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 Post Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 9:09 am 
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(Last Edited April 2017)

This question comes up fairly often and I'll try to explain the ins and outs of it. It should be a simpler task than it turns out to be, mostly because the commercial needs of image hosting companies often get in the way.

In outline - you upload an image to a server on the Internet somewhere, and then copy the link to that image into the forum reply box, then add image tags to it. Your image then appears in your post for all to see.

The forum uses special additional code which is normally hidden from view when reading the page, but is used behind the scenes to identify the type of text it encloses. This code is variously called "tags" or "bbcode" (meaning bulletin board code) and in this forum it is delineated by square brackets [ ]. You can examine how others have used it if you press the Quote button for their post.

There is a special text entry area to help you do that, but you need to choose the advanced Full Editor for adding images because although the Quick Reply box appears by default, it is only useful for plain prose.


This is the Quick Reply box
Image


This is the Full Editor and is the one you need for adding embellishments such as italics, bold text, colour … or images.
Image

o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~


How do I upload my image and how do I get the URL?

Generally speaking, you need to sign up for an image hosting service, but if you have some webspace you may be able to use that instead. Many of them are free for the average user, but they typically also contain paid-for services which they may try to encourage you to use. For the casual user, you don't need to pay anything, there are many outfits which will give you what you need without payment.

For adding images in the forum you need a way to get your picture on the Internet in a manner which can be accessed by a reader every time your post is read. This is normally done by uploading a copy of your image to an area on the web on a remote server which is then accessed automatically by all-comers in use. The heavy lifting is done by their computers somewhere out there which are online 24/7 - once your images are with them and you have the link to the image you're done, you can add it to the forum and forget about it. Unfortunately many of these image hosting services have caveats and limitations on what they do - including probably deleting your image at some indeterminate point in the future without your express wish! This results in broken links and missing images. You should try to find a service which doesn't do this, otherwise you might find a blue ? appearing one day where your image should be.

Image This is what a missing image looks like in this forum!

Another favourite ploy is for them to give you pre-prepared "forum" code which may mean that what you are actually putting in your post is a smaller thumbnail, which then supplies a link to their website, which you have to visit in order to see the full size picture. This gives them the opportunity to feed you advertising and to encourage you to use their extra services and to make money out of you. Not all image hosting services are equal, you should to try and find one that suits you. Skitch used to provide a simple free service which was completely transparent and gave exactly what you needed, but Skitch was bought out by Evernote, and Evernote don't give you exactly what you need. Shop around.

I still use the old Skitch 1.0.7 application though for editing my images, but I now save them directly into a personal Dropbox folder which I have added, (specifically for forum images - to keep them neat and tidy, apart from other thing else in my Dropbox). I called it "dbi" for brevity and because it represents what it's function is!

This is a typical image link from my Dropbox image folder, deactivated with an extra space.
(New modded link format shown, Ed Apr '17)

https: //www.dropbox.com/s/3iwaz9boneq2j07/Missing%20image.jpg?raw=1


There are many other image hosting websites on the Internet now, you can just Google for "image hosting website" or similar to find them. Famous ones which have been around a long time include Photobucket, Flickr, ImageShack etc.

They may provide a link to the image on their website, (not what you need) - you should look for a service which will give you a direct link to your full size image and which does not include extra code. There are many younger outfits which might give you a better deal if you shop around.


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Okay I've got my URL now, What do I do?

The Full Editor will open automatically if you are starting a new topic, but when composing a reply you need to specifically choose the full editor. Paste the image URL into it and then select it from it's first character to it's last. Once highlighted, press the Img button. That automatically adds the appropriate image tags which look something like this:

[img]http://blah-blah-blah/myimage.jpg[/img ]

(I added a single space after /img to deactivate the link in order not to confuse the forum software)

When you press the submit button, the forum software checks the link for correct syntax, it looks for the image on the Internet and identifies if it conforms with forum requirements. One of those is a limit on maximum size of 1030 pixels wide, but pictures of that size distort the width of the whole thread of the forum, so it's better if you can restrict your pixel width to about 800 or less unless you really need to go very large. Another limitation is that the URL must be exactly correct. Any errors in it such as an extra space or newline character that shouldn't be there will cause the forum software to reject it. So check it is accurate and you'll have no trouble!

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Edit May ’14 About other methods for hosting images
Instead of using an image hosting site, if you have some personal web space available you may be able to use that instead. I've been using my Dropbox account to host my forum images for some time now with great success. It is quick and easy to do and without difficulty once it's set up and I find definite advantages in doing it this way. Fundamentally, the main requirement for forum images is the public direct link to an image, wherever it may be hosted on the net.

This method - In summary:
Save image within Dropbox "Public" folder,Get public link.

