or other esoteric stuff.
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#5 fred8033

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:22 AM

FehlerI'm not sure how you got the Google web site to print six months of calenadr on one page. I can't see that option. With Google Agenda layout, our calendar is printed as 10 pages. The web page Google "Agenda" calendar is close when viewed on the screen. Each date is one line. If we could remove the horizontal line separting dates, it would compact futher. There are other issues too such as all the surrounding junk and multi-day events taking multiple lines. But the Google "Agenda" - PRINT - result is bad. It creates five lines per entry. One for the date and only the date. Another line for times and title. Another line for where. Another line for calendar name. Another for created by. AND ... another for a blank line separator. Plus a multi-day event is represented once for each day. So summer camp schedule would require a full page instead of just one line item. The Google "Agenda" print result is ten pages for our troop. That's really not compact at all. Got 80 scouts in one unit and 50 in another. That's 800 pages and 500 pages of paper. 400 pages and 250 if double sided. .... We just need something like the following ... that we can quickly print out. SOAR can't do it. Google can't. Looking for an option ---- 2011 --------------------------------------- Mon Jan 16 6:45pm Troop meeting location Fri Jan 20 - 22 6:00pm Campout - Winter sports location Mon Jan 23 6:30pm PLC leaders meeting location Mon Jan 23 7:00pm committee meeting location Thu Feb 2 7:00pm Roundtable location Fri Feb 3 - 4 6:00pm Camp out - Northern adv location Mon Feb 6 6:45pm Troop meeting location Mon Feb 20 6:45pm Troop meeting location Mon Feb 27 6:30pm PLC leaders meeting location Mon Feb 27 7:00pm Committee meeting location> (lined up by column ... can't figure out how to do it here)
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#6 fred8033

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:35 AM

Importance... - for open houses - for prospective parents - for during PLC meetings - for during committee meetings - for parents that just don't read email or browse the web - for scouts to keep in the handbook Just thinking about it. It's really really needed. As much as our scoutmaster likes our web solution, he's grumbled for years at not having a good printed calendar to refer too after stopping maintaining a second version in Microsoft Word.(This message has been edited by fred8033)
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#7 qwazse

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 12:13 PM

Fred, I felt your pain. I grew up in the days of "digital standard run-off". I get blank stares from my IT staff when I try to describe that I want data sans borders and colors. That's why I learned to use the Google Calendar API to generate a text only version of our calendar in Javascript. No bells or whistles, just an outline (event, location, details if any) and the calendar App embedded below it: http://www.pitt.edu/...1/Calendar.html I usually don't print it out, I cut-and paste, but you get the idea. Find the hacker in your troop, give him a webmaster patch, and have him copy and twist my code for your nefarious purposes.
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#8 Basementdweller

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 02:01 PM

I fourth or fifth support google calendar...... We also print it as an agenda.
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#9 fred8033

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 02:13 PM

basementdweller wrote: "We also print it as an agenda." basementdweller... Is it nice and compact or sort of clunky looking? How many pages does it take to print out your yearly calendar?
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#10 Papadaddy

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 02:14 PM

Looks like you could put your events/dates in an Access database, then format and print a report.
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#11 fred8033

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 02:30 PM

Custom Access DB .... But then I'm back to either #1 - Maintaining data in two places (custom DB and SOAR) ... and confusion as we email the "printable" version between people to get it updated and printed as necessary. We so much wanted to move away from that as we have with emailing Excel files of email addresses. #2 - Deleting the SOAR calendar data and not having available for use. I'm sort of in a stuck position with SOAR and the calendar stuff. Not sure what to do. I think I'll try the custom programming Google scripts suggested earlier. But the whole frustration is we adopted SOAR to get away from that.(This message has been edited by fred8033)
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#12 qwazse

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 02:45 PM

... the whole frustration is we adopted SOAR to get away from that. You can run but you cannot hide! The number of times I said "some moron had to have programmed that already"....
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#13 Fehler

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 05:00 PM

I have a Pack, not a Troop, so the number of multi-day events is one a year. I have January-May Pack events on two pages (not including den meetings, they do their own scheduling). You don't have to print all calendars at once in Google Calender, you can break it out to a "Meeting Calender" and a "Camping Calender". Do you need to say the "where" on every meeting?
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#14 fred8033

