How to: Work with news and articles

We can add articles and news items to group pages and to u3a pages. Articles and news items are very similar. The main difference is that:

  • News items are useful for a relatively short period of time. For example an announcement of a change of venue for a meeting.
  • Articles have a longer life. For example: the route taken by a walk or a cycle ride; or the results of a group project.

Add a news item or article

Click any of the following headings for more information. Note that several of the sections include reduced-size screen shots. Click the screen shot to see a larger version...

You'll need to log in to the site before you can create an article or news item. Click the 'Members' area' link shown in the menu and footer of our pages. If you see a 'Log out' link, you are already logged-in.

Navigate to the group page you want to link to. If you intend to link the item to multiple groups, pick any one of them.

If you are authorised, you will see an 'Add a news item or article to this group' link in the header. Click it to see a page like this:

Complete this form to create your new news item or article. The following sections provide more detail.

If you are authorised to just one group, the form will link your item to it automatically.

If you are authorised to multiple groups, you can link your item to any of them by ticking the box next to the group name. For example:

  • You might produce an article about Bridge that is relevant to all the Bridge-playing groups
  • Your item might be raised by one group, but of general interest to all members

If you want to link the item to groups that do not appear, link it to at least one group, save your item, and contact a site editor or administrator who can link the item to the remaining groups for you. Alternatively, you can ask other group leaders to nominate you as editor for their group.

Note that an item linked to multiple groups is still just one item, so changing the item will change it everywhere it appears.

Enter it into the text box which looks like this:

Text entry box and toolbar

It works in the same way as most word processors and email programs. Click in the box and start typing. The normal editing keys (Del, Backspace, arrow keys) work in the usual way. You can select parts of the text and use the toolbar buttons to make it bold, italic etc. Use the bullet buttons to start bulleted or numbered lists and use them again to revert to normal text.

You might want to re-use text from an article you've already written, or you might just be more comfortable using a different editor to write your article.

Copying from the other program and pasting the text into your item often appears to work, but it can cause more problems than it solves by introducing formatting you cannot see but that gives confusing results when you make further changes.

You should therefore consider using the 'Paste as text' button instead. The button displays this dialogue:

Paste as text dialogue

If you paste your text into the text box, you will see the words without any formatting. You can then apply the formatting you need.

If, having pasted your text, you find the formatting gets messed up, select all the text and click the 'Clear formatting' button to get rid of the formatting.

In the text box, highlight the text you want to link and click the 'Insert/edit link' button in the text box toolbar. This panel will appear:

Insert or edit link dialogue

Use one of the following methods to specify the page you want to link to:

  • Enter the page address in the 'URL' box. Your address should be prefixed 'http://' or 'https://' if it's a page on a different site. To link to a page on this site, you can enter everything after 'haylingu3a.org' (i.e. starting with '/').
  • Select a page listed in the box at the bottom of the form - the address of the selected page appears in the URL box automatically.
  • Enter some text in the Search box to restrict the page list to those pages with a title containing your search text. Select a page to link to it.

Optionally tick 'Open link in a new window/tab' if you want the linked page to appear in a new window or tab (you can't control which). You should generally do this for links to other sites so that people can get back to our site easily.

Click 'Add Link' to add your link.

You can change a link you previously entered by clicking on it in the text box and clicking the 'Insert/edit link' button in the text box toolbar. The same pane as shown above will appear, this time populated with the details of the link you are changing.

To remove a link altogether, click the link in the text box and click the 'Remove link' button in the text box toolbar.

You will first need to obtain or create your image. If you are using a digital photograph, your image will probably be too large to be useful on the web site and it will be rejected. Consider using image manipulation software or web site to create a more manageable, smaller version for use in your item. Alternatively, use one of the free storage sites to store your large image and link to it from your page.

