The Visual Editor

Introduction

The visual editor is utilized in every type of form that can be created under the Activities category, as well as email composition under the Messaging category.  In this user guide, we will be covering the ways in which you can use this editor to create, add to, and otherwise modify your forms and email blasts.

Though most of the components of the visual editor are universal, each section where the editor is used has unique settings that are specific to that form or email.  These unique options are outlined in more detail in each activity type's documentation.  You can get to those documents by clicking here for activities.  You can go to the Messaging section for information specific to the visual editor and email creation.  This guide will cover the common options of the Visual Editor wherever it is implemented.

The Basics

We will break the editor down to its core components. We'll look into the various toolbars at the top of each form or email and review the various options available universally.  Some content may change depending on the form element you're working on, so just be aware that not all forms or messages have the same options available.

Content, Confirmation, and Auto Responders

By default, you'll start off in the Content tab.  This is where the form or email is crafted, and the vast majority of the work you do will be in the Content tab.  For Messages, you won't see the tab label, as you only work with the Visual Editor's Content section to create and edit emails. 

The Confirmation View is where you design a form's "Thank you" message page.  These are optional, but many organizations like to display some sort of follow-up page as confirmation for form submission. It's an opportunity to say "Thank you" for participation, and an opportunity to invite your supporters to share on social media.  If you wish to set a webpage where you forward supporters after they've submitted a completed form, you have that option under the Confirmation tab, as well. 

 

Auto Responders are email messages that trigger once a form has been submitted.  You're given a default auto responder for each type of Activity that you can create, such as Fundraising forms or Targeted Letters. You can choose to customize an Auto Responder for a specific form or use and/or edit the default.

You're provided a link to the appropriate Auto Responder, which will take you to the Messaging section.  Don't worry: you won't lose your progress if you jump to this before completing your form.  Do save often, however!

The Content Tab: Views

There are three different views that will help you construct your form:

  1. EDIT -- By default, you will start off by seeing the "Edit" view of your form.  Most of your work will be done from here, as this is where most of your elements are added, edited, or removed.
  2. OUTLINE -- You also have the "Outline" tab, which will allow make broader adjustments to the layout of your form, by clicking and dragging content:
  3. PREVIEW -- This tab allows you to not only see a "WYSIWYG" view of your form in any given desktop browser, but to also see how it looks on popular mobile devices, as well. 

 

The Content Tab: Editor Controls
On the right-hand side of the same menu bar where you've seen the View Buttons (Outline, Edit, and Preview), you'll see some means by which you can add elements such as Headers and Footers, Image and Text fields, and even alter design basics, such as a custom background for your page.  Those buttons look like this:

Let's preview some of the specifics of each of these buttons:

1. ROWS -- This button brings up a menu of drag-and-drop elements that include the obviously labeled Header and Footer, but also multi-column cells and sidebars.  Choices made here may overlap with choices from the Elements tab, too: 

2. ELEMENTS -- Here are the design choices that you'll use to fill in the cells you created in your Rows tab.  As before, click and drag any element you'd like to use to your page:

We'll discuss the individual elements in greater detail further down the page, under the Edit Pencil description .

3. DESIGN -- Selecting this button brings up a separate window of options.  The first tab you'll see is the Design Preferences tab.  This tab allows you to make changes to this specific form that may deviate from the default choices you've made for your account:

The Finer Controls

For each type of design element you place into your page, there's a separate set of finer controls which allow you to further edit and design your form or email. 

1. ROW MOVEMENT OPTIONS -- In the upper-left of each window choice is a small, orange rectangle with white dots.  Clicking this rectangle brings up a menu that allows you to move the cell either by one position, or the entire length of the page:

 

2. EDIT PENCIL -- The options revealed by clicking this icon will depend largely on the type of design element you're working on.  For instance, selecting the  Edit Pencil icon on an Image element will bring up your image library.  However, clicking the same icon on a Text element gives you a text editor.  So you can see more of the options that the Pencil reveals depending on which element you select, here's a brief summary:

A. The Text Box  -- Selecting the Edit Pencil on this element will bring up the Edit Featured content window, which looks like this: Here are some of the text styling options available to you via this toolbar:

    1.   With these, you can make your text bold or italicized.  You can strikethrough or underline your text, as well.   
    2. Here, you're able to select your text's color, provide a background color as a highlight, or arrange your text in • bullets or  1. numbers.  You can also set a block quotation, which will set your selected text apart from the rest.
    3. Indent or remove that indentation with the first two icons in this section.  You can also align your text to the left, center or right of the text box, or justify your entire selected block of text.
    4.   Choose your header style or a universally accepted font type with these pulldown menus.
    5.   The first two icons modify the contents coming directly from your clipboard.  The "T" clipboard pastes the clipboard contents as plain text, whereas the "W" clipboard removes any hidden formatting information that could be brought over from Microsoft Word.  This hidden MS code could potentially cause issues with your form if copied and pasted directly.  The other two icons will modify existing text.  The first strips formatting of selected text, and the Omega allows you to include special characters, such as a copyright symbol (©), an ash (æ), or a fraction (¾).
    6.   Highlight the text you want to turn into a link to a website and then click the link icon.  This link can either be external, or you can choose a form you have published in your account already.  To remove the link, select the linked text, and click the "Unlink" icon (the chain with the small x).

