Plone for New Users

Plone is like a strong trusty tireless determined sled dog. He is born and bred and galvanized to do one thing: pull your sled all the way from here to whatever city he thinks is your destination, no matter what. This can be maddening if the dog takes off without you, or without your sled, or the sled isn't packed yet, or the dog isn't hitched up, or he thinks he knows where you want to go but you wanted to go somewhere else, or if he vanishes to explore a better path or chase wolves away. To make the dog's job more transparent, and for a much more pleasant initial experience of hitching up Plone so that it will pull the right sled to the city that you wanted, we at Web Services heartily invite you to view these tips.

First, log on to the website.The edit frame below should appear.

What is the Plone Edit Frame?

The bar with five tabs, near the top of your page. The frame is optimistically referred to as “green” though it is in fact a crestfallen mustardy shade of avocado. The frame contains tabs called Contents, View, Edit, History, Sharing, and Global Navigation. For these instructions we'll talk only about the first two:

MyFolder Plone Frame

What is the Kupu editing bar?

This is the greenish bar which appears when you choose Edit mode. It contains 20 symbols representing functions which can help you edit your text and tell the sled dog where to go:

MyFolder Biography Text Box

What if I don't see a Kupu editing bar?

 Look at the top right of this page, click My Folder, then Edit. On the Edit Person page, choose User Settings, then checkmark the box designating Kupu as your default visual editor.

How do I choose View versus Edit?

When you first open My Folder, the highlighted (greened in) tab will be View until you click on Edit to make a change. Every time you make a change in Edit mode and click the Save button, the View mode will re-open, ideally showing your new change. (And, when you open a Body Text field, if you click on that field the software will automatically shift you to Edit mode and may toss your cursor to a new location. We'll discuss that below.)

Where are the Save and the Cancel buttons? 

At the bottom of the page. To see them, place your cursor on the OUTER


Preventive Troubleshooting

Should I “save early and often”?

If you keep open a page of the website for 15 minutes or longer, UW security provisions will cancel the changes that you make and will not save them. You may also get a baffling error message about a "multi-part form." To keep your work from being lost, write it first in a text file as a working copy, and copy/paste to Plone. Also, click the Save button often! By the way, some Windows users develop the habit of often typing <Control + S>, and may feel secure that this will save their work. But in Plone, this keyboard shortcut will not save work; it will only open a superflous dialogue box letting you save the web page. If you make changes and then try to move to another page without saving, the software will flag you: "Are you sure you want to navigate away from this page?" When it does, you will have a confusingly worded choice:

  • To say "Wait! Save! Keep my changes!" Click CANCEL. (This cancels not the changes, but the abandonment of your work.) Or,
  • To say "Go ahead and delete my changes; cancel this work session." Click CONTINUE. (This will jettison the changes that you made!)

How do I cancel my changes?

Click Cancel, bottom of the page. This will make null and void all changes since your last save. In case you did save and then wish to cancel a really drastic unwanted change, look up at your edit frame and choose "History" to view earlier versions of your work, and choose one of them.

What are "Required fields"?

These are fields which are needed by the our software, when it attempts to edit or add to your personnel listing. When a field is required, the title of the field will be followed by a tiny red square. If you hit Save and the page does not Save, and if in fact one of the fields shows up highlighted in pink, it simply means that the software is asking you to enter data in that field so it can save the page. Here is a required field left blank and demanding attention:

MyFolder Required Field

Why is my cursor jumping around?

If you click your cursor anywhere in a Body Text field (right now you're reading material that was written in a body text), View mode will change to Edit, and your cursor might jump to some new unexpected location, like the blank space at the bottom of the website page. This is disconcerting if no one has told you about it, so we wanted to be the first to let you know. If you are switched to Edit mode and want to exit it again, just click Save or View. You may have to fuss with the two scroll bars on the right to regain your previous location. To prevent this, you can try clicking Edit when you first open your work page UNLESS you want to test links on a page. (Links on a page will open only if you go to View mode before clicking on them!)

How do I navigate around the page?

One hat trick is to look at the right side of the page, and choose the correct scroll bar ("correct" meaning simply the bar that will get you to your destination of choice). You will see two scrolls when you are in Edit mode. One moves through the web piece that you are editing, and one moves through the website view as a whole. You can choose the inside scroll bar if you want to just stay on your work page. You may have to juggle the two of them to scroll to the location that you need, especially if your cursor skids over to the wrong bar. Added complications are the View > Edit switch with its accompanying jumping cursor (which may in fact leap to the bottom of the web page and leave you looking at a white screen) and the screen reloading time lapse (the website is really large). So this can be bewildering at first, like drawing circles on an Etch-a-Sketch. It gets better though. Before working on a page I try to remember to click Edit first, before scrolling down and typing.

What are these odd strings of characters that appear in a text box when I copy a text, paste it in, and Save?

In a program such as MS Word, the appearance of the text is enhanced by hidden formatting symbols. These hidden symbols will spring into view when you copy and paste to the website. To prevent this, you can try

  • saving your MSWord document as a .txt file. Or,
  • take the intermediate step of "laundering" out the code by first copying and pasting your MSWord text to Wordpad. (In Windows, choose Start > Programs > Accessories > Wordpad.) Open a new Wordpad file, and paste your text there. Save, highlight, copy to your web page. If all else fails,
  • Edit, go to the green edit frame, choose HTML view, scroll all the way down to the first word of your text, delete the long long string of excess code that precedes it, and click Save.

Note: if you copy and paste MS Word or other outside text into your page text box, then even if you delete the text immediately before saving the page, once you save the page you will still get random formatting marks and will need to remove the html that came with it. For example, here is the random fill that landed on my page, when I copied and pasted and then immediately deleted a row of Xs:


How do I empty a Text Box?

If you create a page, add content to a Text Box, and then try to delete all the contents, the contents will refuse to delete. This is because Text Boxes refuse to be left empty. Even or especially if you delete all the rest of your content, the box will want some sort of filler character to be left in there. If you don't want to put anything in the text box on a page, then perhaps a page is not the item that you really want to add. Perhaps you'd prefer to use the Add New menu to instead upload an entire PDF, or an image, or a Word document.