The free version of the WordPress software, especially as it applies to those individuals who previously wrote now defunct knols on knol.google …, has certain limitations. Shown are some simple fixes, based on trial-and-error.
Important Update [March 25, 2014]
This week the editor was not allowing linking in “Articles”, though it is possible on “Posts”. A check into the possibilities was the updating of editors, (March 25), which led to the discovery that Annotum is no longer available to new users. In fact, this has been the case for various themes since around August 9, 2013. A further discovery, which might also explain the problem that the reader has with pdf files, is that the editor, under all conditions, strips formatting from “Word”. I had hoped this was not true. Thus, all formatting has to be done with the editor, or with some knowledge of htm coding.
Update of September 24, 2014
Anyone who is still using Annotum, such as this writer, might as well not write any thing more under “Articles”, not only will linking not work, images can no longer be added, and text can only be defined as bold, italic, and underlined, with no options for headings or titles. This means that use of any options, some of which are now supposedly made user-friendlier, must be done by choosing “Posts”. This, unfortunately, means that the emphasis on academic writing has now been reduced, at least in name, to “blogging”.
Material on the transfer from “knol” has been eliminated. In fact, since all the suggestions were specific to the “Article” editor, everthing that was written on that topic is now irrelevant, unless perhaps a writer is using the paid-for version of the product. This page will be left for a few more months, to see if anyone finds it useful.
Interesting Discovery: Update: September 30, 2015
If anyone is still using Annotum, that person is surely one of a very diminished group. The update made on September 24, 2014, pointed out a sad fact, but there is one piece of good news , probably valid to whatever “theme” is being used. An attempt had been made to insert the last two “articles” written here through formatted text (meaning, Microsoft’s Word), but that didn’t work. Then, as support for Annotum was dropped, these articles could never be finished.
The good news is that formatted text, including footnotes, albeit with any upper-case numbers lowered, can now be directly pasted into the WordPress theme. This means that posts can now have the formal appearance that well-documented articles require. Upper- and lower-case could still be labourously added by those who have some html skills, but modern academia often does not insist on such finessing of content.
Table of Contents
- Advantages of WordPress.com over Other Web-Hosting Services
- Disadvantages of the Totally-Free Version of WordPress (The Downside)
- Starting New Articles
- Solutions to Free Editor Restrictions : TOC – Indentation and Special Spacing – Run-on Text
- Adding Paragraphs When It Seems Impossible
- Images / Making a Readable Chart / Experiments with Images.
- Upgrading to a More User-Friendly Experience
¶ Here are some reflections ignored, if I am not mistaken, on other sites that offer advice on editing in the free version of WordPress. Since many of those sites have more professional capabilities than this one, as a minimum, the reader needs to know everything at this link. That page is partly incorrect, in that the HTML editing function is only available for so-called posts, and “pages”, (not to be confused with articles). Six weeks of editing 11 articles gave birth to this one, which can now be improved in style, insofar as most of my improvements have been made to the other things I have written. Please note that I can only comment on problems that I myself have experienced. In some cases, problems corrected themselves after a month – admittedly, a long time to wait.
¶ Once familiarized with WordPress , some users will find limitations, for example, the editor cannot be changed to HTML when using the Annotum theme – in “Articles”. (It is possible under “Posts”.) To that end, it is hoped that there is something for everybody here, but it is especially for individuals who have transferred their “Knols” to the just-mentioned theme.
Author’s Needs, and Advantages of WordPress
¶ The decision to transfer my files to the present site was not made lightly, but after an analysis of the options. The first problem is that the service had to be free – because, among other things, foreign exchange in the country where I find myself, has been made difficult to obtain, though it would be untruthful to say that WordPress charges a lot for its upper-end services. The second requirement is that the website is able to manage a diverse range of characters – from Arabic to Chinese, from Hebrew to Russian. The third requirement was no (apparent) limit on the amount of space required for the articles, and the server time. Web statistics would be nice. A final, ideal requirement, was no advertising – that being because of the agreement I have, in order to use one of my sources.
¶ How well does wordpress.com comply with the above? Web statistics are wonderful, and because of their lesser prominence, give less incentive to cheats. Some objectional advertising was once displayed on one page. Where permission is not possible for use of material because of “non-commercial” use restrictions, material will have to be deleted.
¶ The alternatives, on the other hand, though often free, are often limited to English only (I found several pirated versions of one of a couple of my articles, which had removed all vowels with diacritical marks over them! For example, García became “Garca”, which is a regional insult.) Bandwidth is limited to a certain amount per month, and the length of articles must often be shorter than what one wants.