I've experimented a bit with this and previously used Sugarsync for forum images for a while, but I found Dropbox to be much simpler to use in practice. I now host all my forum images on my Dropbox account which gives me flexibility and reliability - since I know that as long as my Dropbox account remains current, those images will always be available and their quality is directly controlled by me. Some of the major image hosting sites may not guarantee the quality or longevity of your images there. Using Dropbox is an entirely personal choice, it may not appeal to everyone, but for me it is quick and very convenient. I've got my workflow to post images down pat now, screen and window grabs are automatically directed to a dedicated folder for them and I'm using Skitch as an intermediary to edit and annotate images if needed.

If you do this you need to understand that once a link has been posted, the images should not be moved to a different folder or renamed. If you do either, the link you have used would no longer be valid, then you would either have to edit your post again or move the image back to it's original location with it's original name.

A copy of all my forum images take up very little space on my computer since they are jpegs and only a few tens of kilobytes each. Dropbox automatically duplicates them on my other computers and keeps a mirror image of them hosted on the Internet to share. If I need to modify an image for any reason I can do it from any DB-linked device without having to edit my forum post - as long as the new image has exactly the same name as the old one, any changes saved are uploaded automatically. The copies on the server are the ones that are actually used by the forum, so my computer can be off-line and the links will remain valid.

:!: Since I installed Dropbox a while back, DB has undergone some changes. Previously Dropbox included two special sub-folders inside it, the Public folder and the Photos folder - both directly inside the main Dropbox folder. In a new installation of DB, they have now removed both of these folders and changed the way Dropbox works somewhat - but the special function of the Public folder still remains if it is replaced. The direct sharing using public links can be simply regained by adding a "Public" folder yourself, directly inside the Dropbox folder and any file inside this DB Public folder can provide a shared public link. As well as images, you can also share documents or files for public download, video and audio clips, among other things.

Links to files will allow them to be downloaded, links to your movie or audio clips can be added to your post using URL tags when they will open in another tab, and images can be displayed directly by using IMG tags. Other locations in Dropbox will not give you direct public links, only the Dropbox Public folder does this.

For convenience and to separate forum images from everything else, I keep them in another folder which itself is inside my DB Public folder. I also keep a link to this folder in the Finder sidebar so that it is easily accessible, next door to my Image Grabs folder.

Copy the public image link provided by Dropbox using the special menu in two clicks - right click, left click - and away we go.



o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~


Edit April 2017 Dropbox have recently removed the Public folder - you must now use a slightly different method

This is good, in one way - now everybody with a Dropbox account can post images from Dropbox using this method:

Right-click on an image you have uploaded to your Dropbox folder, and choose “Copy Dropbox Link”.

Image


Example: https: //www.dropbox.com/s/h32nq92mrg2fqe0/Copy_Dropbox_Link.jpg?dl=0

You will get a link which ends with the characters ?dl=0

This, as it stands, will not display in the forum; you need to edit the last few characters.

Replace those characters with ?raw=1

Paste that modified link into your reply and then select all the link to highlight it, press the [Img] button above the editing box to enclose it with the appropriate image tags.




One more consideration :) As part of good "netiquette" you should try to keep the data size of your images relatively small. That most often means using a JPEG image at medium quality - not super high quality - otherwise everybody who looks at your post would have to download a lot of data. Also try not to use superwide images unless you feel they are needed, as they distort the forum thread and often people will have to scroll to see the full image - particularly if the image has been quoted once or even twice.


Happy image posting!

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......................1952
...............Effie Madge Mabel Biddie
...................See them on the beach
......................Or in New York City

.............Tina Louise & Hazel & Mavis
Can you name, name, name, name them all today
Can you name, name, name, name them all today

......................


Last edited by Leewave on Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:57 am 
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I wanted to post a screen shot; using Dropbox placed the web address between the ‘img’ brackets and received the following error message,

It was not possible to determine the dimensions of the image

Double clicking on the image doesn’t bring up ‘Public Link’

What to do, please?

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:14 am 
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The screenshot is too large. The maximum pixel width is 1030 (I think but wait to be proved wrong) so you need to resize it down.

I usually size any photos to 1024 pixels wide and they appear ok.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:04 am 
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Just for the pure pedantry of it, you CAN post an image using the 'Quick Reply' box, I do it all the time.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:51 am 
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@dennispc

THE NEXT SECTION IS NOW OLD INFORMATION. (Since March 2017 when Dropbox ceased to provide a Public folder)
Dropbox will only supply direct links for files and images stored inside the Dropbox/Public/ folder
- other links it supplies will take you to the Dropbox website which is of no use for direct forum images.
If you try to use the latter type you will get the error you have encountered “
It was not possible to determine the dimensions of the image

Image

The correct format is issued by Dropbox only for images inside your Dropbox/Public/ folder.
They start with
dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/. . .NOT with. . .www.dropbox.com/s/

Dropbox announces that you have a Public Link with the words "Copy Public Link":

Image. . . . . . . . . . .Image

:) Use this link. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :oops: Not this one!



