How Do I....

Please post comments to this thread for any questions about how to do things on the BioInspired! site.  I will do my best to provide answers.

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nhoeller's picture

... Keep Track of Changes

Keeping track of website changes can be challenging.  The BioInspired! website can notify you of new/changed content as well as comments via e-mail.  At the bottom of each note is a Subscriptions button.  Moving your mouse over the button will display a popup where you can subscribe at different levels.  For example, if you are reading the post (or Forum topic) Re-Launch of the BioInspired! Newsletter that is including in the Forum, you can control your subscription at the level of:

  • Announcements (new/changed content or contents of any Forum topic/post grouped under Announcements)
  • the specific post you are reading (most specific)
  • any content of type Forum topic (most general)
  • any post by that author

When you subscribe to content, you can select the interval at which you will be notified.  Currently defined options range from Immediately to Weekly.  The default is Daily.  Unless you have selected Immediately, you will receive a digest that may contain multiple updates. 

Note: Depending on the length of the new or changed content, e-mail notifications may not contain all of the content. 

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nhoeller's picture

... See All My Subscriptions

Clicking on the My account link in the left sidebar takes you to your profile.  The Notifications link will give you access to multiple tabs:

  • Overview: general information about your subscriptions
  • Subscriptions: a list of all subscriptions, with the ability to edit or make batch changes
  • Author: subscriptions to content by author
  • Content Type: subscriptions to content by type
  • Thread: subscriptions by Forum topics (posts)
  • Add subscription: to a Thread, Content type or Author

You can change your default subscription interval using the Edit link of your profile.  Scroll down to the Messaging and Notifications settings section, just below the section where you can upload your picture.

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nhoeller's picture

... Get My Formatting to Show Up When I Save My Document

Sometimes you will see formatting while editing (especially when copying content from another application like Word) but the formatting disappears when you Preview or Save

The website implements an HTML filtering system that only supports a limited number of HTML formatting tags.  The formatting is not lost (you can verify by editing the document). 

Drop me an e-mail using the Contact Us form at the bottom of the page with a pointer to the document and a description of the problem.  I will update the filter tables and everything should work properly.

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nhoeller's picture

... Copy Content from Word

Copying text from Word drags along a lot of formatting that is not necessary for web browsers and may actually cause the page to be incorrectly formatted.

The safest approach is to use the Paste as Plain Text button in the action bar (the clipboard with the T).  However, this will likely remove more formatting than you want.  You can also use the Paste from Word button (the clipboard with the W).  It will bring up a window where you can paste the Word content.  I have had good success with checking both of the boxes (Ignore Font Face definitions, Remove Styles definitions) although your mileage may vary.  

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nhoeller's picture

... Post a Future Newsletter Article

To keep articles that are under development separate from published newsletter, they are created using content type NewStory.  Once they articles are finalized, they are copied to the Story content type.

In the left sidebar, click on the Create content link to expand it and then click on NewStory.  You will be presented with a screen where you can fill in the title of the article.  Add (WIP) after the title to indicate that it is a work in progress, and (DRAFT) once the bulk of the article is complete.

Enter the body of the article using the rich text editor.  You can paste content from another application, although sometimes extra formatting included by the application causes the rich text editor to display unexpected information or not format the text properly.  Word is a particular problem.  See How Do I ... Copy Content from Word for handling these situations. 

When you are done, scroll down to the Story ID section and enter Volume=8, Issue=9 and Sequence=5.  These values will cause the article to automatically appear in the Future Newsletter Articles section.  A little further down is the Audience section: check off the Members box so that only members can read the article.  At the very bottom of the page is a Preview button.  After you have previewed how your article will look, don't forget to Save it!

There are two other controls that you may find useful.  Below the Story ID section is a Notifications section - a check box allows you to suppress notifications to anyone who has subscribed to NewStory or this article.  If you are making a lot of changes and want to save your work periodically, checking this box eliminates notifications until you are complete. 

Below the Audience section is a Revision information section.  By default, saving a document creates a new version, including any log message that you enter.  If you are making a minor change, you may uncheck this box to reduce the number of revisions.

