Dedicated to combining the latest and greatest bridge blogs in one central location.

Creating and Editing Posts — Tips and Techniques

There are two major topics that will be discussed:

  • General WordPress Editing
  • The Bridge Tools

The tips and techniques discussed under General WordPress Editing apply whether or not you use the Bridge Tools.

General WordPress Editing

You are welcome to use either the Visual or HTML editors or even switch back and forth, but this article is about using the Visual Editor. By the way, using the HTML editor does not stop WordPress from filtering the post as it is being saved.

We have made changes that cause, to an extent, what you enter into the Visual Editor (from now on we’ll just call it the “editor”) to be displayed the same way in the editor as it will be when your post is viewed by visitors to the site. If you notice any irritating discrepancies, please let us know and we will attempt to address them (it may or may not be feasible).

At the top of the editor window (which we often call the “editor window pane” or “edit pane” for short), there are editor tool-bars. These contain buttons you can click on to perform various functions while composing your posts. If you move the mouse pointer over one of these buttons and leave it there momentarily, you will see a “hint” displayed. The hint tells you what clicking the button does. Some also show a keyboard shortcut in parentheses — some of these shortcuts work, others do not. You will see two or four rows (“tool-bars”) of buttons as illustrated below:

Whether you see two or four tool-bars can be changed by clicking on the button at the extreme right of the top tool-bar — the hint is “Show/Hide Kitchen Sink” (the authors have a sense of humor). Think of the two tool-bar configuration as showing basic editing tools and the four tool-bar configuration as simply providing extra editing tools. Notice the top and bottom tool-bars remain the same. The “Bridge Tools” comprise the bottom tool-bar.

Paragraphs and Line-Breaks

Start a new paragraph: Just press the Enter key (also known as the Return key), the editor will start a new paragraph. Pressing it more than once causes empty paragraphs to be inserted (they are not really “empty” but contain a single “non-breaking space”). Note that there is some space between paragraphs. This is the “style” we use for

Start a new line: Hold down the Shift key wile pressing the Enter key. This does not start a new paragraph, but just a new line in the same paragraph. There is no additional space between lines. There is a catch though. You cannot create lots of empty space by using multiple line breaks without entering any text on the new lines. What will happen is that they all get converted into a single new paragraph when you save the post. So you might see the space for a while, but it will change.

Inserting the Suit Symbols

Power-users can type the initial letter of the suit, enclosed in square brackets, to get the suit symbols. (, , , .) They will always appear that way in the editor (so this is an example of not seeing something the way visitors will).

The rest of us can simply use the mouse and click on the suit symbols that can be seen in the editor’s “tool-bars” (these are part of the Bridge Tools).

Styled Text — Modifying In or Around It

The insertion point (the cursor position where you can type text or insert things) acts much like it does in various other editors such as Microsoft Word. Sometimes people find this behavior confusing as typing text in the same apparent cursor position may have different results. For example, if you place the cursor immediately following some red text (or the heart suit symbol), sometimes the text you type will be red and sometimes black.

What is going on?

Well it depends how the cursor got there! If you move the mouse pointer immediately after the styled text and click to move the insertion point, the text you type will have the style of the immediately preceding text (the text to the left). If you move the insertion point by using the left and right arrows on the keyboard, you can get the style whichever way you want it to be.

Using the right arrow to position the insertion point will result in the style of the immediately preceding text (i.e to the left), just like clicking the mouse button to move the insertion point.

Using the left arrow to position the insertion point will result in the style of the immediately following text (i.e. to the right).

Since we think most of you will want the text you type after inserting a heart or diamond suit symbol to be black (for example, typing the cards in the suit), we have purposely made inserting the suit symbols act as if you used the left arrow key to position the cursor. If you really want red text, you can guess how to get it — just click the left arrow key to position the insertion point to the left of the suit symbol and then the right arrow key to position it after the suit symbol. You just use the arrow keys as described above.

The Bridge Tools

If you examine the bottom tool-bar, you will see that there are actually four sets of buttons separated by a larger space between sets. These are discussed in order, left to right. In all cases, ensure that you have the insertion point (the place where you could type text and it will be inserted), located where you want the symbol or diagram to be inserted. You can get rather weird looking results if you try to insert a diagram in the middle of another diagram! Remember that Ctrl + Z can be used to “undo” a mistake.

