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John T. Unger

Submit your Best TypePad Hack(s)

John T. Unger April 11, 2006

Update: I've closed comments on this page because it has been drawing massive amounts of spam. However, I'm still quite interested in working with others to document TypePad hacks… If you've got a handy tip, please get in touch with me via the contact page. Thanks.

I've asked several of the frequent commenters here if they'd be willing to write occasional Hacks tutorials. I've also had a few volunteers ask how to submit a Hack. If you've got a cool hack that you found, invented or refined I'd love to feature it here. As Dave Winer says, "You need a village to raise a child, and you need an Internet to fully develop an idea."

Here are a few guidelines to get you started:

  1. I'm most interested in things that are not covered in TypePad's Knowledge Base. There's no real point in duplicating the info found there, unless you've discovered a novel way to apply something.
  2. Most Hacks require access to advanced templates, but I'd love to have more suggestions for ways that Basic and Plus subscribers can modify their blogs. A perfect (and clever) example of this would be Bud's recent post on how to turn off comments sitewide.
  3. Many of the suggestions for TypePad on the Agenda page can currently be implemented in advanced templates (but should be possible within the design wizard or basic templates).  Eventually I'll collect all the hacks I can for these items, but a little help never hurt. If you're looking for inspiration, the Agenda page is a good place to start.
  4. When I publish submissions here, I will always credit the original author and link back to them, but I reserve the right to edit for clarity and style.
  5. Hacks submitted to this blog may be republished at will by the author on their own blog or elsewhere. Likewise, I request permission in advance to republish Hacks here or elsewhere with proper credit to the original author.
  6. Hacks will not be published until I've had the opportunity to test them myself.
  7. To sign up to write a tutorial, leave a comment at the bottom of this post or contact me directly.

More Like This: Community , Dialogue , Info , TypePad , TypePad Hacks

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Nuthatch says:

One person requested, " I'd like an easy way to style the author's comments to make them stand out from reader comments." This is easy. Under "Configure" and "Preferences" for your blog, enable HTML in comments. When you leave a comment on your own blog, just style it in bold, or color, or whatever distinctive way you like using HTML tags.

john t unger says:


Thanks for submitting that one! I'll repost it as a blog entry to make it easier to find.

I'd still like to find a way to do this in templates if possible… Less labor intensive in the long run. But for those who are subscribed at a basic or plus level, this is still a very useful trick.

dantcz says:

Not really a hack but I've used Typepad to create a jobs page for my recruitment agency Dunross which I havent seen anyone else do yet. It's a simple solution that any recruitment agency or also any company that wants to advertise internal vacancies could use.

The jobs page is at http://dunross.typepad.com/czechjobs/ It's a very simple solution and easy for my everyone in the team to post jobs quickly using mobile settings. I set it up originally after evaluating lots of 'job board' software all several thousand dollars and it's intgegrated into our main website www.dunross.co.uk.

Dunross main blog is at www.dunross.typepad.com

john t unger says:


If not a hack, it's definitely a good use of a blog! Finding new ways to use the tools we already have is just as important (if not moreso) than developing new tools.

You might also want to check out http://www.indeed.com/ a search engine for job postings that can be included in the sidebar of a blog. You can list your job openings with them for free.

Simon says:

Hey John,

I'm one of the new fellas coming over from Typepad having linked your site as the Site o' The Day. Just a quick perusal so far, but this is a great resource you've got going here. I've got your feed hooked up and all that for future updates.

The only suggestion I have to pass your way right now is in regards to the comments. You may have received it already, since I've heard it from other Typepad users, but it is this: why, oh why, are the comments formatted so horribly? Comment, then underscore, then name/date/time, then next comment... leading a reader to see the previous commenter's name for the lower comment. I think that each comment should be PRECEDED by the author's info in the same way each post is preceded by its title. N'est pas?

Thanks for reading, and thanks again for this repository.

john t unger says:


Hmmm. It's never really bothered me except when they're excerpted on google's search results… I know when I've done vanity searches on google and it turns up a comment, it shows my name and then the next guys comment. that could be pretty misleading if someone didn't click through.

I'm pretty sure that the order of presentation for comments could be changed in templates and CSS. I'm beginning to realize that almost *anything* can be changed in templates and CSS!

Simon says:


I've been almost convinced a couple times to upgrade to a Pro account so I can make mods to my template - I have NO idea how to use CSS - but the added cost per year (I'm at Plus now) just can't be justified. I still waffle regularly, so we'll see.

Christopher Sleight says:

Hi John,

I've got a great Trackback hack that you can use if you don't want to use Trackback for its intended purpose. Basically it allows you to completely change the way your post looks depending on whether the Trackback box is ticked or not. You need TypePad Pro to do it. Drop me an email if you want to know more. Thanks, great site!

john t unger says:


Eventually I'll provide some basic overviews of CSS, working with templates, etc. For now, I want to focus on the basic tutorials that show how to do specific projects.

I'd encourage you to try a few of the tutorials out when you *do* upgrade… the best way to learn these things for me has been working through them. I try real hard to write the tutorials so that they can be followed whether you understand the underlying principles or not. I think you'll find that you start to see patterns in the code when you read through the tutorials, and then one day, you wake up and realize that you *do* have a grasp on what makes them work.

CSS is one of those things that made no sense to me either until I started actually working with it… It can be pretty complicated, but once you get a feel for how to apply it, it gets easier and easier to understand!

john t unger says:


I'd definitely like to hear more. I'll drop you a note.

Christopher Sleight says:

Great - look forward to hearing from you.

Debra Hamel says:

I've been annoyed with the lack of a quick edit button in TypePad, so I just figured out a way to add a link to my post footer that would take me straight to the editing page for that post. I posted the directions for it here: http://dhamel.typepad.com/deblog/2006/07/quickedit_link__1.html

Black Belt Mama says:

I have a plus account. I have a feature on my sidebar where I have a blogroll. Is there any way I can implement a drop down box for my blogroll and for other links etc. I understand I can't do this with archives and categories, etc. but I'd like to know what my options are with the other sections.

Thanks for any help. I'm a beginner and have no clue how to go about doing this.

Debra Hamel says:

Actually, you can put the categories and archives in a dropdown menu. I do it at my blog. Here's the hack: http://www.typepadhacks.org/2006/03/drop_down_menus.html

Debra Hamel says:

By the way, people may be interested in what I've done with my category pages. Because TypePad's default is to list every post in a given category when you go to that category page, I wanted to save room by having an abbreviated form of the posts on the category page. Here's what I did on one site: http://dhamel.typepad.com/deblog/2006/06/today_i_am_a_ge.html. I did the same thing, with some variations, at my other blog: http://dhamel.typepad.com/book_blog/archives_by_rank.html

Note that in this second blog I have book covers loading automatically from Amazon. I did this by putting the ISBN of each book as a keyword connected to each post (the only keyword, mind), and using the TypePad keyword tags inserted into the code calling up the cover from Amazon. Unless it's one of the rare instances when Amazon is using a different form of the address for the book image, it works well.

Bill McIntosh says:

Provides information regarding features of Firefox

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