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How to Avoid Using the LJ Rich Text Editor - CaffieneKittySpace
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How to Avoid Using the LJ Rich Text Editor
Since the Rich Text editor on Livejournal goes insane frequently and messes things up and drives everyone nuts, here are some basic HTML codes for use when posting on Livejournal in the HTML Editor.

Basic formatting tags:

<i>This is italicized</i>
This is italicized

<b>This is bold</b>
This is bold

<u>This is underlined</u>
This is underlined

<center>This is centered</center>
This is centered

All of these can be used together in any combination.

<i><b><center>Like so.</center></b></i>
Like so.

It’s generally a good idea to close the tags in the reverse order they went on, but I’m not sure how fussy the LJ HTML editor is about that.

<small>This is small text</small>
This is small text

<big>This is big text</big>
This is big text

These can’t be used together (I don’t think. They’d cancel each other out) but can be used with any or all of the above. They can also be ‘stacked’, used multiple times to make text really tiny or really huge, but make sure there is a close-tag for each time the tag is used or the rest of your text will have its size altered as well.

If there is a bunch of formatted text you re-use frequently (i.e. fanfic headers) once you’ve done them the way you want them in one post, you can copy and paste them from that post and just change the bits that need changing. Or, if you're more organized than I am, you can set up a special Notepad or other text editor file with your commonly used blocks of HTML formatted stuff without any individual story/etc content, and copy it fresh each time for less risk of forgetting to change something from an old story/etc.

Other codes you will likely need.

<lj-cut text="This is your cut text.">This text is hidden under the cut.</lj-cut>
This text was hidden under the cut.
(If the remainder of your document is to be under the cut, you don’t need to put in the closing </lj-cut> tag. If you have multiple cuts in your post, the closing </lj-cut> tag needs to be put in at the end of each cut section, or the other cuts won’t show up, like this one didn’t, since it is inside a larger cut.)

<lj user=[username or community name]>
This makes an LJ username a link to their page, like so: caffienekitty
There is no closing tag for this code.

<a href="[Full website address]">This is a link.</a>
This is a link.

<img src="[Full image address]">This is a graphic.

(This also has no close-tag)

There is also the block quote tag, which some might need for quoting things, or as a way to set off a letter or document being read by the characters in a story.

<blockquote>[Text goes here]</blockquote>

This is a block quote. It does not render the same way in all LJ styles, so check preview to see what it looks like in your layout before hitting post. Also keep in mind, other people may be looking at your page in their own style, which may take your blockquoted text and do unspeakable things to it. Use sparingly.

And as a bonus, how to do a spoiler bar:

(You might want to copy and paste this code rather than trying to remember it.)

<span style="color:black; background-color:black">This is a spoiler, highlight to read.</span>

This is a spoiler, highlight to read.

This is very handy if you have things in a story that people might be upset by and that you want to warn for, but are also major plot points that would spoil the story. By spoiler-barring them, those who need to can check the warnings, and those that don’t need to won’t be spoiled. You can use the names of other basic colours instead (red, blue, green, white, yellow), or a colour hex code if you want a specific colour (there is an online hex code generator here, just copy the code including the # sign and use it in place of the colour names in the code above). Keep in mind that to work as a spoiler bar, the colours must match, and the colour must be one that can be read when highlighted using the mouse, so be sure to test that when you preview the post.

Things to watch for when using HTML.:

-Make sure all your quotation marks are straight, not curly. Curly quotes will always mess things up in code. If you do your initial writing in a Word or OpenOffice doc, there is a way to turn off curly or ‘smart’ quotes. Refer to your help function for your program. I don’t know how to turn them off in Google Docs, and I wish I did. Also make sure that your quotation marks are in sets, otherwise, it will continue on until it finds another quotation mark to close the first one off and the post will look very odd indeed.

-Make sure you are pasting your HTML-ized entry into the correct LJ posting tab. The LJ Rich Text Editor is evil, and feeding it HTML makes it eviller. Pretend that "Rich Text" tab doesn’t even exist.

-Word processing programs can add things that you don’t want in an HTML document, even if you tell it to be text-only. (Many word processors have a built in ‘web page’ format now. DON’T USE IT FOR LJ. That way lies pain and misery.) If you aren’t comfortable using a text-editor (Notepad, Simpletext, TextEdit) to write, copy your post from your word processing document and paste it into a text document

-Always preview. It’s really easy to miss a closing tag, and if there is no closing tag, the format you’ve chosen will go on forever, and ever, and ever... It’s also easy to put in too many closing tags, or the wrong closing tag. These will show up in the post, looking all lost and forlorn. Go back in and delete the extra tags, or change them to be the right one if for example you’ve got a /b instead of an /i.

-To test an LJ-cut, post the post to yourself as private, then check your journal to see if the cut is functioning correctly. Preview will not show you if the cut is mangled, and all it takes is one missing quotation mark, or some curly quotes to mess up a cut tag.

