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How to Create a Customized Cable Channel Guide

The cable companies seem to change their channel lineup at least once a year. They usually send a new channel guide to announce the major changes, but this item is easily lost, and obviously can give no preference to the channels you personally subscribe to and prefer to watch. Newspapers often list only the most popular cable channels and eschew channel numbers, which vary from system to system and region to region. Rather than making do with these limited resources--or poring over an on-screen program guide until it finally shows the information for the program you want to watch--wouldn't you rather have your own customized, handy channel guide at your fingertips? This article will show you how to create your a personalized guide to your favorite broadcast and cable stations.

Make a Grid

Open MS Word to create a new document. Use the Menu-Format-Columns command, or click the "Columns" icon, to format the page into two columns. Use the Menu-Tables command or click the "Tables" icon to insert a new table with the following dimensions: four columns, five rows. (You will be able to add more rows later.)Adjust the width of the table to 3.3 inches, align to the left and set a font size of 10. As for Font Type, select something that's easy to read on paper, such as Arial, Tahoma or Verdana. In the first row, type headings for each column as follows: Column 1--Type, Column 2--Channel ID, Column 3--Channel #, Column 4--Channel Description. These columns will be used as follows: Type: B(roadcast), C(able), P(remium/Movie channel), Z (channels you occasionally/rarely watch but want to include)Channel ID: The Alpha Channel ID as listed in local channel lineupChannel #: The Numeric channel number that corresponds to the Alpha IDChannel Description: The channel's local name or call letters (Channel 2/WBBM, Arts & Entertainment, CNN, etc.)

Start filling in your grid with information from your local listing. Include only the channels that you usually or occasionally watch. For example: Type Channel # Channel ID B 2 CBSB 5 NBCC * A&E ( You will fill in the channel # for cable channels in Step 3.)P * HBO ( You will fill in the channel # for cable channels in Step 3.)To include channels you rarely watch but still want to list, substitute the letter "z" for the channel ID. Otherwise, simply omit them altogether--you can add them later if you want to.

Using your local cable channel listing, start filling in your grid with the channel number that corresponds to the alpha channel ID listed in the cable guide and the channel description. If you don't have a hard copy of the channel lineup, tune your TV/cable box to the on-screen program guide and get the information from there. Again, include only the channels you usually watch. For example: Type Channel # Channel ID Channel DescriptionB 2 CBS CBS/WBBMB 5 NBC NBC/WMAQC 105 A&E Arts & EntertainmentC 142 AMC American Movie ClassicsP 400 HBO* HBO Movies * (See notes below!) * Including and identifying multiple premium/movie channels: Your local TV/Cable guide may list only a few of these, so you will likely have to insert a row or two to include the additional channels. To do this: Select a row above or below where you want to insert a new row. From the Menu-Tables list, select "Insert, Row Above" (or "Row Below").Type the additional movie-channel details.You can uniquely identify each movie channel in the "multiplex" according to the theme of the channel and/or the description listed in the regular cable channel guide. For example: P 400 HBO1 HBO Movies (main channel)P 401 HBOF HBO FamilyP 402 HBO2 HBO 2 (more movies)P 403 HBOS HBO Signature

When you have finished filling in the grid with your favorite channel information, save the file under a name you can easily remember, such as "My Favorite Channels."

Formatting and Printing Your Customized List

Open Print Preview and adjust the column widths as necessary so that the grid fits into half of an 8.5-by-11 inch sheet of paper folded lengthwise.

Save the document.

Print the document.

Fold the printed page in half lengthwise, with the printed side showing. Place it near your TV or in the area where you normally watch. (I keep mine near the remote control.)

Things You Will Need

  • TV Guide or newspaper
  • Local cable guide
  • MS Word 97-2003 for Windows

Tips

  • To further customize your channel guide, you can use Bold, Italic or Text Color to highlight your most-watched channels. You can also use this feature to highlight the channels that exactly match those in your local TV/cable listing.
  • You might want to include the date you create or change your customized listing. You can type the date somewhere in your document (perhaps as the last entry in your grid), or write it on a printed version.
  • When your cable company sends information about new channels that have been added to your lineup, or changes that have been made to the existing lineup that affect your favorites, simply go to your saved "My Favorite Channels" document on your computer, make the necessary changes and print out a new copy.
  • If you want or need a hard copy of your cable company's channel lineup, go to the company's website. Most have a viewable (and sometimes printable and/or downloadable) version of their channel listings.

About the Author

Deena Bogan has been writing technical user manuals since 1981, for such corporations as Helene Curtis/Unilever, CNA Insurance and Bank of America. In 2005, Bogan began writing how-to and nonfiction articles. Some of these are published on various websites. Bogan has expanded her knowledge base through writing reference and operations manuals for new franchise owners. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish language and history from Illinois State University.