With the exception of inserting suit symbols, all the bridge tools display a dialog so the information associated with the diagram you want to insert can be entered. They all have a button that looks like the one to the right. Clicking it actually causes the diagram to be generated and inserted into your blog post. We call this the “Insert Diagram button”

Inserting Suit Symbols

Click on one of the suits to have that symbol immediately inserted into your post. If you do not mind seeing something different in the edit pane than what your readers will see, you can use “shortcodes”. Instead of clicking on a suit symbol, just type the initial letter of the suit in square brackets. A heart symbol, for example, will be displayed to your readers instead of the that you see.

Inserting Auctions

There are two types of auctions that can be inserted: a full-auction showing all four table positions and an un-contested auction showing the auction of one pair of players. In either case, when you click on the appropriate Insert Auction button, a dialog will be displayed that allows you to enter the information to be shown in the resulting diagram.

Here is what the dialog for a full-auction looks like:

As you can see, there are several parts to this dialog. There are three selections that you can make that affect how the diagram will be displayed in your post.

  • Choose whether the diagram should be centered horizontally in the post or whether it should be displayed on the left so that you can enter text to be displayed on the right. We usually say that the text will be allowed to wrap around the diagram. There will be a similar choice you can make in all the Bridge Tool dialogs.
  • Select who the dealer (“Dlr:”) is. This does not really affect the display in your post, but will change where the first call in the auction will occur. If you have already entered some calls, those in the first row to the left of the dealer will be reset to a dash. In any case, the call in the first row corresponding to the dealer will be highlighted.
  • Select the vulnerability (“Vul:”) for the deal. The appropriate directions will have their backgrounds set to white (not vulnerable) or red (vulnerable).

Note the “Bidding Box” in the right-hand side of the above dialog. When you click on a call (or the dash or question mark), it will be inserted into the auction diagram. You can see a representation of the auction diagram in the left-hand side of the above dialog. Additionally, the highlighting will change from the call you just entered into the auction diagram, to the next call. If necessary, another row will be automatically added to the auction diagram.

Suppose we start with the above dialog and, in turn, click 1NT, Pass, 2C, Dbl. The resulting representation of the auction diagram will change so it looks like this:

The calls we clicked on were inserted sequentially into the auction diagram. As we clicked on each, the highlighting moved to the next call. After we clicked “Dbl”, it was inserted, an additional row was added to the diagram and the highlighting was advanced.

Suppose at this point we realized we clicked on the wrong call in the bidding box. We had meant to click on 2D (transfer to hearts), not on 2C (Stayman). What do we do? Simple enough, move the cursor over the 2C call and click (left-click). The highlighting will be moved to the 2C call as illustrated below.

Now we just click on the 2D call in the Bidding Box to change the diagram as shown below.



Now we could click on the dash under 1NT and continue entering the auction or we could click on “Dbl” in the bidding box (it is closer to where we have the mouse pointer) to achieve the same result.


Supposing we have an auction where a number of the calls were conventional and we wanted to discuss them in our post. We have two choices:

  • Enter the auction as above and click the Insert Diagram button (it is immediately below the Bidding Box in the dialog illustrated above). This inserts the diagram and we can then discuss the auction and the conventional calls in the text.
  • Annotate the auction diagram.

You annotate a call by clicking on the text-entry area just above the Bidding Box and typing in an explanation. Before you click on it, the text-entry area contains “Optional annotation here.”, but that is cleared when you click on it. You then click on a call in the Bidding Box. It is important that you enter the annotation before clicking on the call to enter it into the auction diagram. What will happen is that an annotation area will be be shown below the auction and the annotation inserted into it. If the annotation area is already visible, the new annotation will simply be added after the last of the existing annotations. The call will be marked with a reference to the annotation.

Let us see an example of a full-auction with the dealer and vulnerability set, and some of the calls annotated. Remember, you do not have to use the annotation feature if you do not want to. It is your choice.

As with the need to change a call that was illustrated above, the same thing may occur when you are entering an auction that has annotations. You make your changes the same way. You click on a call so that it becomes highlighted and then select the substitute call from the Bidding Box. Before clicking on the call in the Bidding Box, you can enter an annotation if desired.

There are several things that may change, including whether a call is annotated or not. We could, for example, remove the annotation on the 2D bid in the diagram to the left, by clicking on it to highlight it and then clicking 2D in the Bidding Box (without having entered an annotation in the annotation area). When you do that (replace an annotated call by one that is not annotated), the annotation is removed from the annotation area below the auction diagram. If that results in there being no annotations left, the annotation area is removed.