¶ What is stated here is not all the fault of WordPress, in fact, perhaps none of it is, but this is not the place to play the blame-game.
¶ The Annotum freeware editor only allows one header size, no text colour or background options, and no indenting of paragraphs. It does, however, offer more than the typewriters did at the time I attended university. Furthermore, we get table capacity, links, ordered and bullet lists, and an equation editor. It has been discovered that this is a problem only under “Articles”, not under “Posts”. So, for example, the relevant HTML code of my autobiography was copied from the articles section, and pasted into the HTML editor of the “Posts” editor. It simplified editing of errors a lot.
Under “Post”, with the caveats provided, it may be possible to vary text size and colour. This demonstration (and the failures suffered while editing this) shows that there is little use in using the “xx-small” tag, while the “large” series of tags had no effect at all on the final result (at least as far as preview is concerned). Experimenting here shows that the “x-small” label gives letters of 6 points in height, “small” gives 9 points in height, and the regular size is 11 points. Perhaps this varies according to screen resolution.
¶ Using the “Article” editor, there is another text option, designed for inserting quotations from books. Here we get a larger-sized text, in italics, on a grey background. From my point of view, the text size is wrong, but it solved the problem of a quote that needed to be distinguished clearly from the preceding and following paragraphs.
¶ A specific problem is one that put me off WordPress many years ago. Writers may find that their text includes words that are joined, when that was not the original case. I used to attribute that to those authors, but now I feel that I misjudged them. (Another negative is the fact that WordPress is blocked by some organizations.)
¶ A fourth problem with text, is that in editing, in some cases, no simple cut and paste is possible. This happens if the writing had a mixture of any of the following: plain text, bold, and italic. Format is lost. The solution is here under “Run-on Text”.
¶ The fifth issue is that of images. My own, when transferred in visible format, no longer respect the size specifications I had made in an html code edit. Otherwise, they are not visible, except in “edit” mode. If they were linked to pages external to the one that was transferred, the images were not transferred at all. Most frustratingly, they cannot be cut and pasted.
Starting New Articles
I strongly recommend adding extra paragraph areas before and after any line or image space that you are creating. Eliminating image areas found to be undesirable can be difficult, if not impossible, should the following area not be for a paragraph. (Suggestions are found further below.) No need to worry about forgetting to remove those spaces for writing, as extra paragraph areas do not show up when the article is viewed in it final form in Chrome, and probably not in the other browsers. The same is not true of image areas which cannot be eliminated, they will be shown as grey rectangles. (These were a bit more difficult to eliminate, and I left their clean-up for last.)
As I was trying to write a new article in September, 2012, the essential part of the editor screen appeared like this:
I was unable to create new paragraphs – upsetting, to say the least. Perhaps I need to wait longer, or should have done something concrete, I don”t know. I opted for the advice I give in the section “Adding Paragraphs When It Seems Impossible”. Choosing short one or two line paragraphs will simplify the work.
[Update: As of December, 2012, this problem no longer existed, at least in my case – but if it should return, we might know what to do.]
While doing the above, some new problems appeared. Erasing the contents of the paragraph box caused it to disappear. Conclusion : Leave a token letter, until a complete paragraph justifies deleting the unwanted item. Also, the cursor would not enter some of the paragraph boxes. Solution: Add more paragraph boxes, delete the ones that don’t work, whether from the box above, or below.
If you cannot copy some paragraph boxes from a previous article (which requires two instance of WordPress to be open), just put 1 character in the Title box, one more in the paragraph box, place the cursor after the first character in the Title box, copy to the end of the character in the Paragraph box, paste after the last letter. You will then have to change the second Title box to a paragraph box, and can repeat the procedure to obtain a suitable number of boxes. (Perhaps WordPress is updating something – one time, I had to wait about 10 days for things to be righted, but I don’t have that much patience, when I’m in the mood for writing.)
The Solutions for Existing Articles
Before anything else:
¶ If you had any footnotes at all in Knol, and if your files were transferred the same as mine were, those footnotes will still be linked to the now non-existent site. Use the appropriate icon to break the links, if they are not to WordPress. The corrections will be tedious, but that cannot be helped.
¶ To avoid frustration, always press the return key before doing anything important in the previous paragraph, such as adding ordered or bullet lists, or images. In fact, it may be so difficult to erase image areas, that I would recommend five or six returns, to force the creation of paragraph areas. That may be excessive, but that excess is often more easily erased, than an error resulting from a deficiency is remedied.
