Admit it: oftentimes you've wished for a current, personal TV schedule so you don't miss or have to search for an episode of "Mad Men," "NCIS" and "Project Runway." You also don't want to hear, after the fact, that a cable network ran an all-day "Law & Order: SVU" rerun marathon. Perhaps your desires are a bit more practical---such as setting limits for your kids by putting into print the broadcasts they're permitted to watch. Either way, you'll delight family members by creating a personal TV schedule that's fluid enough to be updated regularly.

Things You Will Need
  • Computer

  • Word, page layout or spreadsheet software

  • Printer and paper

  • Broadcast TV schedule

  • Head shots (optional)

  • Template downloads (optional)

Consult a guide (newspaper, magazine, Internet or broadcast) for reference. Make a list of the programs you don't want to miss or those your children may watch with your blessing. Include on the list broadcasts you've been eager to watch but missed because your printed TV schedule was too crowded to find them.

Boot up your computer and your software of choice. Set up a portrait document sized 8.5" x 11." Choose the "Index and tables" command found beneath the "Insert" tab if you're making your TV schedule using Microsoft Word or another word processing program. Excel and other spreadsheets will provide a grid when you open the page. Select and use similar commands found in your page layout program.

Design a banner atop your TV schedule that's personalized for family members. Drag or insert a text box across the top of the page. Personalize the document by writing, for example, "Mom's TV Schedule" in big letters across the top. Customize a TV schedule for your kids by putting their names on the banner. Add their photos to the schedule by inserting, importing or dragging picture boxes and head shots into the banner.

Drag or insert an eight-column text box beneath the identification banner. The left column setting should be the widest because you'll insert the names of programs vertically in this column. The other seven will have headers that read from Sunday to Saturday. If you want to make finding the programs really easy, add a ninth column to the right of the name of each show and key in either the channel number or station call letters. Input your week's worth of program names with accompanying times, starting with the earliest Sunday shows.

Use the document as a template for future changes, such as frequently watched programming moved to different time slots, canceled shows and new program debuts. Each week, update the schedule so you always have a fresh list of programming alerts at your fingertips. Want to wow guests? Customize a TV schedule with their names. Place the sheet at their bedside. What better way to make them feel welcome than to let them in on local station numbers so they don't wear out the guest room remote control searching for the 11 p.m. news.


If you'd prefer to have someone else design your TV schedule template, check out the links below for a variety of free patterns and downloads.