Top 10 Tips to Tumbl More Effectively
It’s remarkable how many very intelligent people on Tumblr seem entirely oblivious of the function of most of the funny little buttons on their edit screen. The typical reason I hear for this is that people are afraid that trying them out will ruin whatever they’re trying to post. There’s no need to fear, however. In fact, once you’re used to the process of editing html by hand, it’s quite easy, plus it will make you feel way more tech savvy than you did before.
On the whole, these tricks will help your posts to look a lot more professional, and others will allow a chance to exercise your creativity. Some of these will be obvious to anyone remotely familiar with html, while some will probably be new. The tone of this guide is primarily directed to people who don’t have an intuition for the way web sites are set up.
The price to pay for making your posts look better is that this will involve opening up the html window, which can be accessed by clicking the rightmost button above the text box on the Edit screen (i.e. the screen that you always see right before you publish a post). This will be extremely scary at first if you aren’t familiar with html. If you keep practicing, these strange hieroglyphics will gradually become so familiar that you’ll barely even notice them.
The basic structure of HTML is the two brackets < and >, and in between them is the thing that you want the html to do. If I want to make text bold, for example, another way to do this (besides pressing the B button at the top left corner) is to go into the html menu and surround the text I want to bold with <b> and </b>. The / in the second <b> is very important: it’s what tells the computer to make the effect stop. If you don’t put the /, all the text following the initial <b> will be bolded.
The more you practice with html, the more intuitive this will all become. However, one of the things one inevitably finds after trying out a few different tumblr themes is that each theme has its own distinct quirks in its coding which the blogger will have to work around. Keep this last point in mind in case you run into any dead ends while you’re experimenting.
Let’s start from the most important and progress to some interesting but somewhat frivolous tumblr tricks:
1. Justified text
Personally I think that this immensely contributes to better readability, especially for longer text posts. However, it doesn’t show up on people’s dashboards, but only on your actual blog.
There are two ways of doing this. Once you’ve opened up the html window, you’ll find that every paragraph has a little <p> and </p> surrounding it, in that order. To justify text, just change it so that the first part says <p align=”justify”> . This, however, only applies to that particular paragraph. If you want to justify a group of paragraphs all at once, go to the start of those paragraphs and type (in the html box) <div align=”justify”> and then at the end of those paragraphs type </div> .
If you want to make your text center- or right-aligned, just replace the word “justify” with “center” or “right”.
2. Big and small text
This really makes your post look a lot more professional, and it’s really easy. In the html box, just surround the text you want to make big or small with <big> & </big> or <small> & </small>. The former is useful for headings and subheadings, while the latter is useful for synopses or footnotes.
A lot of people try to use <h1>, <h2>, or <h3> (pronounced ‘heading one’, etc.) to make text larger, though these don’t show up on people’s dashboards, and sometimes they won’t even show up on your blog. It’s better to use <big>, especially since the effect will remain if people reblog your post.
3. Line breaks
Sometimes, for whatever reason, you may find it helpful to have an empty space in your text. This is a bit complicated, but not too difficult. In the html box, just put <p><span> </span></p> where you want the break to be. This is good for when you’re making a text post with multiple replies from other bloggers (which, if you don’t have missing-e, have to be copied and pasted).
The above line is an empty space made by the formula above.
4. Embedded quotes (i.e. quotes within quotes)
Say you’re writing a text post and you want to post an excerpt from a book, but that excerpt has an excerpt of its own inside of it. Here’s what you want to have:
The other day I went to the park and found a piece of paper on the ground. Here’s what it said:
- curry-flavored bubblegum
I didn’t know there was such a thing as curry-flavored bubblegum…
In order to get this, first use the normal method of highlighting the main excerpt you want quoted (in this case the words “The other day” to “bubblegum…”) and then pressing the “ button. The sub-excerpt will involve getting into the html, but the rest is easy enough. Just surround the text in the sub-excerpt with <blockquote> and </blockquote>. This is exactly the same html that the “ button does on its own, but since that button also doubles as a ‘remove quote format’ button, any embedded quotes have to be done by hand.
5. Italics in quote posts
A lot of people don’t realize how to do this, and this is partly because it requires non-standard html. It’s really easy though—you don’t even need to open the html menu, because tumblr doesn’t have one for quotes. Just surround the word(s) you want italicized with <em> and </em>. It should be noted, however, that certain themes post quotes entirely in italics. If this is the case for your tumblr’s theme, italicized words won’t be noticeable on your blog, although they will on your dashboard.
6. Pictures & GIFs in non-text posts
Tumblr makes it easy to upload your own photos onto text posts, but there are many occasions where it would be handy to post a photo or gif onto another post format. Luckily, you need not depend on outside sites for this: if you want to post a picture, just make a normal post, but before you actually post it, change the setting at the top right corner from “Publish Now” to “Private”. No one will be able to see this post but you. In order to put that picture into another post, right click that picture, click “copy image URL”, then when you’re at the edit screen before publishing a post, click the little green picture of a tree. A window will pop up with a box that says Image URL. In that box, just paste the link you got by right clicking the aforementioned picture. People will have to click a little grey box on their dashboard before they can see the picture, but at least it’s there.
7. [Read More]
Although the [Read more] button does not appear on the menu when you’re modifying non-text posts, you can still put a [Read More] link if you have a lengthy response to a picture, link, etc. However, you’ll need to put this in manually. Where you want the [Read More] link to be (preferably at the end of a paragraph), just put [[ MORE ]] in the html window, but without the spaces between the brackets and the word MORE. In this case, tumblr won’t let me post the actual coding in a text post, just like a lot of sites won’t let you post <> brackets around text.
8. Changing post formats
This is easy enough to do, but a lot of people haven’t realized how it works yet. When you reblog, for example, a link, there is a little grey button next to where it says “Reblog Link” which says “as…”. If you press that, you can change the post from a link to a text post or to a quote. Likewise, you can reblog photos as text posts, links or quotes. This feature is especially handy for when you want to reblog a longer text post but tumblr truncates it into a link directed to the site where you reblogged it from.
9. Posting right away
If you want to post something immediately and don’t want to bother going through the editing screen, just hold Alt and then click on the reblog button of a post you want to reblog. This means, however, that you won’t be able to add tags.
10. Using Commas in Tags
Creative tagging is so popular that Tumblr has even added a clause in their spam policy permitting people to do so (despite it cluttering up the site with tags that no one ever accesses). But since one tag is demarcated from another by typing the , key, it’s therefore impossible to put a comma in your tag. Right?
Not necessarily. But to do this requires some effort on your part. You see, the Chinese comma, although it’s more or less completely identical with the English comma, doesn’t have the same effect on the computer code that Tumblr is made of as an English comma does. So, all you have to do in order to put a comma in your tag is to copy and paste a Chinese comma (，) wherever you want it to be in your tag. I got the one in the last sentence from Google Translate by setting it to translate from Chinese to English and clicking the box that says “Allow phonetic typing.” Note that there’s some extra space after the Chinese comma (since Chinese people don’t use spaces between words and punctuation), which for practical purposes just means that you won’t have to put a space after it in your tag.