Formatting Text Files For Upload
This document is intended to help authors format their text files
so they will be most effectively converted to HTML for inclusion
in the archive.
Contributed by Merry Lynne; originally written for the due South
fanfic archive. Many thanks to Merry for writing this up!
- Use the Preview feature
The archive now allows you to preview your stories
before you actually post them. Please use this option! All the special
formatting tricks mentioned below to allow italicizing, bolding, underlining,
etc, will be correctly previewed.
If you see something looking odd in the preview, it's going to look odd in
the final version: try tweaking your text file to fix it.
- Saving As Text
A text file is any file with a name that ends with .txt and which contains no special formatting. This file will have no indents, no special centering, no bold text, no italicized text, no underlined text, etc. Almost every word processor has two ways to save a file: Save, and Save As. If you choose Save As, you will more than likely be offered an option such as "Save as what file type?" or "Type of File" or "Save as Type?" Among your choices will be Text, Text Only, ASCII Dos Text, or something of that nature. Any one of those will usually do the trick. If you have a choice between Text Only and Text Only with Line Breaks, choose the Text Only option. Text Only with Line Breaks makes for a very messy archived story.
- Paragraph Formatting
Every line of text will begin flush with the left margin -- if you have tabs or indents at the beginning of paragraphs, these must be removed before you upload the file.
You should hit return an extra time between paragraphs, so each paragraph will be separated by a blank line.
- Content of File
Do not include anything in the text file that you are entering in the archive
upload interface, as typically this will be automatically inserted for you
by the software. IE, do not bother putting your title at the top of the story,
because the archive software will put the title in a nice bold header at the
beginning for you. Same goes for your e-mail address and name. Many archives
will also include author notes, disclaimers, summaries, etc.
- Formatting To Avoid
Do not use upper case letters to show emphasis like shouting or screaming. Do not use // to show thought or, really, to show anything at all. These things will cause your archived story to look very odd.
- Limited HTML Tags
The archive software now allows the use of a limited set of HTML tags for
formatting. You can use any of these tags (any others will be stripped out):
- I (italics)
- U (underline)
- B (bold)
- H1 - H6 (headers)
- STRIKE (strikethrough)
- UL, OL, LI (unordered and ordered lists)
- DL, DT, DD (descriptive lists)
- P (paragraph) -- paragraph breaks will be put in automatically for blank lines
- BR (linebreak)
- TT and BLOCKQUOTE
- HR (horizontal rule)
NOTE that the old formatting tricks (eg, putting asterisks around text
to make it italicized) will NO LONGER WORK.