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Tables – What are they for?

Some may have noticed that there is no table button in the visual editor in WordPress. This is deliberate. Tables are intended for tabular data – defined as data that is best presented in rows and columns. So each “record” shares the same “fields”. If you do not have tabular data then it is highly recommended not to use tables in your layouts.

For starters, it’s usually more accessible to people with disabilities and it is incredibly difficult to render tables properly through voice (trying to render a two dimensional entity via a one dimensional medium). It also makes sense not to hard code presentation on your site. If you use tables, you limit yourself, the next time you’ll want to change your site, you’ll have to completely recode all your tables. Whereas if you are just using the visual editor all you need to do is change a line and and presto, your done.

Also, it gives greater flexibility to users coming to your site on alternate medium. Say, someone coming on with a cellphone. If you have a site relying on tables, it’s *really* hard to deliver the site in a different layout targeting small screen. If you only use text and basic formatting it will fit whatever medium a person coming to your site is on and they can quickly find what they are looking for and not have to pan and zoom around trying to understand what is going on.

There are many different ways to lay out a page and present the same data in ways that do not use tables. If you want to have two columns of data side by side for a schedule consider the information from the left column on top of its counterpart on the right and perhaps even making what was to be the first column bold so that it is differentiated from its counterpart data.

Ultimately though, if you need to use tables for what they were designed for and display rows and columns of tabulated data then the paste from Word button is your best friend as it will clean most of Microsoft’s proprietary formatting and give you a clean place to start.

Microsoft Word

Problems

Microsoft Word is a fine word processor for producing documents to be shared or printed, with a wealth of print-based options for indexing, and producing table of contents. As a web publishing tool it is a little less than ideal and produces very messy HTML. The same applies when using OpenOffice, or other word processors.

When text is pasted it initially looks fine:

openoffice-visual

But looking at the HTML code you can see that it is full of additional tagging information.

openoffice-dirty

This could cause issues with the display of the post or page on your blog, and effect the general layout, as well. The same code above can be written a lot more cleanly using the WordPress visual editor:

openoffice-clean

Using Word Cleanly

If you decide that you still want to use Word then you should use the Word cleanup feature to remove all extraneous tags from your text. From the visual editor click on the show kitchen sinkbutton:

kitchen-sink

Then click on the paste Word button:

paste-word

A window will appear where you can insert your Word content.

word-window

When satisfied, you can then click insert and it will clean the content and insert it into your post. Note that all your formatting will be removed so any styles will need to be added in afterward.

RSS Feeds

A feed is a function of special software that allows feedreaders to access a site, automatically looking for new content and then posting the information about new content and updates to another site. This provides a way for users to keep up with the latest and hottest information posted on different blogging sites.

There are several different kinds of feeds, read by different feedreaders. Some feeds include RSS (alternately defined as “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication”), Atom or RDF files.

WordPress Built-in Feeds

By default, WordPress comes with various feeds. There are times when you want to tell someone your site’s feed address or URL, or you need it to submit it to search engines and directories, many of which now accept feed URL submissions. There are four possible URLs for each of your feeds. Any of these will work.

http://example.com/feed/

http://example.com/feed/rss/


http://example.com/feed/rss2/


http://example.com/feed/rdf/


http://example.com/feed/atom/

The “More” Tag

You can truncate your blog entries so that only the first part of certain posts is displayed on the home and archive pages. When you do this, a link will be placed directly after your excerpt, pointing the reader to the full post.

You can find the More Tag button in the first row of the visual editor toolbar or by pressing Alt+Shift+T:

more_button

Using the More tag

  1. Go to Posts -> Add New in your dashboard to create a new blog entry.
    Note: this does not work with Pages.
  2. Begin writing your post. When you decide that you want to cut it off, insert the More tag to split the post (mark where the excerpt officially ends). You will see the More Tag as such in the visual editor:
    more_post
  3. Finish writing your post.
  4. Publish the post and view the front page of your blog. You should see your post effectively split using the More Tag.
    Note: The more tag is not displayed in post previews, since previews display posts in entirety, but the more tag will appear once the post has been published.

Click on the link, and you will be taken to the post in its full form. The front page of your blog should display the post similar to:

But wait, there’s more!

You can further customize the message that displays in the link to the full post content.

You will need to do this in the HTML view of your editor. Once you have changed to the HTML editor, look for this code:

<!--more-->

Custom Read More Message

To customize the message, simply add a space after <!--more, and turn it into something like this…

<!--more But wait, there's more!-->

The front page of your blog should now display your post as such:

Note: You will need to customize the message for each post. You cannot declare a global message that will take effect on each post of your blog that uses the More Tag.

