WordPress Quick Tips #4:Formatting Your Posts the Easy Way

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Have you ever slaved over the formatting of particularly tricky blog post then forgotten how you did it?  Ever gone back and edited an old post to hunt down the fiddly HTML you wrote so you can use it again in a new post?  Well, I have, and I just found out something that makes the whole process easier and quicker.

All you need to do is find an example of the formatting you want to use somewhere in your blog, perhaps from a similar post you wrote a while back  It could be an embedded image with text wrapped around it (like the one at the top of this post) or it could be a nicely colored download box with padding and a border.  Once you have found what you need, simply swipe-select (hold down the left mouse button) the part of the page with the formatting you want and copy it (Ctrl-C) to the clipboard.  Then all you have to do is paste the contents of the clipboard (Ctrl-V) into the post editor (in “Visual” mode).  Hey, presto!  Instant formatting.  Just replace the old text with the new and you’re on your way.  Note: you can copy image links this way too, so adding all your favorite formatting and images to new posts is a breeze.

For example, in my WordPress Quick Tips posts I always include a graphic at the top-left of the post.  In the past I would go back and edit an old “tips” post, switch to HTML mode, figure out the start and the end of the HTML I wanted to copy, copy it to the clipboard, then paste it into the HTML view of my new post before finally switching back to Visual mode and continuing the edit.  Well this time I used the technique I just described and it was much quicker.  I simply looked up an old post with the same icon (no need to edit it) and then swipe selected the icon and the first line of text (to be certain I had everything I needed), then pasted it into the editor (in “Visual” mode).

Note: after you have pasted formatted text and graphics into a post, it’s usually a good idea to switch briefly to HTML mode to check that you haven’t copied some extra formatting you don’t need.

Finally, while it is possible to use the same technique to copy text formatting and image links from other websites, I don’t recommend it.  First, it’s likely that you will not get all the formatting you expected because the other site will be using completely different CSS stylesheets, and second, even if you successfully copy over image links, you would be doing something called “hotlinking” the images which is a big no-no, since you would be stealing bandwidth from the site hosting the images.

But if you want to repeat some of the same formatting tricks you used in earlier posts on your blog, then this is an excellent way do it without having to fiddle around with the HTML.

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