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Thursday, August 30, 2007

A demonstration post to demonstrate posting a Google Docs document to Google Blogger post for the post Add documents, spreadsheets and PDF files to blog.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Centering text, pictures, advertisements, banners, search boxes

Previously, when you need to center "something" (which may be text, pictures, advertisements, banners or search boxes), all you need to do surround that "something" with the <center> and </center> tags, that is, what you have is


where that "something" could be the HTML or Javascript for displaying the picture, advertisement, banner or search box.

The situation is a bit murky now because the <center> tag is depracated in HTML 4.01, but will continue to work for sometime. However, it is not supported in XHTML 1.0 Strict DTD which is going to be more widely used as more and more mobile devices are used and you are encouraged not to use the <center> now. What you should do is to use inline CSS (Cascading Style Sheet). You should now use

<div style="text-align:center;">"something"</div>

instead, and you will no longer have to worry about what happens in the future.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

First alphabet of post in large uppercase and color plus background color

Most magazine style website have the first alphabet of the post larger than the rest of the post and often in different color as well. An example is Good Health Magazine. Some have a colored background as well like Podcasting Magazine. Here is how you can do it:

First alphabet of post large and colored

This was how Good Health Magazine was made to have the first alphabet colored and colored. After signing into Blogger Dashboard, click on SETTINGS tab followed by FORMATTING sub-tab. Right at the bottom of the page is the post template. Whatever you put into the post template will appear in every new post you create. You must first decide on the font size of the first alphabet as well as the color. For the color, you can use this site to help you decide on the color code to use in the script you must put into the post template:

A better alternative is to use an existing color from your site, for example, the post title font color. A great tool you can use is ColorPic which you can download from

I used it a lot. To use ColorPic, you must have the page from which you want to determine the hexadecimal color code opened together with ColorPic. Hover the mouse cursor over the area which you want to know the hexadecimal code. Nowever, if you intend to use the color of the post title for the color of the first alphabet, a problem will be when you hover the mouse cursor over the post title which for most Blogger template, is a clickable link, the post title changes color. To overcome this, use a very good free photo editor Irfanview (click BACK button to get back to this page). At your blog or website, press PRINTSCREEN key, open Irfanview and click EDIT > PASTE from the menu bar. The image of the page will be pasted into the Irfanview window. This time, when you hover your mouse cursor over the post title, it will no longer change color because it is only an image. Open ColorPic and hover your mouse cursor over the post title and the hexadecimal color code of the font of the post title will be displayed in ColorPic. Note it down. In the case of Good Health Magazine, the blog uses Hackosphere modified 3 column template and using the technique described, it was found that the hexadecimal color code of the post title was #CC6600, so this was the color code used for the script in scroll box below (colored red). You will also have to specify the font size (colored orange) and the font family, a list of browser safe font family you can use can be obtained from

for Windows and MAC. The font family I used is colored green in the script in the scroll box below:

<p style="text-align:justify;">
<span style="float:left;color:#CC6600;font-size:80px;line-height:60px;padding-top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family: Times New Roman, serif,;">First alphabet</span>Rest of text.</p>

Once you have decided on your font color, size and family, change the relevant part of the script in the scroll box above, sign into Blogger to get into the Dashboard, click SETTINGS for the blog you want to install this in, followed by FORMATTING sub-tab, and right at the bottom of the page, you will see a large box for the post template. Paste the script into the post template window and save. Once you have done that, each time you create a new post, you will see the script in the post editor window. Type your post above the script, and when you are finished, highlight the script

<span style="float:left;color:#CC6600;font-size:80px;line-height:60px;padding-top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family: Times New Roman, serif,;">

press ctrl+C or right-click and select "copy" to copy into the clipboard. Scroll to the top of your post, and paste this just before the first alphabet you want to be large and colored. Immediately after this first alphabet, either copy </span> from the script at the bottom of the post and paste it immediately after the first alphabet, or, this is what I myself preferred as it is easy to do, type </span> myself immediatlely after the first alphabet.

Now scroll to the bottom of the post, and highlight all the text plus spaces between the last alphabet and </p>, click the DELETE key to delete everything except </p> at the end of the post, and publish.

To illustrate, I will show the first part of the post in What is Advanced Healt Care Directive and why we need it and also the last part:


<h2>What is an Advanced Health Care Directive and Why Do I Need One?</h2>By Barbara C. Phillips
<p style="text-align:justify;">
<span style="float:left;color:#CC6600;font-size:80px;line-height:60px;padding-top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family: Times New Roman, serif,;">A</span>dvanced health care


Source: <a href=""></a></p>

First alphabet of post font large, colored and with background color

The method used for Podcasting Magazine is about the same as the above, except you add one more attribute

background-color:#D4FFFF; to the script:

<p style="text-align:justify;">
<span style="float:left;color:#CC6600;font-size:80px;background-color:#D4FFFF;line-height:60px;padding-top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family: Times New Roman, serif,;">First alphabet</span>Rest of text.</p>

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Shoutbox for your blog

A blog reader asked for visitor's registration. The only thing I can think about is either a Guestbook or a Shoutbox. I have written about Guestbook at Guestbook for your blog with an example at Natural Remedies. Clicking on the links in Guest will take your visitors away from your site (though you may chose to have the new site open in new window).