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nhoeller's picture

... Switch Back to Plain Text Mail

On February 3rd, all update notifications were switch to MimeMail which supports rich-text content and images.  To switch back to plain text mail:

  • click on My Account in the left navigator
  • select the Edit tab
  • scroll down to the Email settings section and open it if required
  • check the box beside Plain text email only
  • open the Messaging and notifications section if required
  • set the Default send method: to Mail
  • save your changes


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nhoeller's picture

... Update (or Add) My Profile Picture

Go to your profile using the My account link in the left sidebar and click on the Edit tab.  Scroll down until you find the Picture block.  You do not need to delete your existing picture - browse to the new picture and then save the page.

Users have reported problems where the old picture reappears after they clicked on the Save button, even though no error message was displayed.  The exact cause of this problem has not yet been determined, but in all cases the picture had actually been updated.  Refreshing the browser window seems to solve the problem.  In some cases, forcing the browser to reload the picture from the server by clicking on the refresh button while holding down the Ctl or Shift key (browser dependent) may also help.

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nhoeller's picture

... Get the Paste Buttons to Work in IE9

The Paste, Paste as plain text and Paste from Word buttons in the rich-text editor do not work if you have upgraded to Internet Explore 9.  Ctl+V still works, but this can drag along undesireable formatting changes. 

There is a bypass posted at  Unforunately, changing the document mode to IE8 wipes out anything you have typed previously.  I will continue researching other options - at the moment, the best option may be to upgrade to a different rich-text editor. 

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nhoeller's picture

... Spell Check My Content

The current rich-text editor disables any browser spell-checking features.  As of July 17th, users can access an integrated spell-checker using the ABC buttons in the toolbar. 


Clicking on the first button will bring up a separate window where spelling errors are highlighted.  Click on the incorrect word, select the correct spelling and apply it using the Change to button.  When done, update the document using the Finish Checking button. 

You can enable SCAYT (Spell Check As You Type) using the second ABC button.  There have been reports of performance issues with this feature.

The spell-checker uses a third-party service which raises possible concerns about privacy and performance.  Please use with discretion.

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nhoeller's picture

... Get Started with Prezi?

Prezi is a platform for building dynamic presentations.  Its virtually infinite canvas, broad range of content and the ability to support up to ten concurrent editors makes Prezi ideal for creating virtual 'project walls'.  To get started, you need to register a free Prezi account.  Have a look at some existing Prezis and check out the tutorials.  Please note that any Prezis that you create with a free (public) account are visible to the Prezi community.

The BID Community has obtained a Prezi Enjoy license which supports creation of private Prezis.  Project team leaders will provide team member with a link that should always be used when editing the project Prezi.  The Prezi will show up in the Your prezis page but editing from here can result in loss of data when multiple people are editing at the same time.

The Prezi will open in View mode.  If the Prezi contains a predefined 'path' between objects, the navigation buttons in the lower right corner allow the viewer to go forward (large button) and backward (smaller button).  Holding down the back button brings up a ‘rewind’ option while the forward button displays three autoplay timings.  Moving the mouse cursor to the middle of the right side displays slide-out Home/zoom controls.  

In addition to clicking through the Prezi screens using the controls in the lower right navigator, it is possible to navigate freely through the Prezi canvas.  Move the canvas by clicking on any spot and then dragging the mouse.  Zoom in and out using the mouse wheel or the slide-out controls described above.  Clicking on an image, text or frame will zoom on the object.  Click on the Home control in the slide-out to see the entire canvas.  At any time, return to any predefined path in the Prezi by clicking on the forward/back buttons.

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nhoeller's picture

... Edit a Prezi?

2011/12/17 Edit action in 'zebra' moved to lower right; action in lower left is now Delete

2011/12/02 delete/copypaste. saving changes, using the Show button, warning about Edit prezi button after exiting.

While in View mode, click on the End button in the lower right navigator.  As in View mode, you can move the canvas around and zoom in or out using your mouse. 

As you mouse over an object (frames, images, text blocks, etc.), you will see a shadow appear around the object.  You may need to zoom out so that the entire object is visible in the window.  Clicking once on the object will bring up the Prezi 'zebra'.  The 'zebra' allows you to manipulate the object. 

  • dragging the center 'hand' to move the object
  • click on the '+' and '-' signs increase or decrease the size (you can also click/drag the zoom ring)
  • click and rotate the outer ring of lines to rotate the object
  • click on the 'pencil' (lower right) to edit the object
  • click on the 'trash can' (lower left) to delete the object

While the 'zebra' is displayed, you can also delete (Delete key) and copy (Ctl+C key) the selected object.  Use Ctl+V to paste the object.