B. The Image Field -- If you're in need of an image to help highlight your cause, here's the tool that will help you do just that.  Dragging this to your form and using the Edit Pencil will bring up the following field:

You'll notice in the screenshot above that we've already selected one of our test account's images.  There are no stock images included with your application; you'll need to upload those yourself.  You can load images in from your computer via the "Upload from Computer" tab.  Every time you come to this screen, however, you'll start out on the "Choose from Asset Library" tab.  Once you've chosen your image, details will be displayed towards the right-hand side.  From here, you can make the following adjustments to your image:

  1. Alignments can be adjusted to the left, right, or center within the Image cell.
  2. Alternate text can be applied in those instances where something causes the image to be blocked, or to not load.  This text will be in its place.
  3. You can create a hyperlink on your image to either internal or external pages.
  4. Add a caption using this tool:

 

Once you've selected your image, you have further control over the image's size and alignment in the form itself.  A slider will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the Image cell.  You can click and drag the slider to make the image larger or smaller:

C. The Divider -- Although the Edit Pencil doesn't play a role in this element, it's mentioned here for the sake of completeness.  The divider will adjust its width automatically.  Currently, the only adjustment options are to move it or delete it; you cannot adjust the thickness or color of the line... yet.

D. The Clickable Button -- You can add a button anywhere on your form that links to another page.  Once you've selected the Edit Pencil, you can refine the button's attributes:  Adjust the link, the positioning, and the size, all through the edit window that pops up when you use the pencil:

E. The Callout Field -- When selecting the Edit Pencil for this field, You'll see the familiar "Edit Featured Content" window that you've seen used for the Text box described above.  The important choice for this field, however, is made using the Design tab, in the upper right-hand corner of the visual editor.  That's where you can adjust the color of the Callout field itself.

F. Social Sharing Options -- As of now, you can add Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ options to your forms.  Selecting the Edit Pencil allows you to change the arrangement of these option vertically or horizontally, and to decide which social media options you'd like to include or exclude.  By default, all are chosen.  You can also add a message which outlines why it is important that they share this page.  You can edit this verbiage with a slightly truncated version of the "Edit Featured Content" window, explained in the Text box section above.

G. HTML field -- For advanced users, HTML can be added to your form by clicking and dragging this field to the form's editor and selecting the Edit Pencil.  Keep in mind that you can derail a form if your code contains anything that's invalid or incorrect.  Be very careful when using this field!

AND THE REST.  You will see these other icons present depending on the type of form you're building.  If you're building a fundraising form, you won't see the "Signatures" icon, but you will see it if you're building a petition.  These are all editable with the Edit Pencil, but you'll notice that some are greyed out.  A grey icon indicates that the field is already included, and another cannot be included by dragging from the Elements tab to the form's edit field.  Again, we'll cover the various form-specific icons and their edit windows in their respective Activity documents.

3.  ROW SETTINGS -- The icon that looks like small, interlocking gears is where you can select a background color, border, padding, and corner style for that cell:

4. DUPLICATE ROW -- Looking like two sheets of paper loosely stacked one atop another, this option will replicate the cell and place the new copy directly below the original.  This is the only option that does not result in a new edit window or dialog box.

5. DELETE --  The trashcan icon is pretty self-explanatory.  Don't worry, it will ask you if you're sure!

The Confirmation Tab

We finally get back to the Confirmation tab.  This is where you'll update your message.  Again, if you don't see this tab sitting to the right of the Content tab, it means that you've already elected to have supporters forwarded to a new webpage in the Form edit window.

Most of the same rules apply here to the Thank You message and Social Sharing options as you've seen described in more detail above, but there aren't as many options necessary to complete this page.

Here, you can see the Preview of the confirmation page, just like you can with the main form's content.  You can see the outline view, though there's not much to move around!  You can also dictate some of the design elements for your confirmation page here. 

The message itself can be altered by selecting the Edit Pencil in the Edit tab.

This will bring up the Social Sharing Configuration window, where you can choose which social media outlets you wish to include in your follow-up page.  You can also edit your message by using the available (and by now familiar) WYSIWYG editor:

Once you have your messaging the way you like it, you can save the content using the appropriate button in the lower right-hand corner of the window.  In most cases, you'll now how completed your form and will be ready to publish.  We'll cover any specific publishing subjects in the various Activities.

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