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Contribute FAQs

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  1. Do I need a separate program such as SSH Secure File Transfer or Absolute FTP to transfer files between my computer and the server?
  2. What limitations does Contribute have as a web publishing system?
  3. So why use Contribute?
  4. When I maintained a website before, I kept an up-to-date copy of everything on my computer and re-uploaded files whenever I changed them. How can I maintain a local copy of my site like that so I don’t have to bother downloading files before editing them?
  5. How do I undo mistakes?
  6. How do I delete a page?
  7. How do I use tables?
  8. How do I test/preview my pages?
  9. Where can I get more help?

1. Do I need a separate program such as SSH Secure File Transfer or Absolute FTP to transfer files between my computer and the server?

No. Instead, you’ll use Contribute’s web browsing function to find the pages you want to edit, similar to using Internet Explorer, instead of looking through the directory tree in a file transfer program. Then you click a button to make an editable copy (a draft) instead of going through a download dialog. Likewise, you’ll click a button to upload (publish) instead of using an upload dialog.

2. What limitations does Contribute have as a web publishing system?

First, Contribute doesn’t offer a way to see the HTML code that makes up your page. If you’re comfortable with HTML, you may be better off using Dreamweaver for some tasks such as designing a site from scratch. Second, Contribute doesn’t have a way to upload multiple files or whole folders quickly. Again, if you’re building a new site, you should get to know the traditional SSH to save time.

3. So why use Contribute?

Contribute greatly simplifies updates of an existing site. You don’t have to invest hours learning HTML, and the straightforward file transfer mechanism saves time when you’re dealing with several pages or fewer at a time. In addition, features like page portion locking and page check-out prevent accidents such as inadvertent deletion of header elements, or publishing two simultaneous, conflicting edits from two people.

4. When I maintained a website before, I kept an up-to-date copy of everything on my computer and re-uploaded files whenever I changed them. How can I maintain a local copy of my site like that so I don’t have to bother downloading files before editing them?

Instead of keeping the "master copy" of your site on your own machine, with Contribute you’ll want to use the files on the server as your master. Contribute allows you to up- and download at the click of one button, so it’s no longer a hassle to download before you edit on top of uploading afterward. You can still test pages before you publish with the Preview in Browser feature, which creates a temporary copy of your drafts on the server so you can see the layout clearly and test the links. (But again, if you’re building an entire site, SSH and Dreamweaver are probably the better tools for the task.)

5. How do I undo mistakes?

You can always use the top drop-down menu’s Undo function to fix errors that you just made (Edit > Undo). If you haven’t saved the draft yet, you can cancel it, which will delete any work you did since you last published but will get rid of any unfixable mistakes. If you already published and your administrator has enabled rollbacks (cached earlier versions), you can roll back to the previous page.

Canceling a draft:

  1. In editing mode, click the "Cancel" button on the toolbar.

Rolling back:

  1. Browse to the page you want to roll back.
  2. Follow the top drop-down menu: File > Actions > Roll Back to Previous Version…
  3. Select the version you want and click Roll Back.
  4. To un-roll back, repeat 1-3.

6. How do I delete a page?

Only delete pages you’re certain are no longer needed, such as pages you created to practice editing and publishing. Once a page is deleted, it’s gone!

  1. Browse to the page you want to delete.
  2. Follow the top drop-down menu: File > Actions > Delete Page
  3. If the delete option is disabled, you’ll need to ask your administrator to enable page deletion capability for you.

7. How do I use tables?

  1. To insert a table, click the "Table" button on the toolbar.
  2. Fill in the number of rows and columns you want. In general, you should keep the default width to avoid accidentally stretching out the page horizontally, which may disrupt the banner and navigation elements. Click "OK" when finished.
  3. Click in a cell to type text there, as in Microsoft Word.
  4. You can quickly apply formatting to all the cells in the same row(s) and/or column(s) by dragging the cursor to select the desired cells, then specifying the formatting. For example, you could select the entire first row as a header, then click "B" in the toolbar to bold the whole selection at once.
  5. To adjust the locations of the border lines, click one and hold and drag it to the desired position.
  6. To insert rows or columns, right-click in the table and choose the appropriate insert command.

8. How do I test/preview my pages?

You’ll want to test your page in Internet Explorer before you publish to catch any broken links or layout problems. This action creates a temporary copy of your draft on the server and opens it in your browser so you can click your links to be sure they point to the right URLs. This also lets you see how the finished product will look, without dotted table borders, outlines around locked portions, etc. The preview copy will be deleted when you publish or cancel the draft. Web surfers will not be able to see the preview, only the finished page after you publish.

  1. In editing mode, follow the top drop-down menu: File > Preview in browser.
  2. To test in other browsers, copy the URL from your default browser and paste into the second one’s URL field.

9. Where can I get more help?

E-mail web@wcas.northwestern.edu or visit the Contact Us page.

Contribute comes with built-in documentation that may be able to answer any questions you have. Searching www.Google.com may also help; try “Macromedia Contribute connecting to server”, for example.

  1. To open Contribute’s documentation, follow the top drop-down menu: Help > Macromedia Contribute Help.
  2. Alternatively, press the F1 key.

Diagram of Contribute window

screenshot

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