Thursday, March 4, 2010

How to Put Drawings in Your Blog

This post is not at all related to anything mobile, gaming, or programming.  But it's a great beginner tip for bloggers, myself included!

Say you work with Google Documents a lot and enjoy the rich set features that it offers, such as multi-level lists and the ability to insert custom drawings.  I love the drawings feature (ie: charts, graphs, diagrams, illustrations, etc.) of Google docs because I love visual aids.  I love to include some sort of visual to "show" what I am trying to explain. 



Say you also have a blog (say, from www.blogger.com), but you find the blog site's default post editor somewhat lacking in features.  For instance, you may want to give your blog post some... visual aids!  Sadly, Blogger's current post editor does not have this capability and I am not aware of any other blog sites that do offer it.  You would need to find some software to create your drawing, save it as an image file, then insert it into your blog post.  TEDIOUS!  Wouldn't it be great to use Google Documents as your post editor?

Well unfortunately, you can't change the post editor, but here's the next best thing.  You can write your blog post as a Google Document, and then publish it straight to your blog!  This method allows you to include those drawings in your blog post!  Another bonus is that you can use multi-level lists (like numbered lists or bullets) because Google docs does it while the  Blogger post editor only handles single level lists.  Mind you, I have only tried this with Blogger, but I don't see why it wouldn't work with most other blog sites out there.

How to do it: Start off by creating a new Google Document and use this to write your blog post, drawings included.  When you're ready to publish, click on the Share button at the top-right corner.  In the menu that pops up, select Publish as web page.  Now you should see an option to Post to blog.  If this is your first time, you will need to set your blog site settings, such as which blog site you use and what user ID and password you use to access it.  Once set up, click on Post to blog.  Now, your Google doc has been published to your blog!

Check your blog.  If your drawings don't appear (they may appear as missing links), here is the reason why and how you fix it: When you publish to your blog, the drawing gets converted into a picture (PNG format) that Google stores internally.  Your blog will automatically link to this picture.  However, blog readers will not be able to see these pictures because the PNG file is only readable by you.  This is because by default, only you can access the Google doc.  To fix this, go back to docs.google.com, select the check box for the Google doc that contains your blog post, and click on Share -> Get the link to share.  In the dialog that appears, select the check box for Allow anyone with the link to view (no sign-in required).  Make sure to NOT select the Allow them to edit check box for obvious reasons.  Click on Save & Close and you're done.  Check your blog post again and the PNG files should appear. 

This is great for those of you that do technical articles because of the ability to insert your own diagrams or illustrations to spruce up your blog posts.  It is also easy to change: just change the drawing in the Google doc and republish to your blog.  Very geeky, but very powerful.  Happy blogging!

1 comment:

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