Printing 2-Up Vellum Overlays With Microsoft Word

print two vellum overlays to a sheet

Vellum is a unique way of dressing up a traditional invitation ensemble. Some choose to use vellum as a decorative translucent overlay, where some prefer to print directly on vellum, laying it over blank invitation cards. If you are printing vellum overlays for your invitation ensembles, an efficient way to do so is to print two per sheet, cutting them in half after they are printed. This is not only a fast, convenient way to print vellum, but also a simple one. In this article, you will learn just how easy it is to print two up vellum overlays for your invitations.

To serve as an example, this article addresses printing two up vellum overlays for 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch A9 invitation cards using 8 1/2 x 11 inch translucent vellum paper.

create 2-up overlay for A9 cards with 8 1/2 x 11 sheet

Please note, Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac is used to illustrate the following steps. Although you may be using a PC or a different version of Word, the outline of the following steps will be similar.

1 – Set your new Word document to landscape mode

Begin by opening a new document within Microsoft Word. Because you will be creating two-ups using a standard 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of vellum, you do not need to set up a custom size Word document. However, you do need to change the orientation of your document from the default portrait mode to landscape mode. In portrait mode, the text you enter would run parallel to the 8 1/2 inch side of the document. In landscape mode, the document is turned 90 degrees, allowing the text to run parallel to the 11 inch side of the document. Set your document to landscape by clicking File, then Page Setup, found on the left side of the menu at the top of your screen. Although the appearance of the landscape/portrait option may vary on your screen, it will look something like the following.


select landscape orientation within word

2 – Set your margins

Also within Page Setup you will find options to set the margins for your document. Again, depending on your set up, the location of this will vary. To allow adequate space to enter text, the margins on this example document were set to .75 inches.

how to set margins in Microsoft word

3 – Format columns within the document

Now that you have your Word document set up, you are ready to create two equally sized columns for your two-up overlay design.

  • Locate the Columns formatting menu: To get to the columns menu, click Format, then Columns in the top menu, as shown below:
  • where to format columns in Microsoft word

  • Set the number of columns: At the top of the Columns menu, change the number of columns to two, as you will be creating two equally sized columns, later entering symmetrical text in each.
  • Set space between columns: Whether you are formatting two, three, or four columns, the trick to formatting symmetrical columns every time is alter the spacing between each so that it is double the width of the document’s margins. Previously, the margins for this document were set to .75 inches, so the spacing between each column will be set to 1.5 inches (.75 x 2 = 1.5). Enter spacing in the column top column on the right, as indicated in the image below. Next, click anywhere else in the menu, and Word will generate a preview of your columns, as well as automatically change the width of each so that they are aligned correctly on the page.

format spacing between columns in Word

At this point, you should have a blank Word document formatted with the following dimensions, allowing for two identical 4 inch wide columns where you will enter text.

2-up Word document dimensions

4 – Type in your invitation wording

Congratulations! You have just successfully formatted your two-up overlay document. You are now ready to type in your unique invitation wording. After typing in the text, experiment with various fonts, sizes, and colors to create the right look for your overlays. When you have finished formatting the wording on the left side, copy it to the right side of the document.

change sample invitation wording to your own wording

5 – Prepare your print driver to recognize landscape orientation

Although there is no need to set your print driver to recognize custom dimensions, you will need to set your print driver to recognize it will be printing landscape orientation, rather than portrait. All print drivers look different, but the option to set landscape or portrait is typically located on the main interface that appears as soon as File, Print is clicked.

6 – Print a test page

So that you do not waste any of your vellum, it is best to print a test page on an 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of computer paper. Place the test sheet into the printer tray. Click Ok on the Print window to print on the test sheet. Place the test sheet beneath the vellum overlay to see if the text is lined up correctly. If the text is misaligned in any way, or if you do not like the way it looks, you may need to adjust your document. If the test sheet printed correctly, then place the vellum overlays in the printer tray and continue printing.

7 – Cut your overlays in half

After printing all of your vellum, you are ready to cut each sheet in half to yield two 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch overlays. Consider using a paper trimmer to yield accurate, straight cuts.

8 – Attach the overlays

Last, simply adhere your vellum overlays to your invitation cards.

cut two up overlays in half and attach to card