Formatting forum topics and replies

For the simplest case, you can just enter your heading and text in the form.  

For topic replies a heading is optional. Include one only if it helps to explain what your reply is about. If your reply is ‘off topic’, make it the subject of a new topic.

It is possible to apply various formatting to your text, which can make it easier to understand.  This page describes the basics of this.  Formatting is achieved using a series of BBCodes, which are inserted into the text.  Whilst editing, you will see these as shortcodes, contained within square brackets. When your text is displayed, the shortcodes will be used to format the text accordingly.  For example, I have italicised the word shortcodes above.  This would be achieved thus:

you will see these as [I]shortcodes[/I], contained within…

Most codes comprise a pair enclosing the text to be operated on.  You could insert the pair and then replace the curly braces {content} with the text to be formatted.  However, it is much better to select the text to be formatted before clicking on the button.  In this case the selected text will be enclosed correctly between the shortcode pair.

The formatting bar

At the top of the composing or editing window you will see a row of formatting buttons which can be used to insert the BBCodes into your text.  The icons give a clue to their function.  Hovering over an icon will reveal a pop-up confirming its action.  There follows instructions for various requirements.

How to do…

Text styling

You can style text as a Heading, bold, italic, underscored or strike-through by selecting the text and then clicking on the appropriate button.  Superscript and subscript are also available: e.g. “sail area is 40m2

Codes can be nested to achieve styles such as bold italics.

Text colour and size

You can change the colour or size of text by selecting it and then clicking on the appropriate button.

In this case you need to provide extra information for the colour or size, as in the following example:

This text is coloured red, while this is sized 20pt.

This would be created thus:

This text is ⦍color color=”red”]coloured red[/color], while this ⦍size size=”20″]is sized 20pt.[/size]

Watch out for the American spelling of colour in the shortcodes!

Text alignment

You can align text left, right or justified  by selecting the text and then clicking on the appropriate button.


You can create lists, which can be unordered (proceeded by a bullet •) or ordered with automatically numbered items.  This is the simplest way to create your list:

  • Create your list with one line for each list item.
  • Select each line in turn and click on the list item button to wrap it in the li pair.
  • Select the whole list, including the item shortcodes and click on the list type – unordered or ordered.  This will wrap the whole list in ul or ol shortcode pairs.

  The above list is an example.

Pre-formatted text

You may want to keep your text laid out as it is, without having it wrapped as the system desires.

Select the text to be presented as it is and then click on the pre-formatted button.  It will be presented in a box as you wrote it.

Replying with a quote from the topic or reply

Instead of using the REPLY button at the foot of a topic/reply, you can use the QUOTE button to reply with a quote from the topic/reply.

If you select some of the text before using the button, just the selected portion will be quoted. If you do not select any text, the whole of the topic/reply will be quoted.

Quoting from elsewhere

You can present text as a quote by surrounding the text with the quote short code thus: 

Mark Twain once wrote

I am sorry this letter is so long but I did not have time to make it shorter.

This was created with:

Mark Twain once wrote ⦍quote]I am sorry this letter is so long but I did not have time to make it shorter.⦍/quote]

If you are quoting from a another forum topic or reply in another topic, note its topic or reply ID number, which is displayed top right.  Copy the text to be quoted into place and quote it as above.  Then insert the reply ID into the opening shortcode with quote={number}.  This will attribute the quote to the author and link this to the quoted topic or reply.  Here is an example:

Now I am ashore for the winter, I have been able to tackle a number of issues with this web site. This topic describes the changes implemented.

This was created with:

⦍quote quote=8737]Now I am ashore for the winter, I have been able to tackle a number of issues with this web site. This topic describes the changes implemented.⦍/quote]


If you wish to link to an external website or another page, you can surround the link URL with the URL shortcode.  This will turn it into a clickable link but leave the (maybe lengthy) details visible. Much preferred is to turn a meaningful bit of text into the link.  Example:

Consult with North Sea Maritime

This was created with

Consult with ⦍url url=””]North Sea Maritime⦍/url]

If you wish to link to another topic or reply within the forums, you may use the topic or reply buttons, which work similarly. However, you replace the URL with the topic or reply ID number. Example:

See the topic on [topic topic=6492]tender sizes[/topic].

Images and files

You can attach images, such as photos, and files to be included in your topic or reply.  I have limited this to a maximum of four.

You select your images for attachment using the select file button at the end of the form.  The type and size limits available to you are displayed.  If you need to exceed these limits, contact the administrator. Having selected your file, you can, optionally, set a caption for it.  If you do no more, the image or file will be included as an attachment at the bottom of your topic or reply.

You can instead insert an image into the body of your text.  Position your cursor where you require it and then click on the Insert into content button.  This will insert a shortcode referencing the image to be displayed. By default, the image will fill the space available, but you can control the size by inserting into the opening shortcode a size in pixels, such as width=200

If you upload a file, such as a .pdf, you can also give it a caption.  Inserting it into your text will insert the caption (or file name if no caption has been set), which will link to the file.  Clicking on this link will open the file in a separate tab or window.

Updating or replacing an image or file

You might want to update or replace an image or attached file. You can do this as follows. This illustration is for an image.

  1. Go to the topic/reply and open it in Edit mode
  2. If you had inserted the image into the topic/reply, you not have any way of deleting the existing image. You will see its shortcode – square brackets including ‘attachment’. Do the following to delete the old image:
    • Delete the square brackets and their content
    • This time untick the boxes about notifying the author and keeping a log of the edit.
    • Submit this change. You will now see your photo as an attachment.
    • Enter edit mode again.
  3. Next to the image in the list of attachments, you will see a delete link. Use it to delete the old image.
  4. Select the new photo
  5. Click on Insert into content and check the shortcode is in the desired place in the content.
  6. Record your change in the reason for editing field and select who should be notified of the change.
  7. Submit

The topic/reply will now have your updated photo.

If you need assistance, have as look in the support forum. If you do not find what you need, raise it as a query there.