¶ For example, to erase the image area, put the cursor in the topmost paragraph box below the image area, and after deleting the text in the paragraph and caption boxes for the image, start using the backspace key, until the undesired area is removed – that would be somewhere between 6 and 9 times, it may depend on what was in the boxes to begin with. Instances have been found where complete erasure is not possible.
Table of Contents
¶ For what it is worth, add a table of contents if you want, but linking will be impossible, (except in posts such as this). This is only recommended, if looking at at will help the reader decide that he should go ahead through an informative listing.
Indentation and Special Spacing Needs
¶ If you cannot pay for the better editor, small GIF images can help with mock indentation or extra spacing between inline images. I have experienced with a solution to getting text on the right hand side of the page, by trying varying sizes of 36-bit height images in all-white, at varying widths of about 200, 300, and 500 bits, saved in .gif or .jpg format. (The use of white images has a disadvantage: it may be forgotten that they were placed within an article.) These were pasted inline (see below, under “Images”), with no screen-visible information placed in the image editor, only the “Alt” and “Description” – and even that is not necessary. Experimenting showed that two images could be pasted side-by-side in-line, and then text, such as a date included (this can be seen in my article on “Special Days”. It was discovered that placing two 300 bits of width images gave the same results as two 500 bit images, or, say a 200 bit image plus a 500 bit image, so there was no control over the precise space between the left margin and the wording. Better control is possible by varying the height of the images, some examples are shown further below.
¶ If the above solution is used, it will have to be remembered. GIF images in white may be hard to find, even harder to download from the Media Library. My own images were 7 pixels in height, and white. A light shade of grey might be more convenient, or if there would be a conflict with a background colour, another appropriate choice would have to be made.
Run-on Text [Solution valid for other text-formatting problems].
¶ Run on text makes the writer look sloppy. Let’s consider this example. The image provided may not be satisfactory, so here it is in text:
¶ The screenshot of the editor version of the text does not show the information as run-on, rather, it is all over the screen!. We follow the rule, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!”. But it is broken. If the screenshot is visible, we see that all the text was not inside the paragraph box of the editor. That is the first correction to be made. But as soon as that is done, formatting is lost, and italics have to be provided anew. Source code for the editor (you need not know what that means, if you use the freeware version) shows the following: “Vendémiaire</italic>corresponded”. What is wrong here, is that there should be a space before “corresponded”. The explanation of the problem can be deduced from the following edited image of the source code. There is no space between the two words, but when an attempt is made to put one, it is accidentally placed within the instructions for the italics. By following the instructions in the next paragraph, a space will be forced to exist in the correct location.
©, Paul Karl Moeller.
Now, if the solution works, this is it:
- Mark the word which is, or was, italicized.
- If it is italicized, convert to normal text.
- Make sure that there are two spaces after the word, if there was only one.
- If punctuation is included, it might be necessary to include the same in the process.
- Mark the word for italicization again. With any luck (depending on the punctuation), the problem was solved.
¶ It is possible to paste into these windows text which was formatted in Word, but sometimes, there is a loss of formatting. In any event, I have not been able to paste images or links directly. See what happens, and if there are any problems, read on in this section.
¶ To avoid all the following hassle, WordPress suggests pasting as unformatted text – which might cause you to forget the original formatting – and we might add – what is the point of pasting as Word, if that doesn’t work? Exactly which course of action to use may depend on the length of your article. For a long article, it may just be easier to paste as plain text, and then format for bold, italic, etc. Or you might try the following for shorter, already formatted text, or compare, depending on which is most relevant:
¶ If the text has errors, because of a mix of ordinary, bold, underlined, and Italic letters:
- Write, or copy, at least 12 characters, select a group of at least 3 for italics, 3 for bold, and if underline is used, use 15 characters, and add another 3 for that, leaving the first and last 3 or so, depending on the length of your selection.
- Paste the selection from Word after these characters. You will notice that the formatting will change from the original.
- Cut the misformatted text into text with the desired format, reformat, and paste again into the correct position.
- Repeat for the remainder of the incorrectly formatted text.
¶ This solution has also worked, when pasting in a paragraph box gave an unexpected result, such as all bold, all underlined, or all italic text, when such is not wanted; and the icon to undo this refuses to change anything. First delete the pasted text, add another empty paragraph space, place the desired text in the second paragraph box – and, if it is correct, delete the first box. A problem may remain: The “Preview” may look good”, but once you press “Update”, and if you go back to the editor, you might notice text outside of the paragraph areas. This means further work is required. This problem should only be applicable to transfers from “Knol”.
