Monday, January 25, 2010

How to Make a Knitting Chart in Excel (Part 3 - Sharing Your Finished Charts)

Welcome to the third article on how to make a knitting chart in Excel. Part 1 looked at setting up the spreadsheet so you would have a working grid. Part 2 gave you tips on how to actually draw your chart. Now I will give you instructions on how to save and share your chart with the world.

Remember: to see a larger version of each screen shot click on the thumbnail.

I'm using Microsoft Excel 2003 on a PC, so the location of some of the menus and tools may vary depending on your version. The general technique should work just fine for you. These instructions will give you a square grid. Keep in mind that knit stitches are not perfect squares.)

Sharing Your Chart
  1. Finalize Your Chart. Using the borders toolbar (see Part 2 for how to locate this toolbar) you can clean up your chart so the grid is only pronounced around your chart.

    The borders toolbar from the Formatting toolbar.

    Comparison of charts with an "unclean" grid (left), no grid (middle) and a grid only (right) around the chart itself.

  2. The example chart is 21x21 stitches. To make it easier for the reader, I sometimes choose to use the "Thick Box Border" to mark every 5 or 10 stitches. This can reduce counting.

    The "Thick Box Border" button (left) and what a chart would look like after adding the thicker grid every 5 sts (right). These thick borders are more helpful and obvious if there is a lot of background in your chart.

  3. If you chart is really long and complicated, you may want to add numbers to the rows. This will enable you to refer to them by name in your pattern. It is your choice whether you want row 1 to be at the top or bottom, it really depends on how you are incorporating the chart into your pattern. (There is no harm starting with row 21 of a pattern in the instructions!)

    If you have been following my instructions for making the grid then the default font size (10) will be too large for our grid, in both height and width. Change the font size to 6 and widen the column so you can see double digit numbers. I also like to make the numbers bold and a contrasting (non-black) color.

    Numbers too small (left) and adjusted column width for smaller numbers (right). It is worth enlarging these thumbnails as the details are hard to see here.

  4. I personally choose a very simple and non-elegant method to bring my chart from excel to a publishable format. The screenshot. There is a button on your keyboard that says PrtSc (print screen) or something similar. This will capture the image that you see on your screen into your clipboard so you can paste it into another program. Here are some references on how to take a screenshot in Windows or Max OS X.

    Before taking the screenshot, you want to make your image as large as possible. Go to the View Menu --> Zoom and select a custom value so your chart takes up as much of the screen as possible.

    How to find the zoom tool

    Adjust the zoom until your chart takes up most of the screen.

    If you want to eliminate the background grid completely, you can take the screenshot from the Print Preview screen, but even with the zoom button you may not be able to zoom in as much.

  5. After you're happy with you zoomed in image, take a screenshot.
  6. Copy the captured file into Microsoft Paint and save it was a bitmap or jpeg. (Bitmap is the default of Paint, and is what I use).

  7. Crop the file using your favorite image editing software. I personally use Adobe Photoshop, but there are many free programs available that will let you crop.
  8. Distribute your chart! Upload to your flicker or picasa account, blog or email it to friends.

Go Back to Part 1 (Setting up your chart)
Go Back to Part 2 (Drawing your chart)