An Easy Way To Add HTML Tables To Your Lenses

Sometimes you have content for a lens that’s best presented in a table. But Squidoo doesn’t allow HTML <table> tags in any modules.

Fortunately, there’s the SquidUtils Table Generator developed by lensmaster thefluffanutta to help you build custom tables for your lenses.

It’s a simple tool that works well. Tell the generator what format your data is in, paste in your data and choose your style options. (The color fields for Border and Shading apply to all of the options, not only the last one.)

Press a button and the tool shows you a preview of the table with your data and gives you the code to copy. The preview makes it easy and quick to experiment with different options. When you’re happy with how the table looks, copy the code and paste into a text module on your lens.

Now that your data is in a proper table, you can publish as is or customize the formatting even more if you want. A few ways you can do this are to bold or italicize text, add hyperlinks and adjust the cell widths.

Here are two examples of how I’ve used and customized the generated table code…

Office Character TableOn my Office TV Show lens, there’s a two column table that matches characters from the UK version of the show with their counterparts on the US version. The table generator settings for this were Border: Boxes; Border Color: black; Shading: None; Alignment: Center.

After copying the generated code into a text module, I modified it by bolding the header row text to help that stand out.  Then I added hyperlinks for most of the character names.  The links help readers find more info about each character and potentially increase clickouts.

Results TableMy Fantasy Football Addiction Test has a table to tell readers what their score means. The generator settings for this were Border: Header; Border Color: blue; Shading: None; Alignment: Left.

I customized this table by bolding the text in the header row and all of the scores in the first column. Since the text in the left column is shorter than what’s in the right column, I adjusted the width settings of each cell (width:140px and width:440px, respectively). This balances the table and allows enough room for the longer text in the right hand column.

Now go have fun adding tables to your lenses…

Lens Launch: Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke (My 100th Squidoo Lens)

One hundred lenses. Finally. It took a long time to reach this milestone, nearly seven years. Although it’s a symbolic one, I wanted to mark it with a lens that meant something.

Both my grandmothers died as a result of stroke. Both my grandmothers-in-law have suffered a stroke and are dealing with its debilitating effects on them.

The damage caused by a stroke can be reduced if it’s caught early. Everyone should learn how to recognize a stroke. That’s why my 100th lens is on the warning signs of a stroke.

Yes, there are already lots of websites and publications with this information. No, it won’t rake in big earnings (its proceeds will all go to charity anyway). That’s not its purpose. Hopefully, someone somewhere will read it and be prepared to recognize when someone near them is suffering a stroke and get them the care they need in time to make a difference.

This is the most personal lens I’ve written. It’s dedicated to my wonderful grandmothers and grandmothers-in-law.

Time to go work on lens #101…

Catch of the Month: Toads in the Garden

Each month I’ll feature a lens that I discovered while exploring Squidoo.

Toad in a potWinter is a good time to start planning your garden. There’s a long list of things to decide. What kind of flowers or vegetables to plant, where to plant them, when to plant them and where the toads will live are a few.

You read that last one right. Toads like to eat critters that eat your plants, so encourage them to hang out in your garden. How do you do that?

Read AnthonyAltorenna‘s DIY lens on how to build a toad house. It covers all the steps and material needed to build one for your garden. He’s included photos of his own toad houses and helpful info about toads. I think it’s also the first lens I’ve seen that mentions using wampum.

It’s a good, easy to follow how to guide on an unusual topic. Perfect combination for a Squidoo lens.

Making one of these sounds like a good project for the kids, too. I’ve got an old cracked terracotta pot that I’m sure my kids would love to decorate and turn into a toad house. Thanks for the idea and info, Anthony!

Image credit: champmankj75, used under Creative Commons License.