Alfie — The Diary Generator

Alfie

To create these diary inserts, I spent some time learning the basics of the Python 3 programming language. The result is Alfie1, a python script capable of generating diary inserts in pocket, personal or A5 size of any year you want. The script makes a LaTeX file and tries to typeset it into a PDF for you.

Right now, Alfie can make diaries in Swedish and English. It can render holidays and date-specific notes, as listed in user-provided text files. It can also add front and back matter, as supplied by supplementary files. You get to choose from a few different layouts: one version of one week on one page with notes, and four variants on one week on two pages.

Alfie is now free to download from GitHub. However, before you consider trying it, there are a few things you need to know.

  1. Alfie is a python script and doesn’t come with a graphical user interface. It must be executed from the command line, or from a text editor capable of executing python scripts2.

  2. In order for the script to run you need to have Python 3 installed on your machine. Python 3 is free and available on all major platforms (Mac, Windows and Linux).

  3. You need to have LaTeX installed in order to typeset the resulting LaTeX-files3. LaTeX is also free and available on all major platforms.

  4. If you want to use the script "out of the box" you also need the free Adobe Source Sans Pro font installed on your machine. You can of course use whatever font you like, but I find Source Sans Pro Light to be ideal for this kind of thing.

While I realize Alfie isn’t for everyone, this isn’t as complicated as it may sound. If you’d like to give it a go, drop me a line.


  1. Named after my son. 

  2. For the Mac I recommend TextWrangler, which is free and more than enough for this task. 

  3. If you’re on the Mac, I recommend installing LaTeX using MacTeX

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