Petition Step 3: Compose

The Compose page allows you to fine-tune the look and feel of your Petition. Here, you can set your form’s fields, add images, update the color scheme, along with many other custom elements.

Scrolling down the page, you’ll reach a visual editor with two tabs.  Also, bear in mind you can learn about commonly used parts of The Visual Editor here.


Like the other form creation pages, this is where you’ll begin to brand your form.  Starting with the Content tab, you will:

  1. Add a catchy headline.
  2. Give the Petition supporting imagery.
  3. Apply a specific description text, apply dividers or callouts, or delete any of these things if you wish to go a different direction:

  1. Preview how the signature information will be displayed.
  2. Enable or disable your Petition’s social media sharing options.
  3. ...and much more!

Configuring your petition's content


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

  1. EDIT -- By default, you will start off by seeing the "Edit" view of your Petition.  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 Petition, by clicking and dragging content:
  3. PREVIEW -- This tab allows you to not only see a "WYSIWYG" view of your Petition in any given desktop browser, but to also see how it looks on popular mobile devices, as well.

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. STRUCTURE -- 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. For example:

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

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 to your account:

The next tab, Page Preferences, allows you to make a whole host of changes, such as adding a custom background, adding a Facebook picture, changing the background colors of your page, etc.

The Finer Points

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 -- Since most of the options revealed by clicking this icon are covered in our document, The Visual Editor, we'll only cover the tools and elements specific to Petitions.  For all other edit options provided by other elements, go to the Visual Editor page.

A.  The Form Field  -- Although you'll find the Form field used across other Activities, there are some Petition-specific editing options that are presented when clicking the Edit Pencil.  Note that the Form field box is greyed out in the Elements tab. This indicates that the Petition's editor already has a Form field present, and no other can be added by clicking and dragging this option. 

When you click the Edit Pencil icon in the Form field, you'll see the "Let's set up your form" window:

We'll now cover the options available under each tab:

Petition Options

  • CALL TO ACTION -- The first of two pre-checked options is the ability to display the form fields upfront by unchecking the box, or to leave the box checked and have the petition's form fields be revealed by selecting a signup button.  
  • ANONYMITY OPTIONS -- By default, your supporters can choose to remain anonymous.   Unchecking the box will not allow your petition signers this opportunity.
  • PETITION COMMENTING -- Your Petition is already set to allow moderated comments.  You can moderate your page's comments via the Moderate Comments button.  There's more on this topic on this page.  You can also choose not to moderate your comments by having them published immediately to the page.  You can allow your supporters the opportunity to choose whether their comments are displayed publicly or concealed.  It is in this section where you alter the layout of the petitioner's names and how their location is displayed, if at all:



You can read more about the Confirmation tab options here.  Once you have your Petition set up the way you want it, you can select the Publish button in the lower right-hand corner.

Auto Responder

You can choose whether or not to include an Auto Responder to this form by selecting the appropriate radio button under the Auto Responder tab:


You can also edit the Auto Responder for all forms of this type by clicking the "Click here to edit the Auto Responder for this Activity" link.

Next Step:  Publish a Petition

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