Cutting and pasting text
My text doesn't look right
Adding images to your blog
Managing files and links
Choosing where to place my blog items
Choosing the order in which my blog items are displayed
Posting pre-existing articles
If you have the text of your blog item already available in some other format then you can insert it into your blog item without having to re-type everything. There are a few pitfalls to avoid though associated with how text is formated and displayed in your blog vs the source of the text.
If you are copying from a word document you should use the "paste from word" function. Use your mouse to highlight the text in your word document and choose 'edit' -> 'copy' (or use the keyboard shortcut ctrl+c). In the blog editor click on the "paste from word" icon and use ctrl+v to paste the text, then click on insert. The formatting (bold, underline, etc) in your word doc will be retained, you may still have to make a few adjustments using the blog editor; for example many people insert a blank paragraph in Word to give separation between text, this is not needed in your blog and should be removed.
The way that text is displayed in your blog item is controlled by what kind of item it is. For example, is it a text paragraph, a heading, a bulleted list? To maintain a consistent look throughout the SSA website we use the same size and font of text and display it justified (full lines of text have an even margin on both sides). If your text is not being displayed in like all the other text on the SSA website there are a few possibilities...
- You cut and pasted directly from another source in the blog edit window. Solution, if copying from Word use the "copy from word" function, if copying from some other source use the "paste as plain text" function.
- The text has no applied format. Put your cursor in the text and look at the top left format pulldown, it should be selected to "paragraph", if it is not then choose this now. Hint: you can select all the text in you blog item by clicking on the "select all" icon and then apply the paragraph format to everything.
After you've finished creating your blog item and everything looks ok in the blog editor choose "add/update" and then preform a final check of how it looks as displayed on your homepage.
When you are creating a document on your word processor it's easy to insert images into the text just by dragging and dropping them. When inserting an image into your blog item you must first upload the image to the SSA web server. Do this by choosing "upload photo" from the configure menu of your homepage. This is very similar to the process that is used when you upload photos to the SSA online photo gallery except there are a couple of extra choices when you upload a photo from your homepage. You can choose whether the photo will be available in the general public photo gallery, to restrict the photo to your member photo gallery, or if it should be available only to you. Note that your member gallery is visible only at your homepage and you can control whether only SSA members can access it or if it should be public through your member profile. Hint: if you are uploading an image just for the purpose of inserting it into a blog item (e.g. a diagram or chart) then choose private when uploading it.
Once you have uploaded your images for your blog item you now need to insert them into the text. Place you cursor at the point in your text where you want the image to be displayed and then click on the "insert/edit image" icon. This will bring up a dialogue box where you need to enter some details about the image. First you need to pick the image. The easy way to do this is to select it from the image list, this is a pulldown list of all the images that you have uploaded to the SSA web site (including general gallery, member gallery, and private). Hint: the list is ordered with the most recently uploaded image at the top. Once you have selected the image you will see that the dimensions box has automatically filled in with the actual dimensions of the image that you uploaded (note when you upload an image to the SSA server it automatically re-sizes it to be no greater that 640x480 pixels). At this point you could just choose "insert" and the image will be placed at your cursor however you may want to select a couple of other options before you go.
- Size: The width of the text area in your blog is about 460 pixels, so if the image is 640 pixels wide it is too wide! Choose an image width of 460 if you want the image to fill the entire width of your blog, or less if you want text to flow around the image. Hint: remember to scale the height of the image by the same factor as the width to maintain the correct aspect ratio of your image (640x480 scales down to 460x345 for a full width image or 200x150 for an image slightly less than half the text width).
- Alignment: Typically choose left or right.
- Border: All other images on the SSA website are displayed with a 0 width border so choose this to make your blog fit in.
- Horizontal and Vertical space: Picking about 5 pixels of space will give your text and image about the right amount of separation.
Remember you can always go back and adjust the image properties by selecting it and choosing the "insert/edit image" icon.
One of the most powerful features of web articles is the ability to link to other web pages or files, and you can do this in your blog item too.
To link to a web URL, first open a browser window to the destination (target) page. Select the entire web address including the "http://" at the beginnning and then choose "edit > copy" (or use the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+C"). Switch back to the blog edit window, type in and highlight the word(s) that you want to turn into a link and then click on the "insert/edit link" icon. A new window will open. Click in the "link URL" box and then right click and choose paste (or use the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+V"). In the link window, you also need to choose is whether your target link will open in a new browser window or the current one. Then click "insert" or "update".
To link to a file (e.g. a powepoint presentation or pdf document) you must first upload that file to the SSA web server. Do this by choosing "upload file " from the configure menu of your homepage. Once you have uploaded your file you now need to create a link to it in your text. Highlight the text that that you want to link to your file and then click on the "insert/edit link" icon. This will bring up a dialogue box where you need to enter some details about the file. First you need to pick the file. The easy way to do this is to select it from the file list, this is a pulldown list of all the files that you have uploaded to the SSA web site. Hint: the list is ordered with the most recently uploaded image at the top.
The Location pulldown menu controls where your blog item is displayed. The options are:
- News/Blog, By Date: This is the default choice and you should choose it for news articles, features, etc. Items placed here are available under the "My Blog" menu pick.
- Home Page Fixed: This choice places the item at the top of your home page and places a "home" entry in your menu. if you have entered fixed items then they are displayed by default. If you have not entered any fixed items then your home page will default to your "News/Blog, By Date" items.
- My Menu: This choice places a menu pick (the title) into your menu. Only when a visitor clicks on this link is the content displayed. Choose this for things like a bio or favorite links page.
This number controls the order in which "Home Page Fixed" or "My Menu" items are displayed, "1" is at the top of the page, etc.
The order of items tagged for "News/Blog, By Date" is controlled by the date on which the item was first entered. "News/Blog, By Date" items also appear in your archive.
If you already have a article in a word doc or pdf that you want to post in your blog space then there are a couple of alternative ways to achieve this.
- Create a new blog item and cut&paste the contents of your work doc into the blog editor. Make sure you use the "copy from word" icon to remove unwanted hidden formatting from the content. Note that cutting and pasting will only work on the text content and any images will have to be uploaded and embedded back into your new blog item.
- Upload the word doc or pdf (preferred) using the "upload file" item in the right side configure menu bar of your home page. Create a new blog item and add a teaser paragraph (often the first paragraph of your word doc is a good teaser) and then create a link to the uploaded full article using the word "more" after the teaser paragraph.
Note... if you choose the second option then make sure that the teaser contains the escence of the full article and most importantly any key words that someone might search for to find your article.