The cross-reference numbers are not resequenced and the annotations are not re-ordered in the annotation area (it is a bit awkward to do that in the dialog); however, when the diagram is inserted into your post, they are re-numbered and the order of the annotations in the annotation area is changed to correspond to the actual auction. If you replace an annotated call by another that is also annotated, the reference number will be retained and the annotation in the annotation area will be replaced by the new one (that was easy to do!).

Non-competitive auctions are similar to full-auctions. There are two major differences:

  • Only two positions are shown. This is a familiar way of showing non-competitive auctions — it saves having to enter all those passes and results in a clearer explanation.
  • If there is an annotation area, it is separated slightly from the auction. In a “centered” diagram it is horizontally centered under the auction (it would look silly butted right up to the auction as it is wider), in a “left” diagram, it is shown to the right of the auction and text is not wrapped around the diagram, but continues below it, just as in the centered version.

Inserting Hands

There are six types of hand diagrams that can be created using the Bridge Tools. From left to right in the Bridge Tools tool-bar, those are:

  • A single hand
  • A full deal
  • A pair of North-South hands
  • A pair of West-North hands (for a defensive problem)
  • A pair of North-East hands (for a defensive problem)
  • A pair of East-West hands

Because it is has an interesting side-effect, inserting a full-deal diagram will be discussed first. That side-effect is designed to make your blog-writing easier. When you use the Bridge Tools to create a full-deal diagram, the data you enter in the dialog is “remembered”. In fact, unless you delete “cookies” in your browser (or have them disabled), the data for the last full-deal diagram you created will be remembered across browser sessions. More on this later.

When you click on the Insert Full-Deal button, a dialog similar to the one at the left will be displayed.

You choose whether you want text to wrap around the diagram or for the diagram to be horizontally centered. The button below the representation of the full-deal diagram is the Insert Diagram button. Click it when you are finished entering data and want the diagram to be generated and inserted into your post.

Other than the names of the players and the actual cards in each hand, there are four other, optional pieces of information. Any of those four that have no data set, will not be displayed in the generated diagram.

  • The board number — click in the text area to the right of “Board:” and enter it.
  • Vulnerability — click on the little downward pointing arrow to the right of “Vul:” to see a selection list. If you do not set it, the diagram will be displayed as if no one is vulnerable.
  • Dealer — click on the little downward pointing arrow to the right of “Dlr:” to see a selection list.
  • Lead — in the center of the diagram representation, below the word “Lead”, are two selection lists. Clicking on the little downward pointing arrows will display a list from which a choice may be made. The first selection list is for the suit of the lead and the second for the card.

The “directions” are the single capital letters above the hands. The “North”, “South”, etc., are the “Player Names”. You can click on a player name (or double-click to select a whole word) and change it. This means you can associate actual player names with hands. Keep in mind that only about the first 11 characters will be visible in the generated diagram.

Tip: You can use the tab key to move from field to field. When the focus is on one of the selection lists, you can use the up and down arrows to move through the options (they do not “cycle”, so you need to use the down arrow to get started moving through the selections). You can also type the first letter of the desired selection, as long as the choices are text. If more than one choice starts with the same letter, you can type the letter a second time to get the second selection and so on. For example, if the focus is on “Vul:”, then the first time you type the letter “N” (lower-case is fine), “None” will be shown. Typing a second “N” will show “N-S” (a third will cycle back to “None”).

When you click in a text area beside a suit symbol (or use the tab key to get to it), the dash will be removed and you can type the cards in the suit. Well, you can actually type anything you want, but there is some translation that will be done on what you enter. You can see the result when you move to another field (either by clicking in another field or using the tab key to move to another field).

The translations that are done are:

  • “T” or “t” is changed to “10”
  • “a”, “k”, “q” and “j” are changed to “A”, “K”, “Q” and “J” respectively.
  • “X” is changed to “x” and “h” is changed to “H” (for “Honor card”)

As mentioned earlier, the interesting thing about inserting a full-deal diagram is that the data you enter is “remembered”. If you go to insert another of the hand-type diagrams, or even another full-deal diagram, the dialog that is displayed will be pre-populated with that data. “What’s so great about that?” you may say. We’ll get to that in a moment. First let us look at what the above dialog will look like if we fill it in and insert the diagram into our post.

At the right is an example of the insert full-deal dialog that is displayed when data has been “remembered”. See that paper-and-eraser button at the bottom of the dialog to the right of the insert diagram button? It will appear in a similar position in any of the hand-type dialogs if they are populated with remembered data. If you click that button, it will clear the remembered data from the dialog.

