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How to make a free printable emergency medical ID card

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you have a medical condition such as diabetes or a severe food allergy such as peanuts, letting emergency personnel know of your issue is of utmost importance. When you’re disabled or non-communicative, the first place emergency responders look is your wallet. Prepare yourself and the people who help you by making an emergency medical ID card. These small cards carry information about your health, and may be made quickly and for free on your computer using programs already installed or through free trial downloads.

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  1. Open Paint, pull down the “File” menu and click “Open.” Browse to a headshot photo of you and double-click the file name so it opens in the Paint workspace. Click the “Select” tool, which looks like a box made of dotted lines. Draw an outline around the picture and press the “Ctrl” and “C” keys to copy it.

  2. Pull down the “File” menu and click “New.” Pull down the “Image” menu and click “Attributes.” Set card dimensions as 3.5-by-2.5 inches and click the “OK” button. When the card space adjusts, press the “Ctrl” and “V” keys, which pastes in your picture. Drag it to the left side of the card.

  3. Click the “Text” tool, which looks like an “A” on the toolbar. Click the right side of the card. If a toolbar doesn’t open, pull down the “View” menu and click “Text Toolbar.” Type your name and press the “Enter” key. Type your details, such as birth date and an emergency contact person or phone number.

  4. Click the red paint colour on the “Color Picker” and click lower on the card. Type your emergency medical information, such as “Type 1 Diabetes” or “Severe Nut Allergy.” Add any other additional details, such as “Carries EpiPen in glove compartment.”

  5. Pull down the “File” menu, click “Save As,” type a name for the card and save it to your computer.

  6. Open Photoshop or download a free trial, then click “File” and select “New.” Name the file “EmergencyID,” set dimensions of 3.5-by-2.5 inches and click the “OK” button. When the Photoshop workspace opens a card box, pull down the “View” menu and click “Fit on Screen” to give yourself more room to work.

  7. Pull down the “File” menu again and select “Open.” Navigate to a digital picture of yourself on the computer and double-click the file, which opens the image in the Photoshop workspace. Press and hold down the “Ctrl” key, then drag the photo into the “EmergencyID” box. If it opens too large, pull down the “Edit” menu, click “Transform,” click “Scale” and shrink the picture to fit the card box.

  8. Click the “Type” tool, which looks like a “T” on the “Tools” palette. Use the text toolbar at the top of the page to choose a font, size and colour for the text. Position your cursor on the “EmergencyID” box and type your name, statistics such as height and weight, contact number and address.

  9. Switch to a red font colour and add information to the card, such as “Hemophiliac” or “Blood Type, O-.”

  10. Click the right-pointing triangle in a circle icon or the three small lines icon at the top right of the “Layers” palette on the right side of the screen. Select “Flatten Image.” Click the “File” menu, select “Save As” and save the card to your computer.

  11. Open Publisher or download a free trial and click “Blank Print Publication.” Change the default page size by clicking “File,” selecting “Page Setup,” scrolling to “Custom” and typing 3.5-by-2.5 inches. Click the “OK” button and the Publisher workspace automatically adjusts.

  12. Pull down the “Insert” menu, click “Picture” and select “From File.” Browse to your photo on your computer and double-click the image, which opens on the card workspace. Press and hold down the “Shift” key, grab a corner of the picture and shrink it down into place.

  13. Click the “Text Box” tool, which looks like an “A” on an index card, located on the left side of the screen. Draw a text box on the rest of the space of the medical ID card. Type your name, emergency medical information, allergies, previous medical history and contact information. Use the text toolbar at the top of the page to change the words’ appearance, such as outlining your allergies in red or making your previous immunisation bold.

  14. Give your card an easy-to-spot background colour by pulling down the “Format” menu, clicking “Background” and clicking one of the coloured boxes, which will instantly change the Publisher workspace background.

  15. Click the “File” menu and select “Save As.” Type a name for the ID card and save it to your computer.

  16. Tip

    All Windows computers come equipped with the Paint software program, so you can immediately be up and running and making emergency ID cards. If you’ve already got the Adobe Creative Suite on your computer, you’ll have Photoshop, which is included. If not, you can experiment with Photoshop’s functionality through a free downloadable trial before investing any money in the software. If you have the Microsoft Office Suite on your computer, you more than likely have Publisher. If not, Microsoft also offers a free trial of the Suite, which includes Publisher, so you can test out the ease of use to make ID cards before making a purchase.

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Things You'll Need

  • Windows Paint
  • Digital image
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Publisher

About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.

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