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What is the proper way to link to a message board?

Writing an answer to this question is a little like giving written directions to tie shoelaces. I know how to tie my own shoelaces, and showing someone how to tie shoelaces is easy, but writing directions to tie shoelaces is a whole different story.

If this explanation is condescending, I apologize. On the other hand, if this explanation raises more questions, PLEASE let me know and I'll try again.

The easiest way for me to link to a BOARD (as opposed to a specific message) is to surf to the board, and then copy the URL into my clipboard. For clarity, the URL is the text string that appears in the "address" window of your browser. To copy, highlight the URL, and then type CRTL-C (hold down the "control" key and tap the "C" key).

After I copy the URL to my clipboard, then I surf to the reply window and paste the URL into the appropriate spot of my reply. To paste, left-click at the point you want to insert the URL, and then type CTRL-V (hold down the "control" key and tap the "V" key).

When I'm replying to posts, the way I surf to another TMF discussion board is I open a new instance of my browser. Typically I have two or three instances of my browser open, so in reality I just switch to another browser window. However, if I really and truly need to open a new instance of my browser (on my PC machine), I launch a new instance from the Start button, or more typically I hold down the SHIFT key and left-click on any link appearing anywhere on the page.

Now here's the tricky part. Look at that URL. You should see a text string that looks like, where ###### is a number unique to that particular board. If you see a string mid=######, that mid string is taking you to a particular post on the board. Sometimes you may see some other stuff in the URL, and that other stuff does still other things. Delete everything that doesn't look like

After you edit the URL, test the new URL by clicking the Preview Reply button, and then clicking on the link for your edited URL. Then click on your back button, then click on the Edit Reply button, and you're back to where you were before you hit the Preview Reply button. If you're link took you where you expected, then you're done with that part of your reply. If not, then fiddle with the URL until you get it right.

At this stage of the game, I get the URL right 99% of the time, but I still make occasional mistakes. However, when I was just starting out, my success rate with URLs was poor. It does take some experience.

Here are some other hints:

1. I often compose replies in MS Word, and then I copy the reply from Word to the TMF reply window. Word let's me use the spell checker, and it's a little harder to lose a draft reply in Word than it is to lose a draft reply in TMF's reply window.

2. I often save key text in Notepad files. Notepad is just ASCII text, so I can copy and paste to other applications easily.

3. My "secret resources" for computer information are:

TMF's Help with this STUPID computer! discussion board:

O'Reilly Publishers' ( Annoyances web site:

Woody's Office Portal:

I hope this helps. If not, then please reply, and I'll try harder.

David Jacobs
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