[LifeHacks] How to write textfiles
A much more up-to-date resource about how to write textfiles can be found here. Reasons to write textfiles:
- text files are virtually universal, almost ANY computer in the world can view the document at anytime. - text files are easy to print, this makes them very easy for you to read when you aren't at the computer. - text files are small in size, this means that they are easy to transfer - text files appear HOW YOU want it to appear - many operating systems have a text editor built right in, windows has notepad/wordpad, while dos has edit.
- DO NOT use word wrap, why? Simply because some programs are not designed to handle it by default and if the file is viewed in a web browser it will most likely scroll off the side of the screen and will be unviewable. Always use enter when you are done with the end of the line.
- DO NOT exceed 79 characters per line, this is for compatibility for users with 640x480 resolution, if it exceeds 79 characters once again some of the characters could potentially go off the screen.
- DO NOT USE CAPS, using all caps isn't exactly eye pleasing..this is just a personal preference use caps all you want, but not many people will like it and it will lead to getting less viewers of you document should you put it online.
- USE A SPELLCHECKER, it is annoying if you can't read the document because the word is so off on spelling. Using a spellchecker ensures that most blarring errors are corrected.
- FORMAT YOUR TEXT, again there are no laws to writing text, but if the layout is nice people will want to read it more than if the words were all put together in one paragraph with 300 lines. Try to make headings stand out from the rest of the text.
- UNLESS IT IS CREATIVE ORIGNAL WORK DONT PUT LEGAL DISCLAIMERS, there is absolutely no point for a disclaimer if it is just stating facts. Which most text files are. Don't waste your time writing a while paragraph on copyright information. If you need to put copyright on your work then a simple "copyright " this should be sufficient. Even if it is creative work, don't bother making a big legal disclaimer unless the document really matters to you. Even with legal disclaimers you will notice that people will still try to steal your work.
- REFRAIN FROM USING ALT+ FOR SPECIAL SYMBOLS, this is not ASCII that is ASCII-2 which is NOT universally accepted. On top of that the character will not appear the same on other systems.
- PUT DATES AND YOUR ALIAS ON TOP OF THE PAGE, that way the viewer can identify who wrote the document as well as when it was created. This shows if it has been updated lately or not, it also good to laugh at your own documents when years pass by. Without dates you don't know if it needs updating or not or when it was created.
- TRY TO REFRAIN FROM WORD PROCESSORS, its really not that they don't create text files right, its the fact that most of them are bulky and if you are multi-tasking they are most likely to crash than a little notepad program would. Plus they have more features than you are ever going to need when making a text document. The only real function of a word processor is for spell checking your text.
- REMEMBER THERE ARE NO LIMITATIONS, you can type whatever you wish about whatever you wish. The limitation on content will probably depend on the host it goes to. If you don't plan on putting it online then the host doesn't matter either. Hosts are fairly accepting on the context of txt files.
- MAKE THE TITLE STAND OUT, making the title stand out grabs focus to the viewer and makes them understand what it is all about. If it doesn't the user may not understand what the particular text file is all about.
- EMAIL ADDRESS SHOULD BE INCLUDED, this is optional..however it is recommended that you get a free web email address for your text documents that way you can get a better understanding of your viewers and they can email you with comments (both negative and positive). Yes it will probably bring in spam, but you will get legit email if many people view your document.