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Darrius Gothly

How to use the Hyperlink Function in Lithium

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One of the truly neat features in Lithium (or more precisely the TinyMCE full-text editor used by Lithium) is the ability to put Hyperlinks in the message you are creating. You can use it to provide references for a point you wish to make, link to other sources when providing a bit of help, or even give readers a giggle by linking them back to the same message (whistles innocently). But a lot of people don't understand how to use it well either, so I thought I'd spend a bit of time and explain how to use the Hyperlink feature and what each of the options does.

In the toolbar at the top of the text edit window is the "Insert/edt link" button. It looks like this:

insert hyperlink button.png

When you highlight some text then click that button, or when you just click the button, a new window opens that allows you to enter the various attributes of the Hyperlink you wish to add. It looks like this:

insert edit link.png

As you can see in the above image, there are some entries already filled in.

Link Text: Before I clicked the Hyperlink button to grab the image, I highlighted the text "highlight some text", thus it appears in the "Link Text" field. This is the text in the message that will be underlined and clickable to follow the hyperlink. If you highlight text before clicking the button, the text you hightlight will appear as the Link Text, but if you start by just clicking the button (or if you wish to change the text some) just change what's shown in that field.

Link URL: The second field is where you enter the URL (web address) that the Hyperlink will open when clicked. As shown above, the leading "http://" is already entered for you. If you are pasting in a URL that you copied from somewhere else, make sure you paste it overtop this pre-entered text. But if you are manually typing in a URL, you can just start typing, starting with the part of the URL that comes after the http:// lead-in.

Target: The Target field is one of the more powerful and least used attributes of a Hyperlink. It lets you choose how the linked page will open. There are two options: Open in this window / frame, and Open in new window / frame. With the first option, when someone clicks the hyperlink, the new page will REPLACE the page (and message) they are currently viewing. This means they will have to use their browser's "Back" button to come back to the original message.

The second option, "Open in a new window / tab" behaves a bit different ... it opens the new page in a new browser window or tab. If your browser supports Tabbed Browsing, the usual action is to just open the page in a new Tab, but if your browser does not support Tabbed Browsing (or if you've turned off that feature) then a whole new browser window will open.

Hint - If you want someone to follow the Hyperlink and "not come back" then you should leave the Target option set to "Open in this window / tab". But if you want them to be able to open and reference the new page but not lose their place then you should generally select the "Open in new window / tab" option.

Title: The Title field defines what text will display when people hover their mouse over the Hyperlink. This can be very handy to help people understand what clicking the hyperlink will do .. and how it will do it. For example, you might set the Title field to "View the Wiki page on How to Clear Your Viewer Cache" so people will know that clicking it will open the Wiki and display the appropriate page. You can (and probably should) also tell them how the wiki page will open by including something like "... in a new window / tab". Thus a full Title entry might be "View the Wiki page on How To Clear Your Viewer Cache in a new window / tab". Since this text will display as a "hovertip" when they pause their mouse over the link, they will know immediately what the link will display and how it will display it.

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a few more suggestions to make them more obvious and less painful to use....

highlight a word you want to link, then press the underline button, then the down arrow next to the A and select a nice bright blue..... this will overide the normal Lithium coloring and decoration of links to the very obvious standard web style for links.... then click the link button

second, a plea.... don't use open in a new window. this breaks most inworld media, and other micro browsers that don't allow opening new windows. instead, when you want to personally open something in a new window use shift+click, which most browsers will interpret as "open this link in a new tab/window", giving you the control on your end, without breaking the links for others.

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Void Singer wrote:

second, a plea....
don't
use open in a new window. this breaks most inworld media, and other micro browsers that don't allow opening new windows. instead, when you want to personally open something in a new window use shift+click, which most browsers will interpret as "open this link in a new tab/window", giving you the control on your end, without breaking the links for others.

 

Microbrowsers? We don't need no steenking Microbrowsers! LOL

Very good point Void. I never use anything but Chrome to read the Forums simply because I have lots of tabs open already and I'm a tab-whore. Switching back and forth between browser platforms just annoys me. I even have my Viewer options set to open in-world links in Chrome .. just to prevent having to use the in-Viewer abor .. umm .. microbrowser.

Point taken then, but if folks use the Title option to let you know what to expect, folks can make much better decisions as to whether to use the browser's "open in new..." or its normal "open in same ..." function.

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normally I'd have made the opposite plea, because I too like things in multiple windows.... then I got smacked down by the inworld media problem (to which their only fix is to allow popups shock), and then I learned it's a problem for several phone browsers as well (never undstood web surfing from a phone personally, but I know people do)... so now I'm siding with the micro browsers (at least until inworld media gets fixed, then I'll sit it out on the sidelines =X)

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