Posted Sunday, January 16, 2005
One of the questions I am most often asked is how to format ezines. I always use TextPad for these, to format articles and a multitude of other email offerings. This software *fixes* hard line breaks so that everything comes out looking neat. It's a tool I would be lost without.
(You can get a free download of the evaluation version here: (http://www.textpad.com/) This is fully working.)
I found it a little confusing to configure at first and had to ask for instructions, so here they are for you in case you haven't found the *secret* yet ...
1. From the top menubar pick Configure, then Preferences
2. A box will have poped up. In there, choose Document Classes (Click the little + to the left of that category to expand it.)
3. Next click on the word "Text" within the list of choices in that section.
4. The right hand part of the box should now have changed. You should see a place at the bottom right there where it says "Word break at column number"
5. Click to put a tick in the box to the left of that statement.
6. Type 60, 65 or however many characters per line you wish in the little box to the right of the statement. 65 is probably "industry standard". I like 60.
7. Click OK
You should now be set up correctly.
In use, there are a couple of other things you need to be aware of:
1. To make the formatting work in each individual document, you need to depress (to the IN position) the little button that is along the second to top row of the menubars. It looks like a "squiggle" or an S backwards.
If, for instance, you have pasted in some text that was previously formatted at more than your set number of characters, it will then instantly show up the "funny" breaks, which you can manually correct, or it will automatically format the new text you type.
2. Also, and this may seem obvious, but you MUST save the document in TextPad first to *fix* in the breaks, before you copy and paste the text to either your email program or your online message posting box for your ezine distribution.
Saving adds necessary, but invisible to you, code for the hard line breaks. If you do not save your work first, it will look right to you in TextPad, but will not be right when it is sent by email.
Ezine Assistant is a program you can use as an alternative, if you really cant get along with TextPad. That also has facilities for setting the line breaks. You can grab a copy from: (http://tucats.virtualave.net/eza2_0.exe)
There is also an online formatting facility: FormatIt: (http://www.jbmckee.com/formatit/index.html)
For a great online tutorial on formatting, which also has screenshots on how to use TextPad:
About the Author
Pamela Heywood publishes TuCats Mewsletter (online business) mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and Ezine Advertising Classifieds Zine mailto:email@example.com (free ads). She is one of the successful publishers featured in "50 E-zine Publishers Interviewed" (http://www.tucats-design.com/interviews)