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Advanced features · 14th July 2009
Stonebreaker
It is possible to create your own custom newsletter template. This template will then be used when the weekly newsletter is created. To do this requires html and ftp ability.

ONE: START WITH EXISTING TEMPLATE
To make a new newsletter template, you need to start with one that is already there.
1) sign in as editor
2) go to newsletter page
3) click the "customize a single future issue" link
4) in the dialog that appears look in the "Template" section
5) it lets you "view it" for any template. click to view these until you get one that is close to what you want.
6) save that template under a new name that starts with "template" and ends with ".html". you can put any text you want inbetween...but no spaces and keep it simple. ex: template-myown.html

TWO: EDIT YOUR NEW TEMPLATE
You will need to edit the html and css in this template using whatever text editor you have for this kind of work. To have the placeholder images show up while you edit on your local machine, you will also need to save the template placeholder images to the same folder as your html template file. Just right-click on the template from website and save the placeholder image of rocks. Do the same for the background image if you want that.

2A) EDIT CSS
You can edit the CSS styles in your custom template. The CSS styles are found in a style tag inside the head section of your template.

for example:

to change the font used, change the values for "font-family".

to change the background image change the value for "background-image". you can remove this if you want no background image. if you create a new image you will need to upload this as well with your template. also the image will not be shown in emailed newsletters unless you put a full http url in this spot.

to change background color add a background-color style.

you can preview these changes instantly as everything needed should be on your local machine (.html and any images)

do not change the width of things though. the width of different postings is often pre-defined in the code that builds the newsletters. changing the width of container objects via CSS could look bad.

2B) REARRANGE ORDER OF POSTINGS
In the body section of the template you will see pairs of "start" and "end" comment tags like this:

<!- CGIEdNote start ->
(bunch of html code)
<!- CGIEdNote end ->

This block will be totally removed and replace by the editor's note when the newsletter is created. Everything between the start and end tags is ignored...it is just there to let you see what it will look like as you preview and/or design the template.

You can move these blocks up and down in their columns to rearrange the order of things in the newsletter.

The newsletter is made up of two narrow columns and one wide column. The blocks in narrow columns should stay in narrow columns and vice versa. It is not like the frontpage where you can put articles into a narrow column.

So: do not move a block to a different sized column.

THREE: PUT NEW TEMPLATE AND IMAGES ONTO WEBSITE
Now you need to copy your new template.html file up to your website. Use FTP to do this. It needs to go into the "newsletters" folder. You will see the other newsletter templates in there too. If you are using a different background image that will need to be copied into this folder as well.

FOUR: TEST IT
Again go to newsletter page...and request the "customize a single future issue" dialog. You should now see your template listed with the others. You should see a "view it" link next to it. Click it to be sure it looks OK. If it does, then you can choose it for the next newsletter...or for all future newsletters.

To set it as default for all future newsletters you need to use the EDITOR TOOLS > OTHER FEATURES > Weekly Newsletter tool.