HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. It's a specific standardized way to embed cues within normal text, cues that tell how the text is to be displayed. (Microsoft Word documents are a similar, but different way of embedding display cues within a document.) Internet browsers read HTML documents and display them according to the cues within them. Web pages on the Internet that use html cues have the suffix .html or .htm. In HTML, these formatting cues are called tags.
Find A Grave uses html pages like most web sites. It allows users to create their own Find A Grave pages, or portions of Find A Grave pages. For instance, a user can create a new memorial page, but it must conform exactly to Find A Grave's constraints. And a user may add a photo with an html caption to a photo page. But all the text that a user presents to Find A Grave is scanned by them and they remove any tags that they don't want. For complex tags, they may allow the majority of a tag but remove a component that they want to disallow.
To prepare text for Find A Grave, first create the text as you want it. Break it into paragraphs and have it capitalized as you wish. Proofread it and spell check it. (It's harder to proofread and spell check text once you've added html tags.) Remember that Find A Grave removes things it doesn't want. Specifically:
Then insert the html tags you want. Here is the subset of tags that Find A Grave accepts:
- No tabs or similar spacing cues are allowed. Only blank spaces.
- Leading spaces are not allowed. You cannot indent anything.
- Multiple spaces are not allowed. Only one space is allowed between characters. (You cannot center any text.)
- There is no way to underline or change the size of text.
- A quirk of Find A Grave text is that return characters are displayed as you have them in your text. (This is different from standard HTML documents.) The only way to have a long paragraph displayed as such is to input it all on one line. Sometimes it's easier to do this using a different text editor first. I frequently compose my Find A Grave text using my email composer. But I can't use its italics and boldface and other formatting buttons.
- Insert <i> before the first character you want to be italicized, and </i> after the last character you want to be italicized. For instance
<i>some text</i> will be displayed as "some text". If you leave off or botch the closing </i> tag, all the subsequent text will be italicized too.
- Insert <b> before the first character you want to be in boldface, and </b> after the last character you want to be bold. For instance
<b>some text</b> will be displayed as "some text". If you leave off or botch the closing </b> tag, all the subsequent text will be boldface too.
- Bold & Italics
- Insert <b><i> before the first character you want to be bold italics, and </i></b> after the last character you want that way. Notice that the closing tags are in reverse order. That is, the italics are nested within the bold text. For instance, <b><i>both effects</i> one effect</b> is displayed as "both effects one effect". The nesting can be in any order. For instance, <i><b>both effects</b> one effect</i> is displayed as "both effects one effect".
- Someone gave me the next two lines of instructions. If they are sufficient for you, then maybe you can skip my discussion after them:
Simply cut/paste the above into the bio section. Replace the XXXXXXX with the Find a Grave memorial number. Replace Name with the text you want to display on the memorial.
- Links define some text in your document that is associated with some other document (or a different place in the current document.) Find A Grave only supports linking to other documents. The format for a link is
<a href="URL for other document">text for the link</a>
For instance, this link is to my Find A Grave profile page:
<a href="http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=mr&MRid=47384117">My Find A Grave Page</a>
When a browser displays that link, it will only show the text "My Find A Grave Page", and the text will be underlined, like this: My Find A Grave Page, and the text will be displayed in a different color to indicate it is a link, like this: My Find A Grave Page.
- Horizontal Line
- You can simulate a horizontal line by typing 37 underscore characters ("_"), like this:
Or just copy and paste that one. Most browsers run the underscores together so that they look like one solid line. You can make a shorter line by typing fewer characters. Browsers adjust the width of the text display to accommodate lines entered this way. I think 37 is a good width. Longer lines distort the page from the normal Find A Grave appearance.
A few cautions:
- If you make a mistake in laying out a link, Find A Grave may discard all or part of it, and may even discard text after the link. It's best to always have a copy of what you're composing in another place, such as in an email composer.
- If you don't close the link properly, all the text after the link might be part of the link.
- It's a good idea to keep the URL in the link as short as possible. This is because they're ugly and awkward to work around in the small editing window that Find A Grave gives you. For instance, when you search for a memorial page and go to the one you want, notice that its URL is very long. If you then click on the "Memorial" tab, you'll get the same page but with a much shorter URL. Same thing for contributors pages, except you need to click on the "Profile" tab to get the shorter URL.
- Make sure the URL address you're linking to really is a permanent address, something that is very unlikely to change for years and years.
Finally, please give me feedback about any corrections that this page needs. You can leave a message for me at my Find A Grave contributor page.