Double-clicking on an image will not give you the link you looking for, you need to Control-click (hold down the Control key and then click), Right-click (two button mouse) or Double-tap (multitouch trackpad).

If you see "Copy Public Link" then you can you be confident that you have the right type of link.





- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A different problem

If you try to enter a valid link to an image - but the image is over the forum limit of 1030 pixels, you get this error message:

Image


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
@bigbluewolf

The natural and minimum width of the forum threads can accommodate images up to a maximum of about 730 pixels before it starts to expand. As it accommodates larger and larger images, people with smaller screens may have to scroll to see the full image and the thread text too - which is inconvenient, to say the least and destroys the full effect of seeing a large image anyway.

The forum has an absolute limit of 1030 pixels wide (no such limit for height, though). It will not allow you to post wider pictures.

However, if you are in a sneaky mood, you can bypass this restriction by editing your image (keeping the same name) afterwards!


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
@Anndra

Of course you can use the Quick Reply box for any posts. ("Just for the pure pedantry of it" - Just 'avin a larf, eh?)
That’s easy for plain text, but if you are adding an Image or colour or a URL, you will have to manually enter the required BBcode yourself - which presupposes you are familiar with it and know what the code required is! Not everybody understands how to enter the correct BBcode. That’s why there is a Full Editor box to make life easier, which gives you the quick link editing buttons.

_________________
......................1952
...............Effie Madge Mabel Biddie
...................See them on the beach
......................Or in New York City

.............Tina Louise & Hazel & Mavis
Can you name, name, name, name them all today
Can you name, name, name, name them all today

......................


Last edited by Leewave on Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:12 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:10 pm 
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Leewave wrote:
However, if you are in a sneaky mood, you can bypass this restriction by editing your image (keeping the same name) afterwards!

But then the mods will ask you to re-size the image anyway or risk the link being deleted :twisted:

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:29 pm 
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Yes, of course! I was only intending it is a temporary demo and was not planning to leave it on there very long. I'll remove it now.
It demonstrates how people without 27 inch or retina screens may have to view the forum if there is no limit on image width.
As an owner of a screen of (only) 1440 pixels wide, I would prefer the 1030 limit to be less, but I guess I'm in the minority.

FYI, the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious image link I posted was 1,720 pixels wide, now removed.

_________________
......................1952
...............Effie Madge Mabel Biddie
...................See them on the beach
......................Or in New York City

.............Tina Louise & Hazel & Mavis
Can you name, name, name, name them all today
Can you name, name, name, name them all today

......................


Last edited by Leewave on Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:04 pm 
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This is how I usually see the forum on my 27" iMac (2560x1440px). It's a bit narrow really but as you know, I'm not one to complain :lol:

Image

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:07 pm 
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The image was in context Leewave, so it can be left in if you like.
Other threads would have the removal request ;)

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:18 pm 
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BBW, I can see where you're coming from, but not everybody has such large screens. It really makes the forum difficult to read when people post large images - for me at least, anything above about 900 pixels or so requires me to scroll to read the text and images, which I don't appreciate. The image you have just posted at 1024 pixels means now the last part of this entire thread hangs off the edge of my screen! Thanks!

Image


JCT, I won't leave it in - because it makes a mess of thread! I've added a link to it in my previous post so people can actually view in a separate tab if they want to.

_________________
......................1952
...............Effie Madge Mabel Biddie
...................See them on the beach
......................Or in New York City

.............Tina Louise & Hazel & Mavis
Can you name, name, name, name them all today
Can you name, name, name, name them all today

......................


Last edited by Leewave on Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:20 pm 
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Fair enough [THUMBS UP SIGN]

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:29 pm 
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I had years of using a smaller dimension screen so I understand what is happening. I wasn't complaining, I was just showing the opposite end of the spectrum.

I've changed the image to one at 800px wide.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:56 pm 
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Quote:
The correct format is issued by Dropbox only for images inside your Dropbox/Public/ folder.


And that is accessed from where?

The Missing Manual may say, 'And inside your Public Folder is another cool little folder: the Drop Box ...' (p 525) but my Public Folder is empty.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:34 am 
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:tu: Thanks for your PM Leewave, I'll be in touch. All I have to do is sort out when is a Dropbox not a Dropbox. :? :roll:

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:01 am 
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I only use Dropbox for storing and sharing files as photo hosting doesn't seem particularly easy.

For posting screenshots/images on forums/fora (take your pick) I use Photobucket. It's a free account, it automatically generates the required links complete with [img] tags. The UI isn't great but I don't use it for anything else so it doesn't matter.

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