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Many of you have asked how to use some of the formatting tricks that I use to make posts look better. This diary, then, is a short tutorial to help you with some basic HTML commands.

The commands are easy and you can use them in diaries or comments. The formatting should default to Auto Format, but if you run into an error or the formatting is not working, check the drop-down menu on the page to make sure it reads Auto Format. It also contains entries for HTML and Plain Text, but the commands below work in the Auto Format setting.

Paragraphs and line breaks

In order to start a new paragraph, simply press Enter twice. To insert a line break, press Enter once. Note that text will automatically wrap to fit the size of the screen, so line breaks like that are generally unnecessary. In most cases, you shouldn't need to hit Enter at all except for paragraph breaks.

Bold and Italics

If you want to emphasize a word or phrase, you can type it into the text box surrounded in asterisks (*), *like this*. This will cause the text between the asterisks to be rendered in bold type. Similarly, you can also enter text between underscores (_) or slashes (/), _like this_ /or this/, in order to render the given text in italics.

Making links

Of course, you can't post on the Web without needing to insert a link every now and then. Creating a link is as simple as typing in the URL (the address shown in your browser's toolbar at the top of the window). Auto Format mode will automatically turn all URLs into links. For example, if you were to type the following text:

This website runs weblog software from
the resulting comment will look like this:
This website runs weblog software from .
Of course, it's not always desirable to have the text of the link be the same as the target of the link. For example, if you wanted the text "This search engine" to point to, you would type the following:

<a href="" target="_blank">This search engine</a>

Which will render like so:

This search engine

I would ask you to use the "target=_blank" attribute, which makes any new document link open in a new browser window -- thus making it NOT navigate away from BCB!

Making lists You can create bulleted lists by entering a series of lines starting with an asterisk followed by a space ('* '). Numbered lists can be created similarly, by typing a series of lines beginning with a number follwed by a period ('1. '). For example, typing in the following text:

* Eggs * Bacon * Toast * Hot grits
will give the following result:
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Toast
  • Hot grits
Also, if you want to make block quotes such as the ones I use on the front page when I'm quoting another source like an article or some other website, write it like this:
<div class="blockquote">Insert text of the quote here</div>
And it will look like this:

Insert text of the quote here
As we have discussed in recent days, if you quote from an article, you can post a paragraph or two of the original article with a link back to the article -- please don't post entire texts of copyrighted material from other sources. Thanks!