It's sometimes appropriate to put a small version of an image into a page (sometimes called a thumbnail) which links to a larger version. To help you with this, the site automatically creates three versions of uploaded images:

  1. A full-size version
  2. A medium size version that will still fit comfortably in a web page
  3. A small version suitable for use as a thumbnail

There are three image formats that are universally implemented by web browsers:

  1. 'GIF' - best for simple images
  2. 'JPG' or 'JPEG' - best for complex images like photos
  3. 'PNG' - good all-rounder, specifically designed for use on the web

If you get the choice, use PNG.

To add your image to your article, place your cursor where the image should appear - normally at the beginning of a paragraph. You get the option to place your image so that text folds around it. If you want your image to appear on the right, place your cursor at the beginning of the relevant paragraph.

Click the 'Add Media' button to see this dialogue...

AddArticle6

You can click the 'Media Library' tab to select an image that has already been uploaded to the site. Alternatively, drag your image into the dialogue box and the site will upload it automatically.

When you select or upload a file, you'll see something like this at the right hand side of the dialogue:

Attachment dialogue

Starting from the top:

  • Title - is the name the file is given in the media library, it defaults to the name of your file
  • Caption - is optional text that will be shown underneath your image when displayed in your page
  • Alt Text - should briefly describe your image if that's not already done by its context; these days 'alt text' is primarily used by people with sight impairment
  • Description - is used when reviewing entries in the media library
  • Attachment display settings - controls how the image will be included in your article...

Use the Alignment selector to decide how your image will be shown:

  • None - displays the image at the position you selected. Text will not wrap around it. You would normally use this option to display the image in a paragraph on its own.
  • Left - displays the image on the left with text flowing around it to the right.
  • Right - displays the image on the right with text flowing around it to the left.
  • Center - (sorry about the spelling) displays the image in the middle with text flowing to both the left and the right.

Use the 'Link To' selector to determine what happens if someone clicks your image:

  • Media File - links directly to the full size version of your image. It will appear in an otherwise blank browser window. Use this option if you want to display your image 'on top' of your article when it is clicked (see below).
  • Attachment Page - Displays your image in a site page that includes a header and footer.
  • Custom URL - Allows you to link your image to anywhere on the internet; enter the address to go to in the box below the selector.
  • None - The image doesn't link to anything; nothing happens if you click it.

Click 'Insert into post' to insert your image. The editor does a reasonable job of showing you how your image will appear. To get a better idea, you should preview your change (see below).

If you want to change how your image appears, click it in the editor to see this selector:

AddArticle11

to:

  • Change the image's alignment
  • Change the image settings
  • Delete the image from your page

You can include a small version of an image that shows a larger version floating on top of your article when you click it. Click this image to see what we mean:

Image details

Single click your image to see a small toolbar containing an Edit button, click it to see the panel shown above

  • Ensure 'Link to' is set to 'Media file'
  • In the 'Advanced options' pane enter "fancybox" without the quotes all one word, all lower case into the 'Link CSS Class' box
  • Click 'Update'

You can link your page to anything that can be stored on computer. For example, a document written in Word. It's OK to link to documents if you know that everyone you expect to read the document has the necessary software. Otherwise, you should convert your document to a generally-available format: normally PDF.

Normally you will create some text or an image in your page that links to your document. Start by highlighting the text or image to be linked then click the 'Add Media' button. From this point the process is similar to adding an image except that there's no sizing or alignment options.

The above explains some of the basics of editing. There are plenty of other options we haven't described. If you see a feature that you would like to use, or if you want to do something, but can't see how; contact Andy and he'll try to help.

Update or delete a news item or article

Log in to the web site and navigate to the item you want to change. For example, it might be linked from your group page.

If you are authorised you'll see a blue button at the top of your entry labelled 'Update or delete'. Click it to see the form described in the 'Add' section above but already filled-in with details from the item you selected.

You can then either:

  • Make your changes and click 'Change your item'; or
  • Click the 'Delete' button to remove the item after replying 'OK' to the confirmation message.