Displaying Tables in TypePad Blog Posts
One of our recent Boot Campers, Richard Blazey of Bizmorph, was having trouble getting a table of information to display on his blog. Like most of our Campers, Dick is a business owner and a skilled professional in his niche: helping people with great ideas turn them into businesses of their own — Business Metamorphosis.
Dick is not, however, a graphic designer or webmaster and doesn't want to be. His blog is a business tool and needs to be usable by him.
So here's the advice I gave him:
[Note: the following is geared for TypePad users on Windows PC platforms and assumes that most business bloggers will have access to MS Office. We recommend TypePad for business users, since we think if offers the best balance of easy setup and publishing, while including the features needed for effective business networking and content management (permalinks, TrackBacks, category archiving, "Post on ..." publishing, etc.) that are absent from most of the free online services. While we have an array of graphics tools on our own machines, the point here is to enable the vast majority who don't have tools like Macromedia Fireworks or Adobe Photoshop and use the MS Office Suite for most of their communication tasks. What follows may (or may not) translate to other similar software. For Mac users (like our friend Karin), we assume you are far more capable with graphics than we are and don't need our help to post them.]
Now, back to my answer to Dick:
If I understand the question correctly, by "table" you mean that you want to display quantitative information in a columns-and-rows format. I think I’ve suggested before that the best way to do this is, first, convert the "table" into an image (PNG, GIF, or JPEG format) and, second, use the "Insert Image" button on TypePad’s post creation page to place the image in your posts.
Here's a shot of the TypePad posting page's WYSIWIG tool and "Insert Image" button. Just click on the button a follow the steps in the popup window.
That's the really easy part. But before you can insert the image, you have to convert your table into an image file that's compatible with TypePad. Fortunately, that can be done pretty easily, too.
If you don’t have, or prefer not to use, an image-editing package like Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia Fireworks, the easiest way to create tables and convert them may be in MS PowerPoint or Publisher. MS Word does not let you convert tables or textboxes to image files. Excel doesn't allow it for textboxes, but I'm not familiar enough with tables in Excel to say whether you could do it there. But both PowerPoint and Publisher do let you convert either a textbox or a table into an image file quite easily.
You simply right-click on the border of a table or textbox created in either program and a menu opens, with one choice being “Save as Picture...” Here's an example in PowerPoint:
Clicking on the "Save as Picture…" choice opens a dialogue box which allows you to save the image of your table onto your hard drive, name the file, and MOST IMPORTANT, select the image file format:
TypePad accepts three Web-friendly image formats (PNG, GIF, or JPEG). PowerPoint doesn’t offer GIF as an option and I’ve had mixed results trying to save tables or textboxes as JPEGs, so I recommend you stick with the PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format for this process in PowerPoint. Publisher offers all three TypePad-friendly formats, so you may want to experiment.
Once you’ve turned your table into an image this way, simple image editing can be done using MS Paint. It's very basic, but it does allow you to size the image by specifying the pixel width. If your blog has a specified width for the post display column (e.g. 500 pixels), you’d want to keep any images to a maximum of 470 pixels wide for full-size display in the post.
If the table image needs to be larger to be read easily, you can have the TypePad "Insert Image" tool create a thumbnail image. Just select the Popup Window option to let your readers display a larger full-size image by clicking on the thumbnail. Here's what the custom choices look like in the TypePad "insert Image" tool:
I tested this advice by saving both a PP table and a PP textbox as PNG images and then uploading them to a TypePad post using the "Insert Image" button shown above. Here’s what the two images look like:
Using the PowerPoint "Table" tool to create a table with a grid -
Using the PowerPoint "Textbox" tool to create a table with an open look -
Hope this helps you with displaying information on your blog. Dick reports that it worked for him and you can judge for yourself by visiting his Bizmorph post on Making the Right Choice to Protect Your Invention to check out his thumbnail image and popup table.