Formatting Text in Contribute

Paragraphs and Line Breaks

When you press the Enter key on your keyboard, Contribute automatically starts a new paragraph, or if you're in the middle of a numbered or bulleted list, a new list item. Press Shift-Enter if you want to create an ordinary line break.


Style menu

Headings provide visual and semantic cues to the user about how information on your page is organized. In a personal page, your name and title should be formatted as Heading 1 or h1. It is the largest text on your page. No other element on your page should be formatted using h1.

Subsequent headings can be in a parallel series (all the subheadings in the personal.dwt template are Heading 2 or h2) and/or nested -- i.e., subsections of material under an H2 heading could be further organized under h3 headings, and so on. In order to pass accessibility requirements, headings have to be properly "nested," without skips. For example, you can not follow an h3 with an h5 without an h4 in between.

You can select the formatting of your headings by selecting the text, right-clicking, and selecting Style. Heading format can also be selected using the style-preview menu in the upper-left- hand corner of the document window (circled). To remove heading format, set the style-preview menu to "Normal."

Styling text

You can impose styles defined in the style sheet on individual words, a line of text, or whole paragraphs by selecting the text, right-clicking, and selecting Style. Style can also be selected using the style-preview menu in the upper-left- hand corner of the document window (circled above).

See the Style Demo Sheet for examples of Oviatt Library web site styles.

Bold and Italics

You can format text as bold or italic by selecting it with your mouse, then clicking the B or I icon in the formatting toolbar (circled below).
Bold and Italic button


The HTML code most commonly used to underline text is no longer part of the accepted standard determined by the World Wide Web Consortium. Users expect underlined text to function as a link, therefore underlining non-linked text poses accessibility problems.

APA, the Chicago Manual, and MLA style guides have accommodated this change by modifying their citation format: they recommend the use of italics where underlining formerly was used.

Simple Lists

To create a numbered or bulleted list, type the first item in the list, select the item, and click either the numbered list or bulleted list button in the formatting toolbar (circled below). To begin a new list item, press the Enter key on your keyboard. To get out of the list format, click the list button in the toolbar again.
List buttons

TIP: You can convert a series of paragraphs into a list simply by selected them and clicking one of the list buttons.

In Contribute, you can set the style an ordered list uses (e.g. I, II, III. . . a, b, c . . .) by selecting the list with your mouse, then right-clicking and selecting List > Properties.

Don't like bullets? Contribute users can also make the bullets in an unordered invisible by applying the nobull style:

  1. Create a bulleted list of items, or select a bunch of paragraphs, and make them into a bulleted list by clicking the bulleted list button in the toolbar.
  2. Select all the list items with your mouse.
  3. Right-click on the selected items, then select Style > nobull.

Definition Lists

When you have a series of annotated items (links to bibliographical resources, for example), you may want to use a definition list format, like this one:

Literature Resource Center
Provides one search access to Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select, the Dictionary of Literary Biography, and Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature.
MLA International Bibliography
Indexes 4000 journals and series in literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore, 1963-

A definition list consists of term "headers" and indented "definitions." To create a definition list, enter your terms and definitions as a series of paragraphs, select all the paragraphs, right-click and select List > Definition List.
Definition list formatting


You can embed a list in another list by selecting the list items and clicking the right indent button. You can un-embed the list by clicking the left outdent button (both are circled below).

Indent and Outdent buttons

Using the indent and outdent buttons on regular paragraphs creates blockquotes. You should never use blockquotes unless you are formatting an actual quotation -- it creates an accessibility problem.

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Last Updated: 02-Sep-2010