Adding Paragraphs When it Seems Imposssible
¶ Imagine, for example, that after having made a bullet list, and writing another paragraph, as I have done, you would like to add another between the two. If you try to do that after the last character of the bullet list, all you get is another bullet. What can be done? (Also see, “Starting New Articles” – the advice might be simpler, but adapt to the following.)
Here is what you see on the screen, left side only, of course, and within the limitations of posting images, as explained further below, in “Experiments with Images”.
Fig. 2: Adding a Paragraph When It Seems Impossible
© Paul Karl Moeller.
¶ A difficult case will be assumed. Find 3 consecutive paragraph boxes – let’s hope the precaution of having that many has been made, or is still possible, somewhere within the editor. Copy from some of the text in the first, to some of the third, ideally, as little text as possible should be grabbed. Here we show the left hand side, again:
Fig. 3: Grabbing a Complete Paragraph Box
© 2012 , Paul Karl Moeller.
The third step is to paste it into the required location. I need to do a lot of editing on a once popular article, the “B” portion of Figure 2.
Fig. 4: Inserting the Paragraph Box
© Paul Karl Moeller.
Clean out the text from the boxes.
Fig. 5: Text Clean-up – A Problem Solved
What follows below is based on my experience with the Annotum theme. If you are using a different one, consult here for advice on maximum image size, though a solution to allowing readers to see larger images is found below, and may work. And here is a pleasant surprise: this was originally written as an “Article” on WordPress, and transferring the html code to the “Post” editor (with necessary deletions and additions) resulted in a perfect-looking work, for once.
¶ Images are another surprise. The first thing to note is that there will be only 3 image sizes: small, medium, or large – uniformly so. Maximum dimensions can be chosen from Settings, at the bottom of the left-hand panel, and from there, choosing “Media”. Experimenting may be necessary, because the large size, (if it works at all), may be too large, and medium may be too small for your taste. So, the downloading of an image shows that it will be downloaded according to the specified size, not the original, which made “Click to enlarge” instructions useless. Further below, a solution is given – a little less elegant – but it will work. (Added on January 24, 2013: This may have been modified to allow for more size variation, but I have not added any new illustrated articles – comment will be added if and when possible.)
- How these are integrated into the page can be in two different manners. “Paste as figure” is an interesting option, but not if you already had labels such as “Image 1″, because then it will say “Figure 1 Image 1″, which is not convenient. On the plus side, it allows for a neat inclusion of data to the right of the image, about copyright, and the caption.
¶ In an effort to prevent colour loss, we are using PNG images for all (new) picture edits. If any “Knol” author had uploaded a BMP file, it will have to be changed, to be visible at all. The medium-size option will always show a picture at a width of 300 pixels, and the page width, at the time of this writing, is 600 pixels, allowing for 2 inline images (see next paragraph). However, saving a file at a 300 pixel width is no guarantee that it will maintain that size. It is better to have the image a bit larger – how much – unless someone reveals the math, is a matter for your best estimate.
¶ The second image insertion method is inline. Copyright data will not be shown. Apparently, this is not the case if the article is transferred to a “Post” – our first image here, centred, and beginning with the words “the month”, looks much better in this “Post” than all the in-line graphics, where we have some difficulty in separating the image caption from the following text. A rather inelegant line was the solution. (I may have added the copyright information afterwards here, further below, for another inline image, it is not shown.)
Creating a Readable Chart – or Maybe the Illusion of a Complete Image
¶ The inline method can be used to create the optical illusion of a complete image. This solution was found after four weeks of fixing up the transferred files, and works as follows:
- Select an image which is too small for proper viewing – ideally, this would be a chart in, for example .jpg format. The reason for this is this: the more pixels that are to be manipulated, the more difficult the problem. A chart in image format (because it will be more attractive than a plain table), may be manageable.
- Examine the image for its height, and divide into two new images, upper and lower.
- Divide each of these images into equal halves.
- Some experimenting is now necessary. If, upon uploading the images (better to upload just one, for test purposes), a thumbnail option only is given, the image size needs to be increased. In an image that was manipulated, the original dimensions were slightly less than 600 x 460 (after eliminating extraneous sections). Quartered sections were then slightly less than 300 x 230. These were found to be too small, as they could only be placed in thumbnail size, so it was found that 144, or even 133 times the original size – both with the same final effect – would allow the placement of two inline images such that the left and right parts of the image were viewed as a complete whole. Screen resolution for the required effect was 1024 x 768, but 800 x 600 also worked. File size of the original image was 24 kb, and the quartered images were at least 7 kb.
