Entering text is quite easy, you just type. However, if you are copying from a Word document you MUST find and use the Paste from Word icon to strip the formatting as Word doesn’t always play nicely with other applications, like a blog. (Some people are also experiencing problems when trying to paste anything using Internet Explorer. That is usually due to your settings, so you will need to find the problem setting or use Firefox.)
When you start posting, make sure you have the “Kitchen Sink” open. Yes, that’s what it’s really called. This gives you more options for styling, which you will need as you progress. Take a few minutes to hover your cursor over each icon to familiarize yourself with their functions. Especially take note of the Cleanup messy code, Remove formatting, Undo & Redo, bullet-ed lists and links.
You can change the color and size of a font, and you can use headings for emphasis. [Found under the Paragraph drop down.] Be very careful about using fancy fonts in your text. There are a limited number of fonts that are on everyone’s computer globally and if the font you selected is not available, the results can be messy to say the least. Usually, the font on your website or your blog is set site-wide for consistency so leave it set to the default and all will be well.
A few more text suggestions.
- Don’t underline anything that is not a link. In fact, don’t use underline at all within text.
- Don’t use italics, they are particularly difficult to read on monitors.
- Don’t think that if large is good, huge is better. It’s not. Limit your image sizes.
- Don’t center everything just because you can.
- Do use bullet-ed lists, they are very easy to read and make your text stand out.
- Do use the built in spellchecker. Errors will show as a wiggly red line. Right click to see what is suggested.
Problems arise when inserting images, but these can be avoided with a little advance planning. First, the width of all images in a single line MUST fit within the space allowed. Sometimes what you don’t see is a little padding added to each side of the content area to keep content from butting up directly to the images. That padding is included in the total width.
Secondly, if you want to display a group of pictures, consider using a table to format the layout. A 2 row, 2 column table will nicely display 4 photos without them being all over the page.
The easiest way to learn how tables work is to try each of these icons to see what happens, then use the undo and try another one. The time spent here will save you hours of frustration later.
In our next session we will insert images, add a description, add a border and add some padding. Stay tuned.