How to make a simple year planner in Numbers.app


How to make a simple year planner in Numbers.app
Mac Tip #518, 11 January 2012

It’s the time of year when people make plans, and for that a calendar comes in handy. But an actual calendar isn’t always what you want. So how about a list of dates instead? I set up a simple year planner in Numbers ’09 (NZ$24.99, US$19.99). Here’s how you can too (or just download mine, if it’s easier).

Numbers is a spreadsheet app from Apple. You may use Microsoft Excel, or some other app. The same principles should apply whatever you use. This Tip is written using Numbers ’09 and Lion but it should work for any version of the app or the operating system.

Quick Start

  1. Create an empty spreadsheet in Numbers.
  2. Put a date such as 01 January 2012 in a cell such as B2.
  3. Set the cell format to date, and select the date format you prefer.
  4. Fill down to cell B366. (2012 is a leap year, with 366 days.)
  5. Add colours and other formatting features if you wish.
  6. Add columns as needed for events and activities.

Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.

Prefer to download my template for a 2012 year planner? I have a general template and one that includes New Zealand Public holidays (regional holidays not marked). Download the General 2012 year planner template (115 Kb zip file). Download the New Zealand 2012 year planner template (115 Kb zip file).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10BFUvZSRD4

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Create a new blank spreadsheet

Open Numbers and select New from the File menu. The Template Chooser appears with the Blank template selected.

Click the Choose button or press Return to create a new blank spreadsheet.

Enter the starting date

Click in the cell where you want to first date to appear. When you create a new blank spreadsheet cell B2 may already be selected. If you start there it leaves room for headings above and to the left.

Type a date such as 01 January 2012.

You could instead type 1/1/2012, if you prefer.

Press the Return key to enter the date and move down to the next cell.

Set the cell format to date, and choose the date format.

Set the cell format to date, and choose the date format.

Set the cell format

Numbers ’09 probably recognised what you entered as a date, but it’s a good idea to make sure. Also, you can choose how to actually display that date — you may prefer the name of the month spelled out, day first or month first, and so on.

Select the cell with the date in it (probably B2) and choose Show Inspector from the View menu. The Inspector window appears.

If necessary, click on the Cells inspector (the 4th icon from the left at the top of the Inspector window) to display cell formatting options. The icon for the Cells inspector is a small square containing the number 42.

From the first pop-up menu — Cell Format choose Date and Time.

From the Date pop-up menu choose the format you prefer.

From the Time pop-up menu choose None.

You’ve now finished with the Inspector for the moment. Close it if you wish.

Fill down to enter a series of dates.

Fill down to enter a series of dates. I gave the starting cell a background colour so all the filled cells automatically get that colour too.

Fill down

Make sure the cell with the date in it is selected. When it’s selected it has a line around it, and at the bottom right corner of the cell, where the border lines meet, is a tiny + symbol or a tiny circle. Drag that + symbol downwards.

The cursor changes to a black + symbol with a white outline when you’re in the right place. Otherwise it’s a white + symbol with a black outline.

As you drag you should see sequential dates appear in the cells.

If instead the whole date moves to another cell then press Command (⌘) Z to Undo what you did and try again. Be sure to drag the tiny + symbol.

When you reach around February 13 you probably won’t be able to drag any further as you’ll run out of rows.

Make more rows

To make more rows look for the tiny grey handle below the number of the final row. Drag that handle downwards.

Make more rows by dragging the handle beneath the number of the final row.

Make more rows by dragging the handle beneath the number of the final row.

As you drag rows are added and the page scrolls so you can continue to drag. Stop dragging when you have enough rows.

Now scroll back up to where you stopped filling in dates. Select the last date you filled and again drag the tiny + symbol downwards until you’ve filled dates for the whole year.

If you keep dragging, dates for the next year will be filled too. The page should scroll as you drag, allowing you to fill dates for the whole year.

Add formatting features

You could do this step before you fill all the dates, or afterwards. It’s up to you. If you apply formatting to the starter cell, that formatting will apply to all the cells you fill.

Select the cells you wish to format.

Tip: click in the first cell, then scroll to the last one and hold down the Shift (⇧) key before you click. That will select all the cells from the first to the last one you click on.

With one or more cells selected choose Show Inspector from the View menu. The Inspector window appears.

If necessary, click on the Graphic inspector (the 7th icon from the left at the top of the Inspector window) to display Fill, Stroke, Shadow and Opacity formatting options. The icon is a small square containing an overlapping square and circle.

Choose colours, lines and so on from the options in the Graphic inspector. I found it handy to set the background colour for each month to one of 3 colours to help distinguish adjacent months.

Select some cells and press Command (⌘) T to call up the Fonts inspector to set font size, family and colour.

Add headings for columns

Now that you have dates in one column, perhaps column B, you can add information to the other columns. I use one column per project, such as Tech Universe, MacTips, and so on.

Use my template

To use the template I’ve created download the zip file. Double click the downloaded zip file to expand it. Then double click the template file.

Numbers.app should open and create a new, unnamed, spreadsheet already filled with 2012 dates.

Edit it and add your own information to suit.

Save your document

Once you’ve created your planner save it in a place and with a name that will mean something to you.

What do you think? Did you try this Tip out? Tell us in the Comments online how this Tip helped you.

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