Brick River 101: Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts


Dan Tobin, our new communications director, shares what he's learning about the Brick River CMS

As a runner, drummer, and master scheduler, Paul Schneider (right) sets a brisk pace. I found that out on Day 1 of my job at Brick River when Paul assigned me the task of getting out a newsletter on Day 4.

The first challenge was finding something to communicate about. So I spent Days 1-3 asking questions and immersing myself in the newsletter archives and website to come up with some ideas for the content. 

On deadline day, it was time to brush up my web publishing skills, which had grown rusty after a long sojourn in book publishing. I sat down at my keyboard and opened up Brick River's CMS with Paul stationed over my left shoulder, guiding me through the steps. Fortunately, he throttled down the cruise control from 80 mph to a manageable 40. 

I thought I’d share a few of the tips I’ve learned in my two months here for others new to the system. In the coming issues of Ripples, we’ll share more advanced tips and shortcuts.

Tip #1 for Beginners: Two ways to create a new email

If you're starting from scratch, click on the cleverly-named option, "Create a new email."

Nice shortcut: If the email you are creating is a new issue of an existing newsletter, click on a past issue and choose "Same email AND recipients" from the "New" pulldown menu in the top right corner of the nav bar:


Tip #2 for beginners: Pasting text into the CMS

If you are copying and pasting from Word OR Google Docs, choose the Word option from the Paste menu in the upper left corner of the nav bar. 


Tip #3 for intermediate users: Keeping your dashes straight

I mix up he two kinds of dashes—the peskiest of punctuation—all the time. The dashes in the prior sentence are em dashes. But when you're talking about, say, "a six-year project from 2017-23," those two are en dashes. Choose the correct one from the special characters menu (below):

(Or you can use these keyboard commands:
Windows: alt+0150 for en dash and alt+0151 for em dash
Mac: Option+hyphen for en dash and Shift+Option+hyphen for em dash)


Tip #4 for power users: Quick download of form attachments

Watch this two-minute tutorial to learn how to do a mass download of all attachments to a reg form. Text instructions are included.