Formatting tips for new authors

Quick tips to help building courses go smoothly

Caitlin Foran avatar
Written by Caitlin Foran
Updated over a week ago

Below we've got a few tips to help make your formatting and editing easier. If you've got any other tips to share, let us know through the chat!

Paste as plain text, always

If you're copy-pasting from somewhere else, use paste as plain text (use right-click or shift+cntrl+v for this option). Word documents, pdfs, websites etc. can all have loads of hidden formatting and when you do a normal copy-paste, you bring all that hidden stuff over, you just can't see it. What it does is causes strange spacing between words or lines and generally just breaks stuff, making your editing really hard work! Pasting as plain text ensures you don’t bring over hidden styles and formatting.

Use shift+enter for line breaks without the spacing

Our default in iQualify is to have a full line space between paragraphs. This means a good amount of white space and helps readability. But, we get it, sometimes you just want text on a new line without all the spacing. Using shift+enter will let you start a new line without the space.

Use linked text, not a raw url

Pop in links to sites/resources as linked text rather than the raw url. This makes it easier for learners to decipher and click. When you add a file/resource, it will automatically put the filename, e.g. File_name.doc, but you can overwrite this to anything and give a clearer/more descriptive title and remove the .doc/.pdf. This makes it so much easier to read. See How to add an external web link to a page for instructions.

Webchimp has a great style guide on how to write good links. They tell us it's much better to use descriptive key words:

'Don’t say things like “Click here!” or “Click for more information” or “Read this.” Write the sentence as you normally would, and link relevant keywords.'

For resources (link to articles, readings, videos etc.) it's also best practice to introduce the resource very briefly to say what it’s about and what learners should get out of it.

Toggle on, toggle off for styles and formatting

If you want to make text bold/italics...

  • highlight the text

  • click the bold/italics icon to toggle on

To remove the bold/italics...

  • highlight the text

  • click the bold/italics icon to toggle off

Block styles (e.g. reading, pullout, case study) and heading styles work in a similar way except block styles apply to a whole paragraph rather than individual words.

  • place your cursor within the paragraph you want to style

  • click the relevant style button to toggle on

  • click it again to toggle off

Block styles are really useful to differentiate text and signal purpose. When adding blockstyles, try to also use these blockstyles consistently, for instance you might always use:

See Course planning - Set the style to see how using a style guide can really make a difference for your learners and also save you time as an author.

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