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Help with Graphical Signatures

© 2002 Walt Howe.
(last updated 23 February 2009)
In order to create a graphical signature on Delphi, there are several things to learn:
  1. You need to know how to prepare the picture to use in your signature.
  2. You need to know where to put it on the web and how to upload it.
  3. You need to know some simple HTML code to call it into the signature.
Let's take them one at a time...
  1. This help file assumes you already have a picture file you want to use. Your graphic must be in either JPEG or GIF format. BMP will work with the MSIE browser, but it is a poor choice for a format, because the files are huge and take a long time for people with slow connections to download. Whether you should use JPEG or GIF depends on the type of picture. In general, JPEG is best for photographs and GIF is best for drawings, text art, cartoons, sketches, etc. For a lot more help with this, read Creating Small, Fast-Loading Graphics.

    You can convert your graphic to GIF or JPEG with many common graphics programs, even the Paint program included with Microsoft Windows. You may want to resize the picture, too, if it is a large one. Try to keep the resulting file under 10K in size and under 300 pixels wide and 100 pixels high.

  2. Now where do you put the graphic so that it can be called into your signature? You can't just leave it on your hard drive, because nobody but you can access that location. Delphi gives paid members a signature block in the My Forums page's My Preferences menu, but it just holds text and HTML code, not graphics files. The GIF or JPEG file must be uploaded or FTPed to a web location. Photobucket.com is a good choice, and Delphi provides a link to connect to or open a Photobucket account at the bottom of your My Preferences page. Or if your ISP gives you some storages space, you can probably post files there. Another choice is the DelphiPlus membership, which gives you 5 MB of storage space for about $4 per month.

    Some web sites invite you to store graphics; others block outside calls to them, considering it an imposition. Read the policies of the site you select carefully enough to understand whether they support outside calls to graphics or not. Check the remote site for instructions on uploading or using FTP to upload the files.

  3. Once the graphic is in place at a web location, then you need to add the HTML code to the signature block in the My Preferences page to call it into your signature. It uses the IMG tag, and it will look something like this:

    <IMG src="http://some.web.address/imagename.jpg" height="??" width="??" alt="short description of graphic">

    Adjust the IMG tag above with the right address and filename and the actual size (height and width) in pixels of the graphic.

    For example, if your membername is LILY and you have a graphic uploaded to your DelphiPlus member web space named mypic.jpg which is 40 pixels wide and 50 pixels high, your IMG tag would look like this:

    <IMG src="http://people.delphiforums.com/lily/mypic.jpg" height="50" width="40" alt="My Picture">

    If you want to learn a little more HTML code, you can learn to control font color, size, and style, too. See HTML Resources for some ways to get started.

Still another approach to creating a signature is to get help from one of the Forums on delphiforums.com that will help you build signatures and put them in place. Here are a few, and there are more if you search for Forums using signatures as a keyword or browse the Creative Arts category..

As you work on a new signature for the first time, you will probably have some questions. Feel free to ask your questions in the Publishing on the Web Forum. If your concern is reducing your signature size, visit the Downsize Your Sig Forum.

If you are a Forum Host, see the related page on Start Page Graphics for more options and examples.