If you want visitors to remain on your site, you will have to install a Shoutbox. You can see an example of one at Medical Matters at the bottom of the right sidebar. Try leaving a message in that Shoutbox.

That Shoutbox was installed using Shoutmix. You will have to create an account, sign in, click

1. Get codes
2. Place Shoutbox on webpage

then set the width and height of the shout box and also make a choice of whether you want a border or not. For setting width, you can refer to Find width of blog Header, main column (posts), sidebar/s. Highlight all the script in the box below and press ctrl+A to copy into clipboard (or right-click and select "copy"). Now it is best if you use a browser like FireFox which have tabbed browsing (and which is one of two browsers recommended by Blogger). Then you can open a new tab in the same window, sign into Blogger, click LAYOUT for the blog in which you want to install the shoutbox, click ADD A PAGE ELEMENT, select HTML/Javascript, paste the script into the box, type a title if you want, save, drag and drop it into whatever position you want, click "Save" at the top right of the LAYOUT, and you are done.

To see your work, click VIEW BLOG.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ways to display HTML tags in posts and comments

NOTE: All the below instructions are for posting comments or for preparing posts in the EDIT HTML mode, not the COMPOSE mode.

There are some bloggers who may want to post HTML tags in comments or posts but don't know how. If you try to type the HTML tag to display an image, for example:

<img src="photo URL">

exactly as you see it above in the comment or post, you will just get an empty box. I have to use an image to show the codes I used to display the above HTML tag:

The "less than" < have to be replaced by special code to display HTML character and the "great than" > have to be replaced by special code to display greater than

UPDATE 27 August 2008: The image HTML tag below is an illustration of, for example, if you want to show a blog reader what to type in order to display an image. It cannot be used to display an image in the comments

If you have a large block of HTML code to display, an easy way is to type or copy-paste them into Notepad, then click EDIT > REPLACE.... in the menu bar, and type in the appropriate characters. For example, if I want to display the HTML for the images above, I will highlight the HTML, press ctrl+C or right-click and chose "copy" to copy the HTML into clipboard, open a Notepad file, paste the HTML into Notepad, click EDIT > REPLACE... in the menu bar and.... (best illustrated by the screenshot below - click to enlarge):

use Notepad to replace special HTML tags with special code to display them on the web

Click "Replace all" and all the < will be replaced by special code to display less than . You can repeat the process for >.

Once that is done, you can highlight all the changed code, copy-paste into the comment box or the post editor window and submit your comment or publish your post.

For other special characters, refer to How to publish special characters (click BACK) button to get back to this page).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cannot see blog in Dashboard

This seemed to be a common complaint. A blogger is logged into his/her Google account but when he/she goes to the Dashboard, cannot see the blog in the Dashboard. It is not uncommon that a blogger have many Blogger account, or may have created a Blogger account, but have forgotten the username used for that account. Note that whenever you are logged into Google account (that means if you are logged into Blogger, Google Pages, Google analytics or any of the other Google related services except Google AdSense), you will the username in the form of the email address in the navbar when you are in any Blogger/blogspot blog irrespective of whether you happened to be logged into the particular Blogger account containing this blog or not. If the blog don't happen to be in that Google account, you will see this:

Blogger navbar, not logged into Blogger account
Navbar: Not logged into Blogger account

If the blog happened to be in the Blogger account into which you are already logged in, then you will see this:

navbar, logged into Blogger account
Navbar: Logged into Blogger account

Note that in this case, there is an extra "New Post" and "Customize" link for you to click so that you can make a new post or get into the LAYOUT (highlighted with a white circle).

If you don't see the "New Post" or "Customize" link, and you are already logged into a particular Blogger account, but don't want to log out, this is where having more than one browser will come in handy. I have 4 - Internet Explorer, Firefox (my favorite and also recommended by Blogger), Opera and Flock in my computer. You need not worry this may cause any problem to your computer unless you are using a very old computer with very limited memory. Opera used to work well with Blogger but not anymore. See Problem signing into Blogger with Opera. I now use Flock with very little problem except it does not have the Google toolbar and the built-in Google search box which I frequently use.

If you have more than one browser, then open another browser and go to
and you will get this page to either enter the URL of the missing blog or all the email addresses that you ever had, then click "Lookup":

Blogger: Forgot username of password

Then check the inbox of all the email addresses you ever had to see if you have an email from Blogger which will list all the usernames that you have ever used with the email address plus instructions on how to reset the password.

