Sunday, April 5, 2009


Al of the "Bayfield Bunch" recently asked a few questions about our blog - specifically, how to "stretch" the blog to utilize the entire screen instead of the middle two-thirds as is common with most Blogger blogs. He is working on a beautiful redesign of Travel with the Bayfield Bunch, and when he mentioned to his readers that I had provided some useful information, several readers asked me the same question: How do you expand the width of your blog?

I use one of Bloggers canned "stretch" templates, two column templates where the "blog post" column is stretched across the width of two columns. I use Minima Lefty Stretch for Semi-True Tales (narrow column on the left), and I use Minima Stretch for We Called It Home (narrow column on the right), our blog of campground reviews. Fonts and colors of both blogs have been customized to complement each other.

Here is my advice if you are thinking of switching (double click on the screen shots to enlarge them; use the back arrow to return here):

First, go to "Layout", then pick "Edit HTML". If you haven't saved your current blog template recently (or ever), pick "Download Full Template".

This will save your current template as a file on your own computer, so you can upload it easily if you make any boo-boos when checking out new templates (I learned this through EXPERIENCE - ouch!).

Then, go to "Pick New Template'. Scroll around to find any of the templates with "stretch" in the name.

Click the radio button for one of the stretch templates, then click "preview template" (under the radio buttons). You will get a little preview of how your blog would look if you made the change.

Making the change itself is very simple, BUT you lose any customizing your have done - colors, fonts, etc. All your posts will be there, and all of your "widgets", I am fairly certain. If you have added any special bits of HTML code to your current template or widgets (for instance, I like my recipes to open in new windows, so I have added a bit of html for that), you might lose that. It is a change most easily made before you have done a lot of customizing to your blog - but it is always fun to try new "looks" for your blog.

By the way, I have the Geeks on Tour to thank for teaching me the very simple way to capture screens shots using Picasa: with Picassa open, use the PrtScrn button to automatically capture and save screenshots as "photos" in Picassa in their own special Screen Captures folder. SO easy. If you haven't already signed up for their free newsletter, think about it - I learn new things everytime the newsletter arrives in my mailbox, especially about Picassa.


  1. Laurie,

    Thanks for the tips on stretch templates and the Geeks on Tour newsletter.


  2. This is plain awesome! I am looking for such a theme for my pregnancy blog and this does the job. Thanks again for taking time to write about this.