You can undo/redo changes by clicking on the two curvy arrows in the navigator at the top of the screen.  Ctl+Z is a shortcut to Undo on Firefox but does not appear to work on Internet Explorer.  Although Prezi autosaves regularly, you can save your changes at any time by using the Save button.

You can view the results of your changes by clicking on the Show button in the lower right.  When you are finished editing, click on the Exit button in the upper navigator.  This will save any last-minute changes and leave you at a screen where you can view the presentation.  There are five controls at the bottom - if you want to do more editing, DO NOT use the Edit prezi button: if anyone else is editing the Prezi at the same time, you run the risk of over-writing each other's changes.  Always use the URL provided by the project team leader - to verify check that it contains the keywords auth_key= and follow=Edit together does not directly enable concurrent editing - it is used by the team leader to generate the URL. 

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nhoeller's picture

... Work in Prezi 'Meeting' Mode?

If multiple people are viewing or editing a Prezi at the same time, they will be represented as avatars or pointers when the avatar is 'off the screen'.  The avatars of people who are in View mode seem to move around whenever they click on objects.  If the person represented by the avatar is editing the document, their avatar only moves if they are dragging the canvas or after they have finished editing an object (the 'zebra' disappears). 

If two people are editing the same object at the same time, the first person to complete will commit their changes to the Prezi.  The other person will see the object refreshed, likely wiping out their changes.  I will investigate why Prezi does not move the avatar when the other person starts editing an object.

The Undo button works independently for each editor - you cannot undo someone else's changes. 

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nhoeller's picture

... Add New Content to a Prezi?

The 'bubble menu' in the upper left of a Prezi in Edit mode allows you to write text (the default action) or to:

  • insert shapes, images, YouTube videos, drawings or files (images, videos or PDFs)
  • create frames around objects to zoom in on the collection (View mode, all frames) or to allow you to manipulate a collection of objects (Edit mode, visible frames)
  • define or modify the default path between objects and/or frames
  • change colors and fonts

To get back to the default function, click on the tiny arrow pointing back to the Write bubble.  This is very important when working with the Path function - it is easy to make unintended path changes.

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nhoeller's picture

... Control When I Receive Subscriptions

Click on the My account link in the left sidebar and then the Notifications tab. 


The second link (Edit your notification settings) will take you to your Account page.  Abut 3/4s of the way down is a Messaging and Notifications settings block where you can send defaults for the mail format and the send interval.  By default, most people will have Mime Mail (rich text) and Daily (daily digest).  Changing these settings only affects new subscriptions. 


To change the settings of existing subscriptions, go to the first link (Administer your subscriptions).  This will display the list of current subscriptions that you have defined.  You can modify any subscription by clicking on the edit link at the right.   In the example below, any updates to the Life's Principles Game project will be forwarded immediately while other updates will be collected and sent as part of the daily digest.


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nhoeller's picture

... Access My Participation Rebate

2012/01/23 updated with an example

Members can earn a Participation Rebate through activity on the BID Community website or participation in conference calls.  Rebates are handled as a refund to the membership fee to reduce costs and avoid tax complications for Canadian members.  If possible, the rebates are paid early each quarter based on activity in the previous quarter.  PayPal only allows refunds within 60 days of payment - in some cases, the rebate is held and credited after the next membership fee is paid.

By default, any PayPal refunds are left in the PayPal account and are not transferred to the original source of the funds (normally a credit card or back account).  This eliminates any transfer and exchange fees that the member might otherwise be charged by PayPal.  On the next membership renewal, PayPal will first apply any funds in the PayPal account with any remaining amount transferred from the source used to make the initial membership payment. 

Note that PayPal will not 'earmark' the refund for future membership renewals.  If the member pays for a purchase via PayPal, PayPal will (as above) first apply any PayPal balance.  It is possible to set up several PayPal accounts but PayPal allows you to link a credit card or bank account to only one PayPal account, limiting the usefulness of creating a PayPal account solely for membership fees.


