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Jeff Root
2014-Aug-08, 04:34 AM
What's a good place to get answers to questions about
website design? Right now I just have a pretty basic and
general question about how to put text into a column of
limited width, not unlike the text in my posts here.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Hlafordlaes
2014-Aug-08, 09:00 AM
Are you using a specific design tool, or a content management system? Either ought to have a forum somewhere associated with it.

Strange
2014-Aug-08, 10:00 AM
Sounds like you need to use CSS to specify the width (and maybe position) of the text column. This can be as easy as
<div style="width: 42em">
</div>

Or pretty complex if you want to lay that out on a page with other elements. I have seen a web page / blog with a good tutorial on doing absolute and relative positioning of layout using CSS but I didn't bookmark it (or have lost it if I did). One good tip if you are coding by hand is to give each box (typically a div) a different background colour while developing the layout, so you can see exactly where they are.

Alternatively, use a table and specify the column width in that.

Jeff Root
2014-Aug-08, 10:46 AM
Hlafordlaes,

All I'm using is a plain-text editor. That's all I've ever used.

Strange,

That might be all I need at the moment, but even if it is, I'll
need something else, and then something else, and then....

I have used tables a little bit for layout in the past, but it's
been so long that I figure it makes more sense to learn how
to do it "properly" with CSS than to re-learn the table hacks.

I started this thread after trying and failing to add a width
parameter to a paragraph tag, but come to think of it, I may
have just fouled up the syntax because I was depending on
memory rather than looking through pages and pages of
detailed info for the bit I need.

Like the girl in the dog food commercial said, "That's a good
tip. I'll try it."

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Strange
2014-Aug-08, 11:13 AM
This site has some good tutorials and examples: http://css.maxdesign.com.au/floatutorial/
I have only skimmed this, but it looks like it has quite clear explanations of the basics: http://learnlayout.com/position.html
And this has some more detailed examples/explanantions: http://www.wickham43.net/divboxes.php

One problem is that different browsers handle some things a bit differently when you start specifying margins and padding. There are various ways of doing browser-specific things to get round this. It can also depend on whether the browser is trying to maintain backward compatibility, or do a strict implementation of the spec - google "quirks mode" for more...