What does the Format menu allow you to do?

By default, as soon as you start typing in the WYSIWYG, you’re putting text into HTML paragraphs (even if you can’t see the HTML!). This makes sense, as the paragraph is the most common type of text in documents. However, not everything should be a paragraph. In particular, section headers should actually be formatted as just that—headers. That’s where the Format menu comes in.

You could manually make section headers look like you think headers should look. You could select the text and press the B button to bold it, and then use the Edit CSS Style button to make the size of the text bigger, but this is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • When Google and other search engines scan your website, they pay special attention to text that is actually marked up as a header in HTML. If you make a paragraph look like a header, but don’t actually change the underlying HTML so that it’s really a header, it’s still just a paragraph to Google.
  • You have to manually change every paragraph that you want to look like a header. If you later decide that you want all of your fake headers to be 24 pixels tall instead of 18 pixels tall, you have to manually change that on every page on your website. That’s way too much work!
  • You’ve paid WebSanity to style the text on your website to meet your specifications, so that all second level headers (Heading 2 in the figure) look the same way, and all third level headers (Heading 3 in the figure) look the same way, and so on. Manually making paragraph look like headers destroys that consistency and is also a waste of what you paid WebSanity to do for you.

For all of these reasons (and more!), you should use the Format menu instead.

Steps for using the Format menu

  1. Select the text you want to transform into a Header.

    When you use the Format menu, it affects an entire line of text. Therefore, to select the text you want to turn into a Header, you can do either of the following:

    • Click anywhere in that line of text so that the cursor is visible, as in the figure.
    • Select the text.
  2. Click on the Format menu.

  3. Select the Header you want from the Format menu.

    Your choices range from Heading 2 to Heading 6. Keep the following points in mind when selecting a Header.

    • Heading 2 is the largest; Heading 6 is the smallest (Header 1 isn’t available because that’s always used by the title of your webpage).
    • Heading 5 and Heading 6 are almost unreadably tiny, so try to avoid using them if at all possible.
    • Don’t use a Heading 3 unless it’s located somewhere under a Heading 2; likewise, don’t use a Heading 4 unless it’s located somewhere under a Heading 3. You can use as many Heading 3s as you’d like on a page, but they should all be somewhere under Heading 2s.

    Remember—if you don’t like the way a Header looks on your webpage, contact WebSanity and we can adjust it in the styles that govern your website.

  4. The text will change to match the Heading you’ve chosen.

  5. If necessary, switch to a Paragraph Format.

    If you make a boo-boo and accidentally change a line to a Header, simple select it as described earlier and select Paragraph from the Format menu.