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xMichael Devaney & David Knell

How to include images in a post on a BBS


Including images in a BBS post can be extremely useful when making a point: "A picture paints a thousand words".

The Guidelines on posting images in the Romulus 2 Forums are as follows:

Images of a non-relevant nature are allowed only in the General Forum or Wag's Corner. They must, of course, conform to the same rules as text, i.e. they should not be pornographic, offensive or generally inappropriate. Images are strongly discouraged in the technical forums unless they are highly relevant to the topic and are necessary to make a point.

Step One: You need web space

First off, you will need to get some web space. Any free web space account will be fine. A list of free servers could be obtained by typing "free web space" in any search engine. Or you could use the space that your ISP may provide you with.

Step Two: Saving the image

The image you want to post must be in the right format, either JPG or GIF. If your image is in the wrong format, use a picture editor to convert it. The Paint program that comes with Windows will do fine.

To capture a screen shot of an active window (for instance, a SiSoft Sandra benchmark or something similar), just hold down the Print Screen & ALT keys at the same time. (If you would like to capture the entire screen just hit the Print Screen key.) Now open up Paint or a similar program and paste the image. Save it in a JPG or GIF format.

If copying an image from a website, make sure it is not copyright before using it.

Step Three: Sizing the image

Do bear in mind that images of a large size take a long time to load (particularly for those on slower modems) and can slow down the whole thread to an unacceptable level - frustrating for those who just want to have a casual read.

There are several ways to reduce the file size (measured in KBs) of an image.:

  1. Image Size: The image should be no wider than an absolute maximum of 600 pixels and preferably much narrower. A width of 200 or 300 pixels should be more than adequate for most purposes. It is a good idea to crop an image to show only the part that is relevant.

  2. Amount of Colours: Reduce the amount of colours - 16 colours are usually sufficient for most technical images - and consider converting it to monochrome (black & white).

  3. Format and Quality: Try the image in both formats (JPG or GIF) to see which produces the smallest acceptable result. Try it in different levels of quality; a JPG image tends to have superior quality but a level as low as 40% may well be adequate.

Aim for a file size no larger than 40KB in JPG or 20KB in GIF.

Note: IrfanView is recommended as an excellent image program to achieve these results.

Step Four: Uploading the image

The image must now be sent (uploaded) to your web space. Many web hosts provide easy instructions on how to upload files to your space.

Note: You don't need to insert the image into a web page. You merely have to upload it into your space.

Remember the URL address of the image (for instance: http://www.yourspace.com/image.gif).

Step Five: Inserting the image into your BBS post

The vB software used by the Romulus 2 Forums (and by many others as well) allows you to use vB code to insert images into your posts. In the part of your post where you want the image to appear enclose the URL address of your image within [IMG] and [/IMG], as in the following example:


Note: IMG can be in either upper or lower case (IMG or img). The complete URL (including "http://") is necessary and there must be no spaces. Don't forget the forward slash before the final IMG.

A complete list of vB codes is

Please be considerate:

If you eventually remove the image from your web space, the corresponding IMG link on the BBS will result in 404 timeouts, causing that thread to have extremely long loading times. To avoid this, please return to your original post and edit out the IMG link, perhaps replacing it with appropriate text such as "Image Removed" or substituting a normal URL link to the source.

With thanks to Herb for additional input.

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