Tools for Editing and Organizing

Submitted by admin on Sun, 07/10/2011 - 23:35

This section describes the functions of the editing buttons at the top of every ChemPaths screen, the editor that will be used for entering most text and links to Web pages, and the tools for changing the order and hierarchy of pages in a given ChemPath.

Editing Buttons

At the top of most ChemPath pages you will find these buttons. The two underlined in orange, "Edit" and "Customize", are by far the most frequently used.


"Edit" allows you to modify content using either a WYSIWYG editor or a plain text HTML editor (and even allows access to the "Outline" options under the "ChemPaths Outline" menu).

"Customize" facilitates moving pages around within a ChemPath to design or modify the order and hierarchy. 

"View" takes you to what a student would see when interacting with the ChemPath (and what you see after you save an editing session).

"Outline" is used to place a new page into a particular book at a given level in the hierarchy.

"Revisions" allows you to view the history of development of a given page and to revert to an earlier version, should the need arise.

"Clone" allows you to make a copy of a given page or ChemPath and place the cloned copy into a different location.

Using the WYSIWYG Editor

When you add a new page or click the Edit button to edit an existing page, an editing screen is displayed. Except when you are creating new pages, you will use the Body section with its text-entry box far more than any of the other items on the editing screen. The Body text box opens automatically with a WYSIWYG editor. called the FCKEditor, which is widely used on the Web.

We will concentrate on the WYSIWYG editor here. If you know HTML and prefer to edit in that language, click the link below the editing box that says "Switch to plain text editor". (A section below describes two cases where it is necessary to use the plain text editor.)

The WYSIWYG editor menu looks like this:fckeditor.jpg

The tools available for formatting text are similar to those in a word processing program. For example you can make text bold, italic, underscored, crossed out, subscript, or superscript by highlighting the text and clicking on the appropriate button at the top of the editing box. You can also format selected text to make headings (the heading for this section is formatted Heading 3). You can make bullet lists and numbered lists, you can increase or decrease indentation of paragraphs, and you can left-justify, center, or right-justify text. You can add special characters, such as → or ±, and you can insert tables. Hover your mouse over the buttons at the top of the edit box to find which icon represents which editing function.

Some of the buttons on the WYSIWYG editor incorporate HTML that is not allowed, so those buttons are disabled at present. We're adding safe HTML as we discover it to enable those buttons. 

Adding Links to Web Pages

If you highlight a word and click on the linkbutton.jpg button, a dialog box opens with options to add links to other resources. You can either link so that the target Web site is set to open within the same window (default) or so that the target opens in a new window (useful for a set of instructions that requires following along while interacting elsewhere). This is selected by clicking on the "Target" tab at the top of the link dialog box. The dialog box is shown below. If you wish to have the link open a new window,we suggest the "_blank" option as shown. 


We have evidence that students like overview pages along a ChemPath that summarize either what has been taught (bullet-listed) or briefly tie various parts of the course together. Such pages must be Book pages.

When the Plain Text Editor Is Better

If you are moving large blocks of content from one page to another, we recommend that you switch to the plain text editor on the page from which you are copying content, copy or cut the content as HTML, and then navigate to the page where you want to paste the content. On the editing screen for the new page, switch to the plain text editor, and then paste the content. Sometimes formatting does not survive copying and pasting using the WYSIWYG editor.

ChemPaths has a glossary and highlights scientific terms so that when a student hovers the mouse over a word, the definition is displayed. Some words, such as matter, have non-scientific meanings and in certain contexts the definitions can be distracting. You can stop the definition from being displayed by adding this HTML code before the word, "<span>", and this HTML code after the word, "</span>". The HTML code needs to be entered in the plain text editor, because the WYISIWYG editor will not interpret it as HTML.

Instructions for adding images and graphics, videos, and molecular structures (Jmols) are given in subsequent pages of this ChemPath.

Re-ordering Pages within a Pathway (Customize)

Pages and sub-pages can be organized using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Click on "Customize" at the top of any page in your ChemPath. You will see a screen that looks like this:


Using this interface is fairly intuitive. You can grab any page by clicking and holding on the ÷ symbol to its left. Drag up or down to change the order of pages. Drag left or right to move the page higher or lower in the hierarchy. For example, you could move "The Nuclear AtomThe smallest particle of an element that can be involved in chemical combination with another element; an atom consists of protons and neutrons in a tiny, very dense nucleus, surrounded by electrons, which occupy most of its volume." to become a sub-page of "The Periodic TableA chart showing the symbols of the elements arranged in order by atomic number and having chemically related elements appearing in columns." by dragging it up and to the right.

The re-ordering of pages has some idiosyncrasies. Any sub-page can be moved out of its parent page in the hierarchy, but if you move a parent page, all sub-pages will come along with it; the sub-pages are also constrained to remain sub-pages. If you want to put all pages from a CoreChem chapter into a page you have already created, it is best to move all of the sub-pages first and only move the parent page at the end, after its sub-pages are gone.

The organize function can be used in other ways. You can re-name any page by highlighting its name and typing a new name. You can delete any page by clicking delete. If you delete a page, any changes in the order of pages you have not saved will be lost, so be careful!

Remember that changes in the order of the pages do not take effect until you click "Save book pages" near the bottom of the screen.