Using Power Point for Project Decaling

So I build loads of project which in the end require labelling, but how to do it so it seems professional?  In the past I used to just make lines of text which was more or less the project name and my callsign, printed it and stuck it to the box, not very professional!

Well while looking at some projects on the net over the weekend I found a Cumbria Designs Minicounter frequency counter built by Matti Niskanen, OH2CF which looked like a real professional product, the decaling was superb.  Reading details of the project Matti explained he uses Microsoft Power Point to make the panel designs, it suddenly hit me that it was such a simple way to do it. I guess Visio would also do but MS Power Point comes with Office 2007 which I have installed and creating shapes, text, lines, you name it and then positioning them would be simple.

I thought I would give it a go on my External Voice Keyer which I’ve just connected up and started to use.  At the start the front panel is all based on handwriting, which works but it just doesn’t look professional.


I then thought instead of measuring where all the holes, LEDs and switches where I would take a photo of it, load it into Power Point and then use it as a template, here is a moc up of what that looked like, this is the finished and tweaked overlay put back onto the photo for this article but it does show the picture (perspective) wasn’t quite right but it did save loads of time measuring.


You can see the design on the screen with the photo removed, then printed and then with the holes where the LEDs, switches and variable pot go.


IMG_20110530_204129 IMG_20110530_204137

After the design was prepared with the various holes cut out, it was glued using pva glue to the metal front panel. The finished design makes the Voice Keyer look much better than it did before. 


This is rev 1, you can see the one fitted to the Voice Keyer has my callsign and project name in handwriting on it whereas the designs above have it added within Power Point. I’m going to add a few additional switches to the Voice Keyer in the week as it supports 4 voice memories which will be handy to switch between so I will add a ‘next memory’ button and an erase button so the design will change to accommodate them.

Update 020611:

I’ve now added the extra switches and re-arranged the front panel including a new colourful decal…


And updated my SO3R shack controller to look very similar…


Now onto other projects…


  1. Phil

    Have you looked at Inkscape? It is a open source vector drawing package, roughly comparable to Visio, but sucks a whole lot less. I use it for all sorts of drawing tasks.

    1. m1bxf (Post author)

      Hi Phil.

      Downloaded it to look at. First impressions re you are right about it being better than PowerPoint or Visio…

  2. kenausten

    Hello, came across your site by chance and found very interesting. Use to have my own site back in the days of dialup, but removed it when I moved to wales from Kent.
    So viewing your site has encourage me to do another one. I learnt HTML4 at that time to find later, publisher could do it for you, so used MS pub after that.
    I was interested in your label making for home made gear as this is exactly what I did under publisher a few years ago. I had the same problem, would make a decent job of the construction to ruin it with the labelling. Suddenly like you i realised well we have all this high tech photo printers and quality paper along with any suitable program, why not try that and it worked very for me. Then we moved and not done any since. Just moved qth 60 yds up the road to a bigger bungalow, so hoping to get all antennas up soon, along with new constructional projects. So congratulations for an interesting site, best wishes and 73 from ken basking in the sun at my sister , Birchington in kent. be back to wales shortly. 27th june 2011 1527hrs bst


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: