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Stationery styles

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Copying and saving the original stationery   Changing pictures and background

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Let's look at the styles.   Watching your changes   How to see what you're doing   
Take care while changing things.   Changing styles line by line   The writing area 
Padding   Borders   Border styles   Colour and background   "Color" means text colour
Background   Size of text—Paragraphs   Arranging pictures   Centring a picture   

We began by assembling this piece of stationery.

periwinkle stationery

Then, by altering a couple of things, we changed it to this.

freesia stationery version 1

or something similar.

That very pale blue writing area looks stark against yellow, and the border doesn't seem right, either.

How about the text? Does grey go well, or might brown or dark green be better? Might you prefer a different font?

Let's look at the styles.

<style type="text/css">
body {margin-top:3em;
font-family:"comic sans ms", verdana, helvetica, sans-serif;}
.tab1 {padding:20px;
p {margin-top:0em;text-align:left;font-size:14pt;}
.lt {float:left;margin-right:30px;}


Watching your changes

How to see what you're doing

You'll want to see changes as you make them, so double click the html file to have it open in your browser—in this case, Internet Explorer is best, because Outlook Express is part of IE and they understand each other. (If you have any paths in a piece of stationery, other browsers just won't display it for you properly—but we're not using paths in this stationery.)

You'll also need to have the file open in Notepad at the same time. You'll probably manage this by right clicking and choosing Edit, or by using Send To > Notepad if you have Notepad on your Send To menu.

Each time you make a change in Notepad and save it, switch to IE and hit the Refresh button—or tap F5 on your keyboard.

Don't be afraid to make changes. The more you change things and see the results, the more familiar you'll become with all the different effects you can achieve.

Take care while changing things.

The styles have lots of punctuation—colons and semi-colons, little dots and some curly brackets. Be very careful not to remove any of them accidentally.

Changing styles line by line

The top margin probably doesn't need to be changed, although you could make it 2em for less top space or 4em for more. As a measurement "em" means "the size of an em dash —"

The next line suggests fonts. The rules are: (1.) put the one you really want at the beginning of a little list, but always finish the list with either serif or sans-serif in case the recipient has none of the fonts you name; and, (2.) if the name of the font has two or more words, put quotes around that name. So you might write

Georgia, "Book Antiqua", "Times New Roman", serif

The writing area

Now, .tab1, which is a one-celled table forming a plain area for your typing.   top


"Padding" makes a space between the edge of the table and whatever is inside, so that pictures and text don't touch the border. You can make that narrower if you like: anything down to about 5px.


Borders have color, width and style.

Border width also can be whatever you like. If you want to get rid of the border, change the width to 0px.

Border styles

Border styles include solid, double, dotted, dashed, inset, outset, groove and ridge. Colours appear different with different border styles and widths, as you'll notice with some of these swatches.

10px_double_ffffcc.gif [100*100] [5008bytes] 10px_ridge_ffffcc.gif 4px_ridge_ffffcc.gif 12px_dotted_maroon.gif 12px_double_maroon.gif 12px_ridge_maroon.gif 1px_dashed_maroon.gif 1px_dotted_maroon.gif 20px_dotted_maroon.gif 4px_double_8b6802.gif 4px_ridge_8b6802.gif 8px_dotted_green.gif 8px_double_green.gif 8px_groove_green.gif 8px_inset_green.gif 8px_outset_green.gif 8px_ridge_green.gif 8px_dashed_green.gif

(#ffffcc is a very pale yellow like this page and #8b6802 is a medium brown)

Colour and background

"Color" means text colour

so this part means grey text on an off-white background. In the styles, as well as in html, American spelling is compulsory, so "gray".   top


Some colours can be written as is. They are aqua, black, blue, fuchsia, gray, green, lime, maroon, navy, olive, purple, red, silver, teal, white and yellow. For more subtle colours, you'll need to use some sort help. I find Color Cop very simple and easy to use. Considering the picture we've used, green would probably be good for this stationery. A fairly dark green is #006600. An even darker green is #003300.


Background is the colour behind the text. Without styled stationery, background would be the all-over background colour. In this instance, it's the colour of the writing area.

Always try to have a strong contrast between the text colour and the background colour; the most important thing about an email, on stationery or not, is that it can be easily read.

I felt that with the small yellow tile this combination looked rather nice.


My freesia stationery now looks like this.

freesia stationery

Mm. Or maybe I prefer this.   top


with green text and bordernormal size border

Size of text—Paragraphs

This line describes a paragraph. In html for the web, you wouldn't give a font size in points, but in OE/WM stationery, that's the way it's done.

p {margin-top:0em;text-align:left;font-size:14pt;}

Arranging pictures

.lt {float:left;margin-right:30px;}

This is a special arrangement for a picture. It says to move the picture to the left and to allow text to flow to the right of it. There's no need for a margin on the left, since the padding makes a space. The margin on the right is needed, though, so that writing doesn't bump right up against the picture.

If I wanted a picture to be on the right of the text area, I'd write this instead.   top

.lt {float:right;margin-left:30px;}

You could change the 30px margin if you wanted to make the space between picture and text a bit less. Anything under 10px would probably be too narrow.

Centring a picture

If your picture is nearly as wide as the writing area, you'll almost certainly want to centre it. If you want to centre a picture, you'd go to this part of the email.

<img src="periwinkle0598b.jpg" width="288" height="315"
class="lt" alt="periwinkle flower">

I'd remove the bit that says class="lt" and then put center tags around the whole image tag, like this.

<center><img src="periwinkle0598b.jpg" width="288" height="315"
 alt="periwinkle flower"></center>

Have fun!

Saving the original stationery

This page gives you a sample to save and assemble.

Changing pictures and background

There are tips here to help you change the picture and the background.

Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you. My email address is here.

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