Formatting Issues

If the More Tag is inserted after writing a post, formatting errors can occur. The issue occurs when you insert the More Tag using the visual editor, but it is actually placed within another HTML tag. As an example:

Oh man, this post is messed up. Continue reading

Tags and Categories

Tags

Tags provide a useful way to group related posts together and to quickly tell readers what a post is about. Tags also make it easier for people to find your content. Tags are similar to, but more specific than, categories. The use of tags is completely optional.

Tags can be displayed at the top or bottom of posts, on the individual post view, and/or in the sidebar. You can assign multiple tags per post.

Adding Tags via the Tags Module

You can assign and/or add new tags to posts before you publish them using the Post Tags module to the bottom right of the post editor. You can add tags one at a time by clicking the Add button or hitting the Enter/Return key on your keyboard after typing each tag. Or you can add multiple tags at a time by separating them with a comma as you type.

Separate multiple tags with commas

To remove a tag from the post, click the small X icon next to the tag.

Deleting a tag

To choose from your most commonly used tags, click Choose from the most used tags. Then, click on the tags you want to assign to the post.

module-tags1

Categories

Categories provide a helpful way to group related posts together, and to quickly tell readers what a post is about. Categories also make it easier for people to find your content. Categories are similar to, but broader than, tags.

Depending on the theme and widgets you have activated, categories can be displayed at the top or bottom of posts, on the individual post view, and/or in the sidebar. You can assign multiple categories per post (you must assign at least one), and categories can be organized hierarchically.

Adding Categories via the Categories Module

You can assign and/or add new categories to posts before you publish them using the Categories module to the right of the post editor.

 

Select the checkbox next to a category name to add it to a post.

  • If you would like to add a new category to your blog and associate it with the post, click + Add New Category.
  • Click the Most Used tab at the top of the module to select from your already created categories that you use the most.
  • Use the Parent Category drop down menu to nest a category within a category.

Post Formats

Post formats allow you to spice up your blog’s news page by making the different types of content you share visually distinct from one another. To see what post formats are currently supported, go to Posts -> Add New in the dashboard and look for the Format module on the right:

To see what the different formats look like, add some content to the editor, select a post format, and click Preview.

Here’s a list of all the post formats that are available:

  • Standard – Your normal, average, everyday blog post. This is the default styling for your theme.
  • Gallery – Usually will show a thumbnail from the blog post, as well as an excerpt of what the gallery is about.
  • Aside – These are brief snippets of text that aren’t quite whole blog posts. Useful for quick thoughts and anecdotes
  • Image — These posts highlight your images
  • Status — Short updates about what you’re doing right now.
  • Quote — These posts highlight your blockquoted text in a bolder way than standard posts do
  • Video — Just like Image posts these posts highlight your videos
  • Audio — Just like Image and Video these posts highlight your Audio attachments
  • Chat – These posts highlight snippets of memorable conversations you have with friends, both online and offline.

Edit Posts Screen

When creating a new post on WordPress.com, you may notice that you have a variety of boxes, also known as “modules”. These modules offer customizable options for publishing your post, such as adding Tags to entry or selecting whether or not comments are allowed on your post.

Editor

The Editor is where you type the content of your post.

Publish

The publish module includes your Post StatusPost Visibility, and when your post was published.

The Post Status shows whether a post is published or unpublished.

  • Published – The post has been published on your blog for all to see.
  • Scheduled – When the post’s timestamp is set in the future for automatic publishing.
  • Pending Review – The post has been submitted by a Contributor. It must be published by an Editor or Administrator before it is visible to blog readers.
  • Draft – An unpublished post. The post will not be visible to readers until the post is published.

Post Title and Permalink URL

The Title and URL of a post are related by default. When you initially type the title of your post, the post slug (used in the permalink/URL) is automatically created.

The post slug is the part of the URL after the date in a post’s URL. When the default post slug is created, all letters will be converted to lowercase, spaces will be exchanged with dashes, and any special characters will be removed.

You can modify the post slug by clicking the Edit button next to it. When you’re finished editing, click OK. After you are done making your changes don’t forget to click the Update button to update the post and save these changes.

This is especially handy if, for example, your page title is very long, but you would like a URL that people can remember more easily.

If your language uses a non-western character set, long post titles can break post slugs. To fix that, shorten the post slug to a single word.

Keep in mind that only the post slug can be changed. You cannot change any other part of the url such as removing the date.

Post Format

From this module you have the ability to select which format you’d like to use for each post. Learn more about formatting options here.

Tags and Categories

Tags and categories allow you to group your posts together and take advantage of our Topics pages to connect with the WordPress.com community. You can learn more about adding tags and categories to your posts here. For more information on the difference between tags and categories, take a look at our Categories vs. Tags support page.

Post Author

The Author module is used to change the author of a post. To change a post’s author, use the dropdown menu to select the new author and click Update or Publish to save the changes.

Excerpt

Some themes support using Excerpts, or summaries, of your post.

Troubleshooting

If you’re missing one of the modules listed above on your New Post or Edit Post page, you may need to enable it in your Screen Options settings.