  1. You sign up for the $12.50/quarter membership using your credit card as the source of PayPal funds.
  2. PayPal transfers $12.50 from your credit card to your PayPal account and processes the membership payment.
  3. You receive a $10.00 Participation Rebate, which is credited to your PayPal account.
  4. Unless you transfer the funds out of PayPal or make another PayPal purchase, the $10.00 stays in your PayPal account.
  5. When your next membership renewal is processed, PayPal will apply $10.00 from your PayPal account and only transfer $2.50 from your credit card.
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nhoeller's picture

... Subscribe to All Forums Associated With a Project

Clicking on the Forums link (near the upper right of all BID Community pages) will bring up a list of forum 'containers'.   Members will see both Public and Member-only forums, while registered users will see only the Public forums.  Each of these forum containers can contain multiple forum topics.  Each forum topic contains an initial post and a series of comments. 

It is possible to be notified of all forum updates by subscribing to Posts of type Forum topic using the subscribe widget at the bottom of the initial post.  Alternatively, users can subscribe to an individual forum topic  using Subscribe to: This post.  This restricts the scope but does not automatically pick up new forum topics within the forum 'container'. 

There is a way to subscribe at the forum 'container' level, allowing users to more easily control what changes they will see and the frequency of notifications.  The subscribe widget currently does not support forum 'containers'.  If you are interested in setting up this type of subscribe, please drop me a note using the Contact Us link at the bottom of each page.

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nhoeller's picture

... Quickly Navigate to Current Forums

In addition to using the Forums link near the upper right of all pages to locate the correct forum 'container' and finally the right forum topic, active forum topics and recent comments are listed in the right sidebar of the home page (accessible through the logo in the upper left or the Home link).  Forum topics contain a link to the forum 'container' in the 'breadcrumb trail' above the initial post or the link on the right side of the initial post.  From there, the user can navigate to other forum topics in the forum 'container'.

In the example below, Life's Principles Game: Resources is in the forum 'container' Life's Principles Game which contains all the forum topics associated with this project.

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nhoeller's picture

... Resize Prezi Text Boxes?

Sometimes text boxes change their size when editing text within the box. You can corral the text by resizing the box using the triangle at the lower right, just about the OK.

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nhoeller's picture

... Resize Prezi Text?

Prezi does not have the concept of set font sizes.  You can adjust text size in two ways:

You can use the +/- controls in the Prezi 'Zebra' to make text larger or smaller.
For finer control, you can click within the Zebra ring that has the +/- controls and drag your mouse pointer either towards the center (smaller) or the outside (larger).  Sometimes you may notice that text in other boxes displays a shadow when the text size matches.


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nhoeller's picture

... Prevent Multiple Notifications?

Intermittently, Drupal sends multiple notifications for what appears to be the same update.  Although most cases are due to multiple edits/saves of the same document, there have been reports that the underlying website platform sometimes 'stutters'.  So far, no-one has been able to track down the triggering conditions or identified a fix.

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nhoeller's picture

... See What Has Changed in a Document?

The BID Community website supports a number of Wiki-type documents where multiple people have edit permissions.  Most of these documents generate a new revision when saved.  BID Community members can display the revision history of these documents.

The first way is to select the Revisions link to the right of the document title.  This will bring up a list of revisions.  Select the two versions you want to compare. 

Clicking on the Show diff button will display the first version on the left and the updated version on the right.  Note that formatting changes are included.

You can also display revisions 'inline'.  When in View mode, there is a Highlight changes box at the bottom of the document.  Select which revision you want to view.  Added text is marked in green, changed text in yellow and deleted text in grey.



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nhoeller's picture

... Periodically Save Edits

While working on a large document, there is a risk that changes will be lost as a result of a browser crash or accidentally loading a new webpage in the same tab/window.  Frequent saving can reduce the impact but can also result in a flood of updates to users who are subscribed to the document or forum.  The latter issue can be reduced by clicking on the Do not send notifications for this update found above the Save/Preview buttons.  If the document has versioning enabled (currently content types Story, NewStory and Wiki), frequent saving will also create numerous new revision, making it difficult to track changes within the document.

It is possible to copy the content of the document into another application that supports rich-text, but these often introduce their own formatting which can make accurate recovery difficult.  The best approach is to save a plain-text version of your edits (including formatting) by clicking on the Source button in the top right of the edit screen.  This causes the display to change from WYSIWG to HTML format.  You can select all of the text (a common shortcut is Ctl+A, depending on your browser) and copy the text into a plain-text editor such as Linux vi, Mac TextEdit or Windows Notepad.  To restore, ensure you are in source mode, copy/paste the plain text back into the edit window and then toggle back to WYSIWYG mode to continue editing.

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