FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is the ESL Writing Wizard?
ESL Writing Wizard is a free online program that helps you make printable handwriting worksheets quickly and easily. As an ESL teacher in Japan, making worksheets by hand can be a real pain, so I made this site because few other free websites offers such flexibility in creating your worksheets as this one does. There are commercial software packages out there that offer even more control over your worksheet design, but if you're on a teacher's salary like me, then this is the place for you!
2. How does it work?
Choose one of the two wizards from the homepage. The first is the One-Word Wizard which makes a worksheet based on a single word or short sentence. You have a variety of options over which of the 'print' or 'dot' fonts to use on each line. The second wizard is the Multi-Word Wizard which as the name suggests allows you to use more than one word (or short sentence). The best way to see exactly what these wizards do is by trying them!
3. How do I use it?
Mostly by trial and error! In each wizard, type in the name you want to give your worksheet, or leave it blank if you don't need a title. Enter your name if you plan to publish your worksheet, select one of the five font sizes (the longer the word or sentence, the smaller your font should be) and type in the text you want to appear.
In the One-Word Wizard you can also choose ways to format the text. See the guide at the side of the One-Word Wizard page to get an understanding of what the results of your choices will look like.
The Multi-Word Wizard has ten empty lines for you to type in different words. If you don't need all ten lines then just leave them blank. Remember, if you pick a big font size or enter a sentence that is too long, the font size is automatically shrunk so that everything fits within the width of the page.
Once you have edited your worksheet and are happy with it, you can print it from the 'Preview or Finish' stage, or if you want to save it and share it with other people, then click the 'Save and Share' button. You can then find your worksheet in the future using the search form on the homepage.
4. How do I print worksheets?
Go to Print Preview in the File menu of your browser to check that it all fits nicely on the page. You can switch between portrait or landscape in Page Settings, accessible from the Print Preview window, as well as remove or change the page header and footer. If it's all okay, go ahead and print it. Note: Make sure your printer settings match the page layout you chose in the form, either portrait or landscape, and you may have to adjust the margins in your printer settings so nothing gets cut off.
Note 1: A common mistake is to use all ten spaces in the Multi-Word Wizard with short words in a large font. This usually results in your worksheet running on to a second page. The best way to deal with this is to either cut down the number of lines you want, or reduce the letter size.
Note 2: Worksheets using long words or short sentences will need to be printed in landscape, otherwise the font size is shrunk to really tiny proportions!
Note 3: Don't forget that you can reduce the number of 'columns' of text by selecting the 'print only', 'dot only' or 'space only' options in the One-Word Wizard, or changing the 'pattern' option in the Multi-Word Wizard. This usually results in your text not being shrunk so much.
5. How do I save my worksheet?
After you have created your worksheet, you have two options, either save your worksheet on the web by clicking the 'Save and Share' button at the bottom of each wizard, or you can save the worksheet to your own PC by downloading the worksheet with the graphics for each letter. To do this, click on Save As... in your browser's File menu and choose somewhere memorable to download it to, e.g. your Desktop. I recommend making a 'Worksheets' folder. Within days, you'll have loads of great homemade worksheets in it! Note that when you download a worksheet, you get two things - the HTML file AND a folder of graphics used in the worksheet.
6. What characters can I use?
So far you can use the following:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 ! ' , . - ? + / * = _ #
Notice that I've included numerals and characters for making simple math worksheets, too. If there are other characters that you really need, let me know and I might add them. Note: You can make a double quote (") with two single quotes.
7. Can I change the fonts?
Yep, you can now select from print or cursive styles, using graphical representations of fonts similar to D'Nealian and Zaner-Bloser.
8. Can I change the width of lines?
Currently, you can increase the width by hitting space repeatedly at the end of your word. The result can be tailored to look quite good in the One-Word Wizard but the second column of 'dot' fonted words ruin it on a Multi-Word worksheet. I might look into this a bit more to see if I can fix it.
9. I chose the very large font size, but it still comes out too small!
That's because the wizard automatically shrinks the font size so your words or sentences fit on the page. Try shortening your text, or switch to landscape.
10. Why don't the cursive fonts join up?
This is such a common question, I've made a special page to answer it: Why don't the cursive fonts join up?
11. I searched for "Hello", but got no results. Why?
The search engine uses a "MySQL" database. This database has a list of "stopwords" that get ignored. The full list is here.
12. Why doesn't the solid, lowercase 'c' show up?
For some bizarre reason, AOL Explorer refuses to show the solid, lowercase 'c'. My only suggestion is to try making your worksheet in Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Google Chrome or other browser.
13. This is great. I wish there were something similar for math.
There is! I've made a worksheet wizard for math, too. Check out the Math Worksheet Wizard.
14. What else can I do to help my children learn to write?
Read the article "Help Your Child Learn To Write Well" from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement.