FreeForm
This is the FreeForm Startup Page - leave this window open while using FreeForm!  WHY?


Pick a server
(optional)
Then click to: (opens in new window WHY?)
robshelp.com (current) On any given day, due to Internet conditions, one or another of the servers may perform better for you. When using a different server you will need to enter your member name and password when saving or loading for the first time and possibly also enable pop-ups and cookies at that domain. QuickSaves and AutoSaves are only available at the server on which you performed them. Permanent saving and loading works the same from all locations.
eaph.com
eaph5.com
Notes:  The Advanced Builder'B' is the current (best) version. If you have any reason to use the previous version (Builder'A') you may do so here: BuilderA on eaph2.com. If you have any need to use the very oldest version of the Builder you may do so here: Legacy Builder. Anything created and saved with the older Builders can be loaded into and used with Advanced Builder'B' so you do not need to keep using the older versions!
Contribute Please contribute to the support of FreeForm.  All I ask is $1 per each month used. Easy Auction Picture Hosting EAPH.com Hosting The most convenient and helpful to use with FreeForm.

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THE BASICS:  Computer Requirements
Click the New Window Test button to make sure your Internet browser is set up to accommodate the programming in FreeForm:
  1. JavaScript is enabled in your browser (required)
  2. Popup Windows are enabled for the domain eaph.com (required)
  3. Cookies are enabled for the domain eaph.com (optional)
  4. Your computer and browser support other enhanced features (informational)
Configuring Pop-Up Blockers
There are no third party advertisements in FreeForm but the opening of new windows in FreeForm may be intercepted by pop-up blocker software.  If nothing happens when you click on some links you'll need to configure any pop-up blockers operating on your computer by adding eaph.com to their allowed lists.  There are several different types of software that may include pop-up blockers.  The first place to look is in your browser's toolbars.

To configure the pop-up blocker built into Internet Explorer for Windows XP Service Pack 2, click on Tools, then Pop-Up Blocker, then Pop-Up Blocker Settings.  Type in eaph.com, click the Add button then Close.

Here are pages with instructions for configuring pop-up blockers in the Yahoo and Google toolbars:

Yahoo toolbar
Google toolbar

If links still do not work, they are being blocked by some other software that includes a pop-up blocker such as another toolbar you have installed.  With Internet Explorer make sure you can see all the toolbars you have installed by clicking on View, then Toolbars, then click on each in the list that does not have a check mark next to it.  With all the toolbars in view you can explore each of their options.

There is also a possibility that some other program such as an Internet security program or firewall is blocking pop-ups.  You will need to look for some indication on your system when the window is blocked, such as an icon or sound, to determine what is blocking the window from appearing.  If you have some sort of clue but are unable to find the source please write and I'll try to help.

It is best to learn how to use the pop-up software on your computer so you can selectively apply it to various sites on the Internet.  You do not need to turn pop-up blockers off entirely!

AOL members who access the Internet through the AOL network are advised to use AOL 7.0 or higher.  It has been reported that AOL's network does not support the older versions as well as the newer ones.

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THE BASICS:  Using Images (Photos, Graphics, Logos)
FreeForm readily enables the display of multiple images (photos, grapics, logos, etc.) in your presentations without needing to learn HTML.  However, before you can display images in your presentations you will need to:
  1. Set yourself up with an Internet host that is compatible with eBay - More Info
  2. Upload to that host the images you desire to display - More Info
  3. Be able to fill in URLs (Internet Addresses) for those images - More Info
Yes, it is worth the trouble to learn how to do these things!  Using your own host replaces your need to pay eBay for showing extra photos for your auction or store items.  That will reduce listing costs and your sales will improve as a result of showing more and better quality photos in your item descriptions.  If you are worried that this all might be too complicated for you, give yourself a break and sign up for EAPH.com hosting.  That will make using FreeForm much easier.

As mentioned above, you will need to learn how to use URLs (Internet Addresses).  A URL looks like this:

http://www.robshelp.com/robbelljr/nsxblue.jpg

and FreeForm helps you use them by providing a point and click "Choose from" ability to get URLs for images without needing to type or copy and paste them.  The point and click is compatible with Earthlink, EAPH.com, and many Other hosts.

Practice and Test
Here is an example input field for an Image into which you type or paste a URL.  You may test with a URL to an image you have stored at your own host or copy and paste (More Info) in the sample URL from above.  Then click on the "Show It" button and the image will display in a preview size to the left.

Choose from:
Because EAPH.com hosting and FreeForm are under the same control, a wonderful point and click is available when EAPH.com is used for photo hosting.  There is no need to type or copy and paste image URLs.  Click on the EAPH.com button to see how easy it is to use an image stored there from within the FreeForm Builder.

Some Internet hosts offer various levels of hosting including very low cost or free service.  Those levels of service may, however, block the display of your photos from any web site other than theirs.  The free plans at Yahoo, for example, will not display images on eBay.  If you want to test that photos stored at your host will also work at eBay, first fill in a URL above.  If it shows to the left, you're half way home, but also use the "Test It" button (opens a new window) for a more complete test.

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THE BASICS:  FreeForm Uses Multiple (pop-up) Windows
FreeForm is an online program that runs through your Internet browser and makes use of multiple browser windows.  The process is easy because the windows are opened and closed automatically for you as you use FreeForm.
FreeForm Windows The Startup Window (the one you are in now) is used to launch the Builder and for temporary storage of data from the Builder window.

The Builder window is where you may load the ingredients of previously saved presentations and is where you modify them or build new ones.

From the Builder window various "tools" are also opened into their own windows.  You will always know where you are and will, by default, land back in the Builder when you are finished with any tool.

The Preview Window is used to display what was created in the Builder.

In the Preview window you are provided with a menu from which you may save your work or use what you've created for eBay or any other online venue that accepts HTML.
Usually many trips to the Preview window are desireable during the course of creating a presentation.  When you click on any part of your presentation, the Preview window will close and you'll be positioned at the Builder Input Area that controls the part of the presentation you clicked on.  If you are not familiar with using multiple windows here's a tutorial: Using multiple web browser windows

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THE BASICS:  Configuring the Builder
FreeForm's Builder is based on "Input Areas".  Each Input Area is designed to accept and display different parts of your presentation.  A Picture Input Area, for example, controls the display of a picture (photo or graphic image).
Input Areas Diagram You build your presentations by inserting (or removing) the various types of Input Areas where you want them.  What you place in the Builder then appears in that same sequence when you Preview it.

Within each Input Area are controls to configure how that part functions and appears in the presentation.

Configuring the Builder is easy.  Between each Input Area in the Builder there are buttons to insert any of the various types of Input Areas where you want them.
An excellent selling technique is to show a picture, then write about it, then show another picture, then write about it, etc.  That is accomplished by inserting a Picture Input Area, then a Text Input Area, then a Picture Input Area, etc.  You are in control over how much or how little information you desire to present.

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THE BASICS:  Saving Your Work
Saving in FreeForm consists of storing the "ingredients" of your presentation -- the Input Areas used, their sequence, and their contents -- into "containers" residing on either the robshelp.com or EAPH.com websites.  Once saved into a container those ingredients can then be loaded back into the Builder on a future occasion.  Those containers become your own custom templates for use as the starting point for listing different items.

One of the first things you should do when learning FreeForm is practice saving!  Not just the temporary Quick Save, but permanently save via the menu on the Preview page.

So you don't get confused write this down if you need to:  Saving is done from the Preview Page, Retrieving (loading) is done from the Builder Page
Email Registration (enables saving in FreeForm - Privacy Statement)
Register to Obtain Password Change your Password Password Reminder

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THE BASICS:  Using What You Create on eBay or Other Sites
Behind the scenes, FreeForm translates Input Area selections and their contents into HTML "code" each time you go to the Preview page.  Getting to that HTML so you can use it on eBay (or use it anywhere else) is done from a menu of buttons and links located in the Preview page.

To use a saved description/presentation:  First Restore it to the Builder, then go to Preview, then click on the appropriate button in the menu on the Preview page (in the same area at which you find the Save buttons).

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THE BASICS:  Getting Started and Getting Help
You may find yourself asking:  "I like what others are doing with FreeForm but I don't know where to begin!"
  1. If you do not have one already, get yourself an Internet Host for your photos.  Naturally, I'd like you to choose my hosting service EAPH.com, but if your budget doesn't enable $8 per month then seek one elsewhere.  The single most important thing to increase your sales is to be able to display multiple photos in your descriptions where you have control over their size, placement, and appearance.  Make sure the host you choose will work for you with eBay (and FreeForm) using the tests in the Using Images (Photos, Graphics, Logos) section on this page.

  2. At the top of this page is the button that will take you to FreeForm's Builder.  From the Builder page you may access a small library of Samples and Examples, including a Beginners Tutorial.  Load those into the Builder for working examples which you may adapt to your own needs.

  3. Consider your efforts with FreeForm as an investment in achieving success at eBay or other selling venues on the Internet.  If you are not comfortable with computers then some of that effort will be acquiring some basic skills.  It helps tremendously to experiment and discover with an open mind.  With FreeForm experimenting is easy.  Whatever you do in the Builder will have some effect on the Preview.  If you like the results in Preview then leave that part of the Builder alone.  If you don't, then go back to the Builder and change it.  It's that simple.
More Help is Available: - Links all open in new windows

Getting Started With FreeForm Includes an interactive tour that is definitely the best way to get started using FreeForm!

Visual Printable Guide A short outline of how FreeForm works. You'll get a better start taking the interactive tour.

Tutorials including screen captured video showing FreeForm in action.

7 tips for creating better presentations using FreeForm.

EAPH.com Infocenter Includes some good basic advice and explains the benefits of using "Your Own Hosting" (third party hosting) on eBay.

Getting Started with EAPH An outline of instructions for preparing photos to display in the body of eBay descriptions or elsewhere on the Internet.

rob@robshelp.com I'm here to help too!

Good Luck!  ~Rob

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Text Too Large or Too Small?
In deference to people who may have poorer eyesight (I'm one of them) text is not locked in to display at any particular point size in FreeForm's pages.  All the sizes used are "relative" to however your browser is set to display text size.  If the text in FreeForm either appears too large or too small, all you need do is a simple adjustment in your browser settings.  In Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Netscape you'll find the setting in the toolbar under "View".  Make yourself comfortable!

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Privacy Statement
FreeForm is supported entirely by voluntary contributions.  Creating, maintaining, and improving FreeForm has been a very enjoyable personal project of mine for many years.  It was born of a desire to help level the playing field on eBay by enabling "regular folks" to produce attractive and effective auction descriptions without shelling out big bucks or needing to learn HTML.

There are no associations with third party advertisers in FreeForm.  No information of any kind is provided to or shared with any third parties.  The registration process to perform Standard Saves in FreeForm requires an email address.  Email addresses are protected from public access and are only used for the purpose of providing passwords, password reminders, and as IDs for saving and loading Builder contents.  Cookies are available in FreeForm for your convenience.  Those cookies are "first-party" cookies only, which means they are not readable from any other than the FreeForm sites.  The option is provided in every instance to choose or not to use them.

© 2000-2014 Rob Bell