University of Vermont

UVM Self-help Web Guide

Contribute FAQ

What is Contribute?

Contribute is an application for creating and maintaining websites. It is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get!) editor that also does the job of seamlessly downloading and uploading your files as you work (no file transfer client such as SSH, WINSCP, Fugu, etc. needed). In Contribute, multiple people can have access to the site at different levels, and you can arrange for specific work-flow checks and balances.

Who should use Contribute?

We recommend Contribute to webmasters who do need to make frequent text updates to existing websites and do not have a need for additional application development or access to html, css, or any coding languages. For those who are interested in digging deeper into their sites and the code being used behind the "friendly" text view, we recommend Adobe Dreamweaver or an html text editor.

How do I purchase and install Contribute?

The IT support person for your department or college may purchase and install the application and set preferences for you. If you are on your own (or are an IT support person looking for guidance) follow these steps:

  • Purchase your copy of Adobe Contribute through the UVM Bookstore by contacting Catherine Hazen.
  • You will recieve an email with install instructions, there should be a serial number and password to access the application download website.
  • If you have trouble downloading/installing the software contact your IT support person, the Adobe helpline, or the UVM Helpline.

How do I access my website?

The first time you start Contribute it will display the Contribute Start Page which consists of two sections -" Begin Editing" and "Create New". Under "Create New" select the option "Website Connection". Click Continue on the first panel to get started. The following images show the series of panels to fill out, and what you should enter.

  • connecting to website
  • connecting to website
  • connecting to website

Are there any specific preferences I should set after I install the application?

Yes. The person with "ADMIN" privileges will be able to make the following adjustments. Start by selecting Contribute — Administer Websites and then select your website.

  • In the left side menu select "Rollbacks" and check the box to "enable rollbacks".
  • In the same menu select "New Pages" and change the character set to "UTF -8" and the default file extension to "html".
  • Under "PDF Embedding" select "do not allow...".
  • Next select the user whose preferences you'd like to adjust under "Users and Roles" and click "Edit Role Settings"
  • The following images show what each section should look like with the correct settings:

I'm starting from scratch, how do I use one of the homepage templates with Contribute?

First, let's get the bad news out of the way — Contribute does not offer a tool for uploading our template package. The good news is that it isn't too difficult to do, and once the package is up, then Contribute will take over from there. Follow the direction on the homepage templates page in the "How to" section for downloading and uploading procedures.

I've succesfully opened my website and I see the default.html page. How do I edit, save, and upload it?

In the upper left corner there is a button that says "Edit Page". Once you click this you can start making changes. When you've completed your changes you have several options: You may Publish, Send, Save for Later, or Discard Draft. Because we have connected to your website, if you click Publish Contribute will upload the file for you (you can then view your website, refresh and should see your changes live). If you would like someone to review your adjustments you can use the "Send" or "Save for Later" option. If you are not happy with your changes just click discard.

I've successfully opened my website but no files are open — how do I open a file?

See below!

Homepage changes successfully made — Now, how do I open a different file to edit?

In the upper right corner there is a rather small button that says "Choose". Click on this and it will open a window that shows your files and folders in the web directory you are connected to. Choose a file to edit (note the handy preview it gives you) and click ok.

view of choose window

How do I create a new file?

There are several options when creating a new file.

  • Create a new file using the current page showing in Contribute as a template (If you are working on a page that has a special element such as a box, you will need to use this method). In Contribute, navigate to the page whose formating you would like to copy. Along the top of the window, to the right of the "Edit Page" button, is the "New" button - click this. A pop-up window will appear. There are two columns, in the left column there are several options: "Blank Web Page" , "Copy of Current Page", "Starter Web Pages". Choose "Copy of Current Page", input a title for the page on the right side, and then click OK. Now you are in edit mode for the new page. Make your changes and when you are done click "publish." Bypass the warning that you have not linked to the new page. The next window will ask you for a filename.
  • Alternatively, you can create a page from scratch by going to the "New..." button and then selecting "Blank Web Page".

How do I write content so that it has the correct styles (I want my headers to adopt the colors established by the Web Team when they designed the templates)

The style infomation (ie: color) is passed to elements based on their html tag. If you would like the header of your page to have the UVM or your departmental styles then you will need to tag your headers appropriately. When you create a header first select from the drop down menu located just under "Publish" header 4, header 5, or header 6 based on the heirarchy of information on your page.

How do I replace or add an image?

In edit mode of the page you are changing put your cursor where you want the image to appear. If you are replacing an image, just double click the current image. Under "Image" in the top bar select the source of your new image. The image you are putting in the site should be appropriately sized already. Navigate to and select your new image — after you click "choose" there should be a prompt for the "alt" tag for the image. After clicking OK, you will see your new image on the page. If you are replacing an image select the old one and delete it. When you are finished editing the page click "Publish" — there is no need to upload images!

How do I use the imageleft and imageright classes with Contribute?

There are two ways to use these classes to create image/text wrapping.

  • If you need to replace an image and want to use the class calls: If you already have an image in place in your site file, double click on the image to bring up the image preferences pane. Prepare yourself mentally to trick Contribute: In the "alternate text" field first enter your actual alternate text, followed by a close quote. Then type class="imageleft or class="imageright. Note: there is no close quote. Apply your changes, click OK, and publish your page.
  • If you are inserting a new image and want to use the class calls: You may have the ability to insert an "html snippet" (this would be in lieu of the step above which explains how to add classes when you replace an image). This option is found under the insert menu item. Move your cursor to where you want the image and then select html snippet. This will open a window with a blank field for typing in html. Type in your code, taking care to include an alt tag and your class and to close it properly. Click OK and publish.

How do I give my table the uvm "look"?

This can only be done one way. If you need to make a table and you want it to use our existing table style information, you will need to start out on the right foot. First insert your cursor where you want your table to begin. Next, navigate to "html snippet" under the insert menu item. This will open a window with a blank field for typing in html! Type the following:

  • <table class="uvmtable">
  • <tr>
  • <td>This is the data</td>
  • </tr>
  • </table>

The resulting table will look like this in Contribute:


And this in a browser:


Now you can use the Contribute table toolbar (shown below) to build your table with as many rows and columns as you need and then input your text.


Working in a CAS template

I replaced the banner image on my homepage and the words to the right of it disappeared — help!

Begin by follow the steps for replacing an image. Once the image is in place right click on the image, navigate under "align" to "left." This will do the trick.

How do I use Contribute to edit the html email template I downloaded?

In Contribute, under File in the top menu, go to "open". Navigate to the folder you downloaded and select the html file. From here on out, editing the file is the same as editing a webpage. There are few things to keep in mind.

  • All images for the newsletter must live in your webspace
  • When the newsletter is delivered to people's inboxs it will require all link and image paths to be absolute. This means that the urls must start with If you do not do this the email clients will simply not know where to go!
  • Be sure to make your edits using the "highlight and replace" method

When you have finished with your edits you will need to use a separate application to upload any images you need and the enews html file into your webspace. We recommend using Thunderbird to send the email. Just add the html file as an attachment!

Last modified October 31 2011 08:24 AM