Note: In the case of the full-deal dialog, it not only clears the form, but causes the “remembered” data to be “forgotten”, regardless of whether you actually insert the diagram into your post or not (you can exit any of these dialogs by clicking the “X” button in the upper-right corner of the dialog).

When a hand-type dialog is populated with remembered data, you can edit it to change what the resulting diagram looks like. Only the full-deal dialog will actually change the remembered data and then, only if the diagram is inserted into your post.

The remaining hand-type diagrams will not be discussed exhaustively. They will look similar to a part of the full-deal dialog (not an accident!) and are filled in a similar manner. Only relevant information is required. As an example, when entering a single hand, the board number, dealer and lead are generally irrelevant or simply not applicable.

Note: For a single-hand diagram with remembered data, changing the direction will cause the diagram to be re-populated with the corresponding hand from the remembered full-deal.

Well, if you will pardon the pun…

What’s the Big Deal About Remembered Data?

You may have already started to figure out ways of using this feature, so only one example of its utility will be described.

Suppose you want to describe an interesting deal. You want to show one hand (that of the eventual declarer perhaps), describe a spirited auction and indicate what the opening lead was. You then want to show both the North and South hands (South as usual, being the declarer). You want to describe the play to the first few tricks and then show the North-South hands again, perhaps describing what declarer was thinking about. Then you want to show the full deal and then the position that had been reached (perhaps some lovely progressive squeeze).

How do you do this without entering much of the same data, over and over again?

  • Well, write a line or two of text (or even just “xxx” or a couple of “xxx” paragraphs).
  • Press Return to start a new paragraph (i.e. position the insertion point on a new, blank line). Then click the Insert full-Deal button. Enter the whole deal, including vulnerability, dealer and names. Insert the diagram.
  • Now for the power of “remembered data”. Click at the beginning of the post and write your introduction to the deal.
  • When you are ready, position the insertion point on a new, blank line and click the Insert Single-Hand button. The dialog will be displayed with the remembered data already filled in. Simply select South as the direction (causing the dialog to be re-populated with the remembered South hand) and click the Insert Diagram button. Voila!
  • Now click the Insert Auction button and enter the auction. Click the Insert Diagram button to insert the auction into your post.
  • Write some more of your exciting report on this spectacular deal, then again position the insertion point on a new blank line. This time click the Insert N-S Hands button. As before the dialog will be populated with the remembered data and all you have to do is click the Insert Diagram button. I’m beginning to like this 🙂
  • Continue with your sparkling prose and then repeat the previous step, but before clicking the Insert Diagram button, delete the cards that have been played from the North and South hands.
  • You can add some more text. You already have the full-deal diagram sitting there (it was the first thing we did and one of the last the reader sees!).
  • I think this is getting pretty obvious now. Write some more text then click the insert Full-Deal button. Delete the played cards from the four hands and then click the Insert Diagram button. Note: Changes to the full-deal diagram have to be thought about a little before doing them as when you insert the full-deal diagram, the “remembered data” will be changed. This is why the change to the full-deal was left as the last step.

So, the general idea is to create and insert a full-deal diagram. Then use the other Bridge Tools to show individual hands or combinations (for a defensive problem perhaps). The full-deal can even be selected and deleted from the post. It will not affect the remembered data.

Inserting BBO Bridge Movies

“BBO Bridge Movies” are created using Fred Gitelman’s Bridge Base Online software. That is described on BBO ( The result of creating the bridge movie is a URL. Either note it down and then enter it into the Insert Bridge Movie dialog, or use copy-and-paste to paste it into the dialog.

When talking about inserting suit symbols, “shortcodes” were mentioned. They are an example of something that looks different in the edit pane than what the viewer sees when reading your blog post. Unfortunately, the way bridge movies are handled, combined with how the WordPress editor works, means they can only be realistically handled using shortcodes.

When you click on the Insert Bridge Movie button, the dialog at the right will be displayed. Select whether you want a centered or left-hand diagram.

Click in the text entry area to the right of “Enter the URL for the movie:“. The pre-filled text (“BBO Movie URL“) will disappear and you can type or paste the URL in.

Finally, click the Insert Diagram button.

At this point you will see something like:

{iframe height=”400″ width=”500″ scrolling=”auto” src=””} (pretend those squiggly braces are square brackets).
If you insert a left-hand diagram, the text to the right of that rather long “shortcode” may look a little strange; however, it will display fine when your readers are viewing it.
It is not a bad idea to use “Preview” to double-check the appearance of bridge movies (and ensure you typed in the URL correctly).