- The images may not be in line while using the text editor – use preview to confirm that the desired effect was obtained.
- Success may be screen resolution dependant – although the browser may be even more important.
- If only the thumbnail option is available for an image, it will have to be manipulated into being of a larger size – usually meaning that you will have to start over. Other, faster options may be available, such as adding a patch of needless colour to comply with the required number of bytes. The image on the screen will have a dividing line between the top and bottom segments, but it is not too severe. (The effect can be seen by scrolling to Fig. 2 in my article on “Moral and Ethical Systems”, and examining the enlarged images just below.)
¶ Another example can be seen in the present author’s article on Understanding Perfective and Imperfective Aspects, about 80% down, or search for “Aspectual Chart”.
¶ Following the above procedure can be time-consuming, but it may be more satisfactory for most viewers, unless the content cannot be appreciated by having an image so large that editing would be too laborious. In that case, a thumbnail image might be a solution, coupled with a link to the full-sized image in your media file. To access, you are viewing your articles, or your dashboard, select media library on the left-hand side, browse for the desired image, click on it – it will now say “edit”, but ignore that – click again. Then click once more. You will have, in your browser, a URL of the time http://blog-name.files.wordpress.com/year/xx/name-of-image.gif, for example. Copy that name, and make a statement below your thumbnail or medium-sized image to the effect that the image is available at a link which you will now create, according to the procedures that are available at the link given in the introduction to this article.
Experiments with Images
Fig. 6: Reformatted Image of Text – Width Decreased
© Paul Karl Moeller.
¶ Before getting the above picture in correctly, after changing its position, it was discovered that the image must first be deleted, before it can be placed anew. So click on the image to be moved, press delete, and then place it it the desired location.
¶ It can be seen, in the above example, that the text is rather small for convenience. The comma after the copyright symbol was added automatically, as some additional information is asked for on the line which provoked this.
¶ Somewhere above 200% of the original image size, it is possible to create the large size, using the “Inline” option, but the results are so ugly, that its illustration has been saved for last. This suggests that images need to be of such quality, that they are viewable in the available space. Thus, for a text image, it would seem the page needs to be divided into 3, for example, but defeating the entire idea of writing out a line. Let’s take a look, opting for “Figure”, because of undesirable quantities of grey space with “Inline”.
Fig. 7: Run-on Words Illustrated – Text Too Small
© Paul Karl Moeller.
¶ Let’s try that again, but “Inline”.
¶ The caption is not shown – perhaps because the save option was not used. Neither is copyright information visible. Does the use of the “Save” option change anything? We will try with an image that is saved.
¶ No change is seen.
¶ We will now give some tips for indentation, and image placement variation.
This is indented with a 60 x 7 bit white rectangle.
This is a 60 x 10 bit white rectangle, no difference.
This is a 90 x 10 bit white rectangle.
This is 100 x 15 bits. Below we see a small red rectangle. It is square in the editor, but everything is distorted there anyway.
We can right, as long as it in-line, and without any picture data – here.
And above, by summing several 90 bit images , we get the red one quite to the right!
¶ If the reader would like to see the effect on a corrected page, then my article on Perfective and Imperfective Aspects should be looked at, (no, not read!) to see how images were placed, and paragraphs indented.
The “Walkthrough” (at the link in the Introduction) talks about image resizing. If it’s in Annotum, I haven’t found it!
¶ Choice of “Large” for an image is not only unsightly, but also hides information about about it, even if “Figure” is chosen. Look at the bottom of the page – the caption is not visible. There is a statement there about something not being visible. It can be seen in the source-code, but that is an undesirable method or reading a web-page. (When this was transferred to a “Post”, the problem disappeared. We are still left with the problem that the image is too large for the page.)
Upgrading to a More User-Friendly Experience
¶ For $30 per annum, and with a knowledge of CSS, many of the above deficiencies can be solved. Why I do not use this solution, has already been explained. Consult here, for the upgrade options.
¶ Removing ads costs $30, and re-directs costs $13 per annum. There are also options to buy more space, a new domain, etc., here. (Information valid at the time of writing.)
¶ Good luck to all on WordPress, especially the fellowship from Knol!
¶ © 2012 Paul Karl Moeller. Version 12 – revised and augmented.
A Last Image – Large Size
Fig. 8: Image at 220% of Original Size
© Paul Karl Moeller.
This article was originally at https://paulkarlmoeller.wordpress.com/article/freeware-wordpress-solutions-for-articles-especially-ex-knols/. It was started May 14, 2012 The last version, of June 13, was moved and edited in “Posts” on June 15, under a shorter title.