How to Create and Print Holiday Cards in iPhoto ’11

You love giving holiday cards and you love your pictures, but, wow, are you busy this time of year.

Hang in there: iPhoto ’11 makes it easy to turn your photos into cards. Here’s how.

1. Choose a photo

Open iPhoto and click on the photo you want to use for your holiday cards.

2. Create a new card

Go to File Menu > New Card.


  • Click the Add To icon in the lower right-hand corner of iPhoto.
  • Select Card.
  • Select Create Card in the new window.
  • Click Add To and select Card.

New card menu.

iPhoto displays the Card Carousel, which allows you to select your:

  • style, e.g.: letterpress, folded, flat.
  • theme, e.g.: holiday, birthday.
  • color.
  • message.

3. Pick the style and theme, then customize

For the card style, you can choose: letterpress, folded, or flat.

You can pick themes via the Theme Options drop-down menu or the carousel display.

You can also further customize the layout and color of your cards.

Carousel display.

  • Letterpress cards make elegant, traditional holiday cards. They are debossed and include envelopes.Select Letterpress as your card type.Closeup view of style options menu.

    To select a theme, choose a description (such as “Snowflake,” “Winter Bells,” etc.) from the theme drop-down menu or rotate through the carousel itself.

  • Folded Cards are also elegant and traditional. Folded cards include several additional options including layout and color changes. (They are not debossed, do not include envelopes, and are less expensive.)Another closeup view of the style options menu.Select Folded as your card type.

    Select Holidays from the theme drop-down menu and rotate through the carousel to select the holiday card theme you like best.

    Choose the layout style (portrait or landscape) from the left-hand side of the carousel.

    Choose the color scheme from the right-hand side of the carousel (if applicable to the card selected). Folded cards offer the widest variety of styles and colors.

  • Flat Cards can be created as traditional picture-postcards or can be a two-sided single-sheet holiday card.A third closeup view of the style options menu.Select Flat as your card type.

    Select your theme from the theme drop-down menu and rotate through the carousel to select the holiday card theme.

    Choose the layout style (portrait or landscape) from the left-hand side of the carousel.

    Choose the color scheme from the right-hand side of the carousel (if applicable to the card selected).

Keep in mind that you’ll be able to change any of your selections in the next step.

iPhoto gives you the opportunity to add up to four photos to your card and to change the layout and the color options.

4. Create your card

Once you are satisfied with your choices, click Create. iPhoto creates a new project name (and date) in the left sidebar (not pictured below) your photo library.

iPhoto will show the project window.

The project window.

The project window allows you to:

  • choose another background color
  • select up to four additional photos
  • use photo design effects
  • reposition photos
  • enter personalized titles and text on both the outside and inside of the card (if applicable to the selected design style)

Here’s some more information on each.

  • Outside and inside card views. The iPhoto project opens with the Layout View as the default view and it’s a great place to start.From here, you will see background color options and layout options.Click on either the outside or inside of the card to bring focus on that side of the card. iPhoto will shift the card view left or right accordingly.

    Additionally, you may shift focus by clicking on the navigator window. By default, the navigator window will appear to the lower-left of your project window, but it may be dragged to any position you want within the project.

    Two views of the navigator window.

  • Background color. You can change your previously selected background colors, if you like.
  • Layout. The Layout Options menu displays all the design variations you can use for the outside and inside of your holiday card. Most cards have a design option that allows you to select up to 4 photos to use on either the outside or the inside of the card. Also, most cards allow you to edit card titles and personalize text.To set photo layout options, click on the “outside view” of the card then click on a layout option.A view of the layout option menu.

    Repeat for the inside view of the card.

    To add an additional photo, double-click within the empty photo placeholder and iPhoto will switch to the Photos layout view.

    Layout menu buttons.

    Drag the new photo to the photo placeholder.

    Repeat for any additional photos.

    The photo layout view.

    If you need to add additional photos to your project, you can drag a photo — via the left navigation panel — from your photo library into your project.

    Once all the photos are placed, iPhoto gives you the opportunity to further edit your photos.

  • Additional photo options. When you click on a newly placed photo, iPhoto changes back to the layout options view.Layout menu buttons.When you click on a newly placed photo, iPhoto displays a photo size adjuster widget that allows you to resize your original picture.

    The photo size adjuster widget.

    Additionally, you can adjust the position of the up and down or side to side (depending upon the selected vertical or horizontal layout) within its placeholder.

    The size adjuster widget applied to a photo.

    Right-click on a photo to bring up the following design and editing options:

    • Remove Photo
    • Fit Photo to Frame Size
    • Mirror Image
    • Move to Front
    • Send to Back
    • Edit Photo [Edit original photo in iPhoto ’11]
    • Show Layout Options
    • Show Design Options
    • Show Project Settings
    • Hide Photo Panel

    Menu of design options.

    If you’re not happy with the design, you can click the Change Theme button to start over. iPhoto brings you back to the initial Add Card window where you may pick a new card style and/or theme. Click the Apply button and iPhoto will re-open your project.

  • Personalize your text. Click on any text area and iPhoto will switch to the Options Layout Mode and allow you create custom text. Select you desired fonts, font sizing and kerning, and text spacing and alignment.Fonts menu.Once you are satisfied with all your design and layout choices, you are ready to Print Your Holiday Card!

5. Print Your Card

iPhoto offers you two printing options: Purchase Printing or Print-Your-Own.

  • Purchase printing. With the “purchase Printing” option, you may purchase single cards or multiple cards. The cards will be delivered to your shipping address.Click on the Buy Card button and follow the choices to complete your online purchase.Note: You will need your Apple ID and Password to complete purchase.

    Check the iPhoto Print Products page to ensure timely order of printing and delivery of your custom holiday cards.

  • Print-Your-Own.
    Put your card stock or postcard stock in your printer.Go to File Menu >Print (or Command+P) and select your printer’s options for printing to the specific size of paper stock in the tray.


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