I’m sure I’m forgetting many things, and of course there’s tables and lists and whatnot, but these are the basics you’ll need for posting using HTML. The LJ HTML editor takes care of a bunch of things like paragraph and break tags that on a straight HTML-coded web page you’d need tags for, so no need to worry about those.

It seems like a lot of work at first, but it can be done. I’ve been writing things directly into HTML for years, and it’s second nature to me now, to the point I have to remind myself not to put in formatting tags when I’m writing email or non-HTML things.

I’m not an expert in HTML by any stretch of the imagination, and this is only a really basic guide-thingy, but I hope this helps some of you escape the evils of the Rich Text editor!

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: quixotic quixotic
Current Music: "Code Monkey ~ Jonathan Coulton

25 comments or Leave a comment
embroiderama From: embroiderama Date: August 24th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I’ve been writing things directly into HTML for years, and it’s second nature to me now, to the point I have to remind myself not to put in formatting tags when I’m writing email or non-HTML things.

Yes, me too! I taught myself from Geocities. LOL I've now lost most of the web page design stuff I taught myself (which was decent at the time but horribly basic now) but those formatting tags and whatnot are happily stuck in my brain. If you don't mind, I'm going to promote this post on my journal.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 24th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Go right ahead! I've seen a lot of Rich Text Rage floating around lately, so I'm hoping this helps people.
ficwriter1966 From: ficwriter1966 Date: August 24th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome! I knew a few of them - I flipped back and forth between Rich Text and HTML to see what the codes were, and I've been using Notepad to strip out the Word-generated junk codes.

Rich Text seems to still be arbitrarily double-spacing things - but I found that if you go into "edit," make no changes, then save the page again - the double-spacing goes away.

So typical. Every time they try to "improve" things, it messes everything up. *headdesk*
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I do not know why people keep 'improving' things that worked just fine.
saberivojo From: saberivojo Date: August 24th, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. Other folks have tried to teach me and I have a cheat sheet - but I have copied and pasted this to my existing cheat sheet.

LJ...why do you do this to me?
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
If any of us knew why LJ did some of the things it does, we'd be psychic.
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: August 24th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nicely put together.

I learned HTML (basics, anyway) well before I ever got on LJ, so I've never used the Rich Text thingy.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I've never used the rich text thing either. I tend to think in HTML. XD
aelfgyfu_mead From: aelfgyfu_mead Date: August 25th, 2011 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I use some of those, but there were a few I didn't know.

"Code Monkey" is a very appropriate song!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Indeed it is! One of my favourites of his as well.
tigriswolf From: tigriswolf Date: August 25th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I may be snagging this to keep always.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 03:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Forever and ever? Whee! \o/
greeneyes_fan From: greeneyes_fan Date: August 25th, 2011 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I've always used the plain HTML editor, until I (for some STUPID reason) decided to write something with immensely complicated formatting on almost every single line, requiring color changes and like 30-character tags. So I had to not only use the Rich Text editor, but switch back and forth between the two to get everything neat and tidy. It's been a huge headache, I'm STILL not 100% done, and I am NEVER doing it again.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, funky formatting tricks are a pain, particularly when you start getting into multiple font colour changes.
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: August 25th, 2011 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I too have been flipping back and forth to figure things out, so thanks:)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome!
From: uwsannajane Date: August 25th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I got completely screwed by the Rich Text editor the other day - so badly that I had to take a post down. Am really grateful for this, as I knew most but by no means all of it!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Eeek. I've heard a lot of horror stories about the Rich Text editor lately, they must have really corked it this time. O.o

Hope this post reduces your stress levels.
kokoda2007 From: kokoda2007 Date: August 25th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. I'm a bit rusty on LJ at the moment and recent posting has caused me endless grief. I'll be saving this as my reference guide. Nice, simple and straightforward.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, happy to help!
irismay42 From: irismay42 Date: August 25th, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I shall duly save this page and keep it forever.

I've tried some HTML tagging (in preference to throwing my computer out the window) but sometimes I still can't get it to work. (It particularly doesn't seem to like centring titles!) But I suspect I might have been doing some of the other things you say not to do!!

Thanks for the help!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are some fiddly things to get the hang of with HTML, remembering to close the tags and keeping the quotation marks straight is the biggest, probably, but once you're past them using the little bits of HTML you'd need for a typical post can be about as fast as using formatting in a word processor. At least for me, but I type as slow as frozen mud. XD
(Deleted comment)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 25th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad there was some new stuff in there for you!
cosmicviolet From: cosmicviolet Date: August 31st, 2011 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Just so you know...I find it much easier sometimes to use the LJ Hook extension. It adds a right click menu when you're on the posting page or in a comment box (See? Just did it with that link), so all you have to do is select the command you want, and voila! Done. I wouldn't do without it. :)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 31st, 2011 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so used to doing HTML I don't need it (takes me about a second to do a link manually), but I can see that would be great for others who aren't as comfortable with code.
25 comments or Leave a comment