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 05:32 PM

For our troop, we have two or three troop meetings a month, a camp out (two to seven days), an activity, district meetings, special training and other extra stuff. It's usually six entries minimum a month. Some months have ten entries. Each Google calendar entry takes five lines plus one blank line (six total). Twelve months * 8 entries average * six = 576 lines. Add more for multi-day events. Assuming 60 lines per page, that's ten pages. For our pack, it might be workable as we only have two or three pack events per month. BUT ... for committee meetings... , it's useful to have a list of when everyone is meeting to plan out activities and special events. That is easily ten per month. Try to bring a useful calendar to review at committee meetings. ... Fehler wrote:: "I have a Pack, not a Troop, so the number of multi-day events is one a year. I have January-May Pack events on two pages (not including den meetings, they do their own scheduling)." That's five months. Probably two events per month. Twelve events requiring two pages. At least that can be one sheet of paper both sides. ... I'm just sort of stuck with no options for a reasonable printed calendar that is not custom typed every time.
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#15 Fehler

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:30 AM

If I can be honest, I don't think your problem is the software. You have too much information, its starting to no longer be useful. District meetings and special trainings 6 months out? Why do non-PLC scouts need to know when PLC meetings are? Simplify a printed "Parent's Information" calendar, and then tell the SM/ASMs/MCs to look it up on-line and print their own if they need it. Also, have you tried printing 2 sheets/page in Adobe Reader's Print Setup? Or even four sheets/page? With that, and duplex, you can shrink a 20 page monster down to a trim 5-page booklet.
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#16 fred8033

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:54 AM

Fehler wrote:: "You have too much information, its starting to no longer be useful. District meetings and special trainings 6 months out? Why do non-PLC scouts need to know when PLC meetings are? Simplify a printed "Parent's Information" calendar, and then tell the SM/ASMs/MCs to look it up on-line and print their own if they need it." We are just trying to show a similar amount of info to what we showed when we authored it in Microsoft Word. - PLCs are included because roles change. Elections are every six months. We want the scouts to get used to the same calendar because they will be on that PLC more than once. Also, the "program patrol" needs to know when they need to plan activities and when the info is needed. It's also useful because scouts sometimes drop paperwork or equipment off during the committee half of the PLC meeting. - Round tables are listed because that's when the youth OA rep needs attend his OA meetings. Also, it's when EBORs are done and other special training / activities occur. We just want everyone working off one calendar that has the necessary info. We used to be able to do it very easily in the past. Not so much now. I realize we could shrink founds, print four pages one one page, etc. But at some point it just looks sloppy and not something you want to represent the quality of your pack or troop. Thus the reason I'm hoping to find a solution to creating an automated printable calendar. Our web vendor doesn't support it. Google's printed calendar is poor.
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#17 Deaf Scouter

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:09 PM

Why not change your routine of how you do things? I would keep the calendar format and tell parents to start using the Scout calendar as their main calendar. Print out the first one at the beginning of the year and put in some kind of thing report file type folder or a notebook. Use a 3 months cycle of update. End of September, print out December's. Instead of you printing all the copies, tell the parents to do their own. Hope this helps as I can't change the computer program for the life of me but I NEED my SCOUT calendar.. *grins
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#18 fred8033

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:24 PM

Thanks for the response. We've adopted some of what your saying. - Our plan now is to hand out updated calendars three or four times a year. - We've found a way using Google scripts and Google docs to auto-generate a "printable" calendar from our official calendar. Looks pretty good too. - We're able to fit about 18 months of events on one double sided page. We've left space at the end for posting a KEY (what's a PLC, etc) and for listing events more than 18 months out (high adv, etc).
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#19 qwazse

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:31 PM

If you can lay out the steps, I'd greatly appreciate it. I learned that JavaScript doesn't mesh with our Google Site, and I tried to wrap it in a Google Gadget, but it's still not "humming" as smoothly as I would like. I know a little more hacking might come up with a resolution, but that would cut into my time replying to threads. :)
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#20 fred8033

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 02:19 PM

Qwaze - Drop me a private message with your email address and I will forward you the script and the result. It's not a perfect solution. And google scripts can be a bit flaky. And it's not 100% automatic. But it works and it's quick and easy once you've done it once.
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