Make Your Own

Probably the best sheet you’ll use would be one you make yourself, because only you can truly address what you need on each sheet for each character. Most sheets try and run the gambit of generality, such as the 3.5 sheet having a section for spells (even though half the players that roll a character even have spells, and even less than that actually use it). This guide should show anyone how to make a sheet, starting at bare-bones and move into higher-quality.

For either process, I recommend printing off a sheet (or two, for back and front) and cut it up to separate all of its fields. Then on a blank sheet lay out the ideal look for the sheet. Even if you’ve never thought about making a sheet, once you do this you’ll easily identify which ones you can toss, and which should be highlighted.

Low Detail
This process is the simplest for making a sheet, since all you need to do it came on the computer you're at right now (well… and an internet connection). This is bare bones simple, but if you have higher aspirations move on to High Detail.

Step 1.
For this, I’ll use the 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons character sheet. Download the .pdf if you need to, and open it up (okay I lied, for this you should download the free
Adobe Reader, but really you should already have this). Take the view size and bump it up to 100% (or higher, generally sticking to set intervals like 125%, 150% and so on). Remember, the higher the view size, the more detail, but then it’s harder to edit.

Step 2.
Open up MS Paint. Go to "Image" -> "Attributes" -> and then select "inches" to set the image field to be large enough to handle the next step (At least 8.5x11 inches). Remember, the larger the size you view the .pdf from step 1, the larger your paint file will need to be.

Step 3.
In Adobe Reader with the sheet open, maximize the window, and take a screen shot (start at the upper left and work from there). Paste the selection in MS Paint, and then use the various paint tools and edit off everything other than the portion of the character sheet.

Step 4.
Repeat this until you have all the parts of the sheet in one window of Paint, and line up the edges (usually there will be overlapping, which is fine, since it help you line them up). When your done, you should have a full sheet in Paint

IMPORTANT: Save it now as a bitmap (or any other lossless file type) and make a backup. Do not save it as a .jpeg since it will lose detail.

Step 5.
Now is the puzzle portion. Take the sheet and start cutting and pasting the fields around in the way you want. Since you have a backup, save often. Since it’s to big to see all at once, go to the saved file, right click it and open it in Windows Picture Viewer. You can now reference that for alignment and spacing, and every time you save in Paint the Picture Viewer will update.

Tips: Try not to cut fields. Copy the one you want to move, and paste and move it to where you want. Use the field your pasting it over to align it, and then select the filled background to cover the old field. If you want to make new fields that aren’t there, instead of looking for a close font match, I just cut the letter from the other fields and hand-assemble new words letter by letter. It’s tedious, but looks perfect.

Step 6.
Now just print it off, go into Page Setup and set the Margins as low as they will go (about 0.125 I believe) and set it to print as 1 page (since you should only be editing the front or back of a sheet at a time).

High Quality

For this you need some better thing than what came on your computer. The ideal setup includes Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat. Neither of those are free, but if your willing to work on a time limit, you can get trails that last about 30 days and have everything you’ll need.

Step 1.

Open up your favorite sheet in Photoshop. From here you can simply use the square selector and move around the fields quickly. In Photoshop they’ll retain image quality despite the scale you view the page on, but you’ll probably want to view the page at 200% or higher to line everything up perfectly.

Note: If you prefer the simplicity of MS Paint, open the .pdf in Photoshop, then use Photoshop to save the sheet as a file Paint can open itself such as a bitmap of tiff. ALSO if you already made the sheet in paint, open it in Photoshop, and save as a .pdf file (which is better for many reasons, including easier printing).

Well… really step one covered the literal sheet making. As far as Paint and Photoshop are concerned, you can only make single sheets. The rest of this moves into Adobe Acrobat use.

Step 2.
Before you save your work in Photoshop, go into “File” -> “File Info” and add your personal information so anyone else who pops it open knows you made it.

Step 3.
If you’re on this step, you have your sheet made, and saved as a .pdf file. Open it up in Adobe Acrobat. Click the “Forms” button, click “start form wizard” and the next button a handful of times (this will simply select making a new form using the file you have opened, your character sheet).

Step 4.
Use the “New Field” to add boxes you can type in after you’ve finished editing. Keep in mind when naming those text boxes, the name shouldn’t have spaces in it, or have the same name as another field. If two fields share a name, typing on one will make both say the same thing. If you have spaces in the name, you’ll have to rename them in the future when you might want to add math functions.

Step 5.
Math!!! To have your sheet with math functions, you already have it full of all the fields people can type in. Take any one of those fields and right click it and open up properties. Under the “Calculation” tab there are three math options. The first lets you pick fields off of a list, then adds any number put into the picked fields and displays it in the selected box. The second is basic math (you simple type a field name and any simple math function: StrengthScore+10). The third is complicated math, and takes some scripting knowledge.

That’s about all you need to make a sheet, and make it look pro. For touches of style, add in your own pictures, just keep in mind the more complicated something is, the fewer the people are who will use it.

Other Notes
So that’s really about it, for anything I might have left out or if you need any other information, feel free to contact me. Adding math functions is simple enough, but if you want the complicated math I’ve added some scripting samples below.


var Str = this.getField("Str");
event.value = (Math.floor((Str.value-10)/2));

Str: The name of the box where players put their Strength score.

The math is used in the StrMod box, the box that displays the bonus for their Strength score.

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