If this failed, or if you actually see the username (email address) plus "New post" and "customize" in the navbar, but cannot see the blog in the Dashboard, as some blogger have complained, then I am afraid your only hope is to try to contact Blogger Support or Problem logging into Blogger or unable to see blog in Dashboard, etc.. It may be difficult to get a response from them, but if you get an automated response, make sure you reply to that email with all the details of your problem including things like operating system, browser, etc. Some bloggers have pretty good fortune in getting help that way, including one who got help the same day she was referred to the above posts. I myself have got problems solved that way a couple of times.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How to delete a blog

New bloggers often miss this as the delete button is not displayed in a prominent place. If you want to delete a blog, sign into Blogger (Dashboard) and you should get a lists of all your blogs (obviously you will see only one blog if you have created only one). Click SETTINGS at the right of the section for the relevant blog, and by default your will be in the BASIC sub-tab. Scroll right to the bottom of that page, and you should see a "Delete This Blog" Blogger delete blog button button. Click that button and you will be asked to confirm. If you are sure you don't want the blog, go ahead and confirm and your blog will be gone from the web.

However, note that if your blog had been indexed and cached by search engines, surfers may still be able to see the cached copy of the blog until it is deleted from the cache. That may take some time.

Before you make the final decision to delete a blog, I hope you take time to read this post Why you should not delete your blog and what you should do if you change your blog URL.

Update: Because of spammers grabbing the URL of deleted blogs for spamming purposes, Blogger has changed it to reserving the URL of deleted blogs for the original blogger's account to claim back later.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Add Label (category or tag) List to blog using old classic Blogger template

If you are using an old classic blogger template, you will have the new Label (category of tag) feature in the New Blogger, but you will not be able to add a Label List in the Sidebar. The labels will only appear at the bottom of the post. If you want to have a Label List in the sidebar like those using the New Blogger template, you will have to add it manually.

For example, you will find the label "support us" at the bottom of the post How you can help Blogger Tips and Tricks (click BACK button to get back to this page or right-click and select "open in new tab):

Google Blogger: labels at bottom of post

In this case, you see only one label, but it could have been more if you had wanted to add more when you publish or edit your post. You just add more labels, separated by commas.

For example, at the bottom of the post Convert your eBooks into PDF files and sell them (click BACK button to get back to this page or right-click and select "open in new tab), you will see 2 labels at the bottom of the post:

New Blogger: many labels at bottom of old classic Blogger template

Supposed I want a Label (category or tag) list in the sidebar of a blog using the old classic template. What I need to do is to click on one of the labels at the bottom of the post (or right-click and select "copy link location (Firefox) or "copy shortcut" (Internet Explorer and Flock) to copy URL into clipboard) and you will be taken to the page where all the posts having that label will be displayed. Copy the URL from the address bar at the top of the browser.

Books for Bloggers

Then go into your template editor (use Add content via the template) as a guide to add this in a suitable position in the classic template:

<h2 class="sidebar-title">Labels (Categories or tags)</h2>
<li><a href="URL of Label page">Name or label</a></li>

Of course if you have more than one labels, you will have to do the above more than once (but only once for each individual label). If you have many labels, which is more likely, the HTML you add may be something like this:

<h2 class="sidebar-title">Labels (Categories or tags)</h2>
<li><a href="URL of Label 1 page">Name of Label 1</a></li>
<li><a href="URL of Label 2 page">Name of Label 2</a></li>
<li><a href="URL of Label 3 page">name of Label 3</a></li>
<li><a href="URL of Label 2 page">Name of Label 4</a></li>

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Asking for help, particularly in respect to Blogger, AdSense, others

We get frequent requests for help, particularly via the comments in Blogger Tips and Tricks, via email, and also at

Frequently, the subject is stated as "Help" or something vague. It would be good to give a more descriptive subject like "How to track visitors to my blog?" or something like that. It will also help to provide the URL to your site. It will help to give as much information as you can about your problem. If you got a specific error message, give the error code. Telling us what version of Blogger (old classic Blogger or New Blogger) you're using will also help as well as telling us if you have tried using other browsers (see What to do when you cannot upload photo, publish post, load a page, sign in, etc. and Why you should be using more than one browser.

There actually was a reader who commented in my post Error Messages which outlined what are the possible steps to take when encountering error message, but he just mentioned he had problems with the Polls: A New Blogger widget just out of beta (Blogger in Draft) which he said was broken plus he could not delete it, but didn't mention if he had tried all the suggestions that was given. I tested adding a poll at Good Health Information and found it was working fine, and not only that, I could delete it and add it back again without problem.

Anyway, it was a good thing that I found out that not only he had that problem, but some other bloggers had the same problems, and referred him to Problem with Polls which is just out of beta (Blogger in Draft). I hope that solved his problem.

You can read more about Polls, a new Page Element for New Blogger.
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