I’ve recently added quicktags to Toshuo.com. Commenters here have always been able to use various HTML tags, such as <i>, <b>, <a>, and <blockquote>. For those commenters who run their own sites and are familiar with HTML, it’s been usable. Still, I want to make it a bit easier for people who aren’t so familiar with HTML to format their comments. That’s what quicktags are for.

quicktagsquicktags Hosted on Zooomr

If you want part of your comment to be in italics, highlight the portion you want to italicize and then click on the blue box with the I in it. The tags will be added for you. Then, as soon as you type anything more into the box, the change will display in the instant preview below the commenting box. Use the B button to make text bold, the B-Quote button for block quotes, and the Link box to create a hyper-link to another web site. Users of web forums will probably already be familiar with these.

In addition to the standard quicktags, I’ve also added tags for the each vowel-tone combination. Some Chinese speaking readers have told me that they like my pinyin tool, but it’s a bit inconvenient to open another window, type a comment in there, and then convert it. Now, you can click on any of the vowel-tone buttons to add vowels with tone marks to the pinyin in your comments. Don’t highlight anything first; just click the button. One thing I should point out for any perfectionists out there, is that the rules for which vowel to add the tone mark to are a little bit complex. If you want to type a lot of pinyin in a comment, it would probably be best to use the Pinyin Tone Tool. For those who either know, or aren’t worried, where the tone marks go, this should make things a bit more convenient.