Learn how to make a calendar in Adobe Illustrator. This simple tutorial walks you through making a reusable calendar template in Illustrator that allows you to create calendars without all the typing. Plus, there's a free .AI template for you to make your own.
I love making my own printable calendars to share. Calendars make a great digital product to sell or give away. Of course, they're great to actually use as well!
Don't want to make your own? Download this printable calendar for 2021.
How to Make a Calendar in Illustrator
Making a calendar in Illustrator is not the easiest process. This post needs a disclaimer that it's difficult to get perfect the first time. I have yet to replicate the process perfectly 2 times in a row without difficulty.
So why am I sharing then? Well, if you mess with it enough, the process works. But it might take a bit of resizing to get the numbers to line up perfectly.
I'm basing my process off of this post, which works for a portrait calendar (it's still a bit finicky though.)
This DIY calendar version fits a landscape calendar.
I'm also providing a calendar template file. Scroll to the bottom to download the .AI file. It's fully editable in Adobe Illustrator.
Set Up Your Document
- Make 12 artboards that are 11" x 8.5".
- Set the color mode to CMYK.
- Set it to 300 PPI.
Make the Main Calendar Grid
- Select the rectangular grid tool (in pull down menu of line tool.)
- Click on the artboard to pull up the menu box for the rectangular grid tool.
- Type in a height: 5.25 in and width: 9.25 in. It may need to be changed later on.
- Type 5 for horizontal dividers and 6 for vertical dividers. This gives you a 7 x 6 square grid which is perfect for those longer months. Click okay.
Making the Days of the Week Grid
- Make another grid that's 9.25 in wide and .35 in high. (You can make it higher later if needed.)
- Type 0 horizontal dividers and 6 vertical dividers. This makes 1 long row that is divided and has 7 boxes.
- Resize it to fit the other grid if necessary.
- Hit the type tool and click on the artboard.
- Type each day of the week in each box. Since they don't change each month, we're doing it the easy way.
- Change your font and size as desired and center each day of the week in each box. I haven't found an automatic way to do this, so I just eyeball it.
- Select and group the days of the week to the grid. When you resize it later, everything will stay in the right place.
- Group the days of the week grid with the main calendar grid.
Making the Calendar in Illustrator
This part is kind of a pain in the butt, but it will allow you to easily change the days of the week by deleting or hitting enter on each month instead of retyping every single number for every single month.
This is great if you offer printables for a blog like I do and need to update a simple calendar every year.
- Hit the type tool and click on the artboard.
- Type 1-7, hitting enter between each number and after the 7. (You will add the other numbers in a bit.)
- Click on the selection tool (arrow.)
- In the type menu at the top of the screen, select "Convert to Area Type."
- Select "Area Type Options" from the type menu.
- The box with options will appear. Click on preview to watch your changes as they happen.
- For the width, enter: 9.561 in.
- For the height, enter 6.229 in.
- For the rows, enter 7.
- For the columns, enter 7.
- The span for rows will be .676 in.
- The span for columns is 1.298 in.
- Leave both "fixed" boxes unchecked.
- The row gutter is .25 in.
- The column gutter is .079 in.
- Check to make sure your width and height are still what you typed in. If not, change them back.
- The inset spacing is .188 in.
- Change "first baseline" to "ascent" using the drop down menu.
- Change the min to 0.563.
- Hit Okay.
The result might not look correct. Drag the sizing around using the bottom right corner point until you get 1-7 aligned correctly in the top row.
If you try to resize using the side, top or bottom points, it will cause you headache. So trust me and only use the right bottom corner!
Typing the Rest of the Calendar Numbers
- Double click on the 7 to get a typing cursor.
- Hit enter and type 8-31, hitting enter between each number.
- It might be necessary to realign the grid at this point. Remember to use the bottom right corner point!
Finishing the Calendars
When you have your calendar aligned correctly and at a good size, add the month at the top of the calendar.
Then copy and paste the whole thing onto every other artboard. (You can change the month names when you're correcting the dates.)
Aligning can be tricky because the number grid doesn't align correctly. Horizontal align center the main calendar grid to the artboard. Place the number grid over that.
Changing the Number Locations
So obviously not every month starts on a Sunday or has 31 days. It's time to pull out a real calendar to see when your month starts.
The first day of the month can be moved by clicking on it and hitting enter until you get to the right day. Hit delete to move it backwards (for example moving from Saturday to Tuesday.)
Delete the numbers for the months you don't need.
Helpful Calendar Making Hints
- 2020 is a leap year, so February has 29 days.
- January, March, May, July, August, October, and December have 31 days.
- April, June, September, and November have 30 days.
- November is the longest month name, so align it first for the best size.
I prefer to make my calendars mostly black to preserve ink, but I like to add a colorful element into the month at the top. You can add an illustration or just text.
Calendar Template Download
This calendar template download is an .AI file. It works with Adobe Illustrator, but might work with other vector based programs.
Change the fonts as desired.
Please do not redistribute or sell this file. Altered versions of the finished product (not Adobe Illustrator templates) are fine to sell. Please contact me for further clarification.
Click the link below to download the file.
You might also like:
- How to Get Rid of White Lines in Patterns in AI
- Using Procreate with Illustrator
- Free Calendar Download for 2021
- All about Adobe Fresco
Pin for Later!