Pictavo: The Basics

Topic: Getting Started

Learning a new yearbook software program can be overwhelming. We created this overview to help familiarize you with Pictavo’s most basic features. We’ll have you designing pages in no time! 

The Dashboard will appear each time you log in to Pictavo and shows the general progress of your book. 

Upload a Student Roster and create a coverage goal to ensure no one is left out. Talk to your school’s administration staff to get a roster and then insert the data into the student roster template. 

Create individual users or permissions-based groups and keep tabs on their activity within Users & Groups

Photos are one of the most important parts of a yearbook. Upload images and keep them organized in albums.
Don’t want to create albums? No problem! Your images will remain in the All Candids album. 

To access your cover and pages and begin the design process, click on Design, then select which area you'd like to begin designing. 

The Ladder is a great tool for keeping your project organized. 

In the Ladder, a series of icons within the top menu bar allow you to perform the following functions:

A: Sort pages by assigned users / groups, status or sections. 

B: Add Page enables you to add practice pages or actual pages to your project. 

C: Usage & Tracking allows you to keep tabs on users’ progress. 

D: To assign a user to work on a specific page, use the Assign Users or the Quick Assign button. 

E: Share the cover or pages by email or save a PDF and print it out. 

F: Identify Sections, Descriptions or both to ensure every aspect of the year is included in the yearbook. 

G: Below each thumbnail, Pictavo records the user who last worked on the page as well as the date and time it was saved. 

When you select a page, a new set of icons appear in the blue menu bar allowing you to perform the following functions:

A: To delete a page or spread, select the specific pages and then press the red Delete icon (trash can). 

B: To move pages, select one page or spread and click the Move icon. 

C: View the Usage & Tracking for individual pages or the cover to see who has worked on it and for how long. 

D: To begin designing pages, select the page and double-click on it or press the Edit icon. If the Edit icon is disabled, make sure only one page or linked page spread is selected. 

Pictavo’s vast collection of artwork includes backgrounds, page templates, snippets, accents, shapes and photo boxes. These items are located in the Art palette. Click on the Art icon to open the art palette. 

Let’s take a look at Accents

All artwork within the Accents Library is created by Pictavo's professional design team—ready and waiting to be used. 

Artwork created specifically for your project will be uploaded into the User Upload folder by either the Project Admin or another User. These items are only visible for those working on your project. 

The Accents Library is divided by Art Collection. Select an album to view all Accents in that Art Collection. 

When reviewing artwork within an album, you may notice one or both of the following icons:

 The Colored wheel icon indicates an art piece is colorable, meaning you can choose a color for it using Pictavo’s Colorize feature to coordinate with your theme. 

 The Book icon signifies the art is in use (i.e., has been placed on a page). Click on the icon to see which page(s) the art appears. 

To add an accent to your layout, click and drag it onto your page. If the accent you added is colorable, the Colorize menu automatically opens to easily apply a color. Experiment with Saturations and Values to find the perfect color! 

Once the perfect hue is found, add it to Saved Colors by clicking the plus sign. 
NOTE: Project Admins can save Project Saved Colors for everyone accessing the book to use. 

If there’s a chance you may want to find a piece of art again later, click the heart icon to save it to your Favorites

All art you “favorite” is located in the Favorites folder available at the main Accents level. 

Once an accent is placed on a page, you can modify it several ways in the Effects menu. Click on the Wand icon to access the Effects menu. Selected art can be rotated by using one of the blue corner anchors. Click and drag the mouse in the direction you want to rotate the accent. 

The other menu, Properties, allows for further modifications to an accent. Click on the Info icon to access the Properties menu that features:

A: Flip an element vertically or horizontally
B: Rotate 90 degrees either way
C: Change the Opacity
D: Use the trash can to Delete

Now, let’s explore Shapes

Simply click on the shape and drag and drop it onto your page. 

A: Shapes initially appear black in color when placed on your page, but you can change the color by using the Fill swatch in Pictavo’s Effects menu. 

B: Add borders to shapes by first checking the Border box and then clicking on the rectangle to the right. You can also increase or decrease the border’s thickness by adjusting the Border Size

Now on to Photo Boxes. Shapes and Photo Boxes are similar, however, an image can be placed inside a photo box but not a shape. 

Pictavo offers a variety of photo box options. From the Photo Boxes panel click and drag the one you want onto your page. 

Once a Photo Box is placed on your page, navigate to the Photos area and click Candids

Choose a photo, click and drag it into the photo box. 

Your photo will now take the shape of the existing photo box. 

If you've already placed a photo on a layout, but would like to crop that photo into a shape, go back to the Art menu, open Shapes, select the shape and drag it onto your picture to crop the photo. 

The image will now assume the shape dropped onto it. In the example below, the circle became more of an oval shape when cropping due to the proportions of the photo.
To go 'back a step', just click the Undo arrow. 

As you design and edit pages, Pictavo may display warning messages to alert you that it has detected something in need of your attention. Warnings appear as colored frames around the element with a warning (exclamation point) icon in the upper left corner. Click on the Warning icon for details. 

As elements get moved around a page, it's easy to go outside the green “safety” margin. When this happens, the frame around the element turns orange. This means the element is too close to the trim edge and part of it may be trimmed off. If this is a conscious design choice, go ahead and leave the image where it is. The warning frame will remain on the element for awareness, but can be ignored. 

When resizing a photo, Pictavo displays a warning if the new size compromises the image’s recommended resolution (DPI). This time, the frame color turns red. You can view an image’s DPI in the Properties menu. 

The last warning you may experience is overset text. If the amount of copy within a text box exceeds its capacity, Pictavo alerts you with an overset text warning via a red frame. This is easily remedied by making your text box larger or adjusting the point size.

That's a lot to take in! You may find The Basics video helpful.