How I make Atom work for me

My new favorite text editor is Atom Code Editor. With Atom, you can modify the editor to fit your needs. I am going to show you a handful of tips and tricks that I use to make Atom work for me.

How I make Atom work for me

Customize Atom

You can customize fonts, font size and themes.

Change font and size

Don’t like the default font? Is the size too small? You can change that.

Atom > Preferences > Editor

  1. Enter a font name that you want to use.
  2. Enter a font size.
  3. Save.

Atom Editor Settings

If you want to go a step further, you can edit Atom’s stylesheet.


Atom comes with two default themes: Light and dark. If you don’t like them, you can install a new theme. Don’t know which one to install. Use Atom’s theme search to find your next favorite theme.

Atom > Settings > Themes

Atom Themes

Keyboard Shortcuts

Want to work faster in Atom? Use these keyboard shortcuts. Since, I use Atom on my Mac, the shortcuts are for a Mac.

Duplicate a line

When you are writing code, sometimes you have to write the same line over and over again. Instead of copying and pasting, you can have Atom do the copying and pasting for you.

  1. Go to a line you want to duplicate.
  2. Press the keys CRTL + SHIFT + D. It copies and paste your current line.
  3. Repeat for as many times as needed.

Move lines up or down

Have you ever need to rearrange some lines? Move one up from its current spot. Instead of cutting and pasting, you can use this shortcut to move a line up or down one.

  1. Go to a line you want to move.
  2. Press CMD + CTRL + UP (arrow). It moves your line up one row.

If you want to move it down, use CMD + CTRL + Down (arrow).

Comment out code

Different code can use different syntax for comments. You can use a shortcut to comment out your code. It will put the right syntax for comments depending on the language. You don’t need to remember to use the right comment syntax.

  1. Highlight the code that you want to comment out.
  2. Press CMD + /. Atom add comments to your code.


Atom is a great text editor. I like that I can customize it to look they way I want by changing the settings or install optional plugins. Atom’s shortcuts help you to use it even more productively.

Finding photos for your programming posts

What options do you have for better photos on your programming posts? You have two options. Use a photo that you found on a free stock photo site or take your own.
Finding photos for your programming posts

Use a free stock photo site

You can find a variety of photos to use on your site. What free stock photo sites do I use?

What do you do if you can’t find a photo that works or need something specific? You have to make your own.

Make your own photos

With cameras on smart phones getting better and better, you can take your own photos. By taking your own photos, you can use them the way you want. You don’t have to be a photographer to take great photos for your blog.

Use screenshots

What is a screenshot? A picture of your screen with an app or browser window open. You can use a screenshot tool or your computer’s screen capture shortcuts. When you create a screenshot, you can show your entire desktop or a specific part of your screen. With graphic software like GIMP or Photoshop, you can add text to provide more details or highlight something specific.

Screenshot Bootstrap Template

Both stock photos and screen shots can help you to add personality to your post. Do you use both or only stock photos?

Create a site-specific plugin for your WordPress site

As you develop your WordPress website, you need to add additional functionality. How do you add it? You can write custom code that you add to your theme in the functions.php or create a custom site-specific plugin.

Create a Site-Specific Plugin For Your WordPress Website

Both options allow you to add the code to WordPress. Where you choose to add the code affects how it functions.

Theme or Site-specific plugin?

Is the code you are going to add specific to how the theme or do you want it to work even when you decide to switch themes? If the enhances to your theme, you want to add your code to the functions.php. This code only works when you are using this theme. If this code needs to work no matter what theme you have installed, than you need to create a site-specific plugin.

What type of code do you add to a site-specific plugin?

  • Widgets
  • Shortcodes
  • Custom post types
  • Custom code snippets

Steps to create the plugin

The steps for creating a site-specific plugin are the same for any plugin.

  1. Create a new folder for your plugin. Use the format of yourwebsitename-plugin.
  2. Create a new file. Use the name of yourwebsitename-plugin.php.

Plugin Name: Site Plugin for
Description: Site specific code changes for
/* Start Adding Functions Below this Line */

/* Stop Adding Functions Below this Line */

  1. Add your code to your plugin file.
  2. Upload code including the folder to your website.
  3. Activate and test.


With your site-specific plugin, you can add new features or functionality to your website by adding the code to your plugin. By adding the code to your plugin, you keep your code separate from your theme. When you need to add a new code snippet or upgrade your theme or WordPress, you won’t break your website.

Related Post

5 Blog Post Title Generators

How do you get ideas for your blog? Some ideas are easier to write about than others. Other times, you can’t think of anything. What can you do? You can use a blog post title generator. Post Title Generators can give you ideas to help get you writing.
5 Blog Post Title Generators

What kind of generator are you going to use? You can use a generator that allow you to enter topics and return a list of post titles for you. Or you can use a fill in the blank post generator. They may ask you for a topic or ideas that fits within the provided sentence and then give you one or more suggestions.

Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator

Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator asks you for three nouns and generates 5 potential blog topic posts. If you don’t like the results, you can enter different nouns.
Hubspot Post Title Generator


Tweak Your Biz – Title Generator

Tweak Your Biz – Title Generator is simple. You enter a topic. Select whether it is a noun or a verb. Click on Submit and it generates post titles separated by categories. If you like the list, you can copy, print or download your titles from the available box that provides them all.
Tweak Your Biz TItle Generator

Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Portent’s Content Idea Generator ask you for a subject. It generators one content idea. You can enter the same subject as many times as you like until you get an idea that you like.
Portents Blog Title Generator
Portents Content Idea Generator

The Blog Post Ideas Generator

The Blog Posts Generator by Build Your Own Blog gives you one idea. You don’t enter a topic idea. Instead you click the Generate Blog Post Idea button and you get an idea to start from.
Blog Post Idea Generator

When I tried out the tool, I got:

  • How to Survive Your First…
  • Top X _____ Mistakes You Must Avoid
  • How to _____ Like a Boss
  • How To Solve The Biggest Problem you had with…
  • Creative Ideas to Help You…

Blog About by Impact

Blog About By Impact gives you a theme to start with. You can start with their suggested theme or hit the refresh button to get another theme. If you like the theme, you click on Next.
Blog About By Impact

It takes you the post ideas section. You get an idea that you can fill in the blank. If you like the results, click on the heart to add it to your writing list. Then, you get another post title to complete. When you have a list of ideas that you like, you can email them to yourself.

As you continue to write in your blog, you may find that getting ideas for it can be a challenge. Blog Post Title Generators can help you to create ideas that you want to write about. Whether you like getting a list of ideas or a fill in the blank style, they can be a useful tool to add to your blog writing routine.

Have you used a blog title generator?

The Importance of Estimating

Importance Of Estimating

Are you good at making estimates? Most developers find that their estimates are usually low, so they add extra time to ensure that they have enough time to get the project done. At WordCamp Milwaukee 2015, Jess Jurick talked about estimating.

“Estimates: think less as prediction a more of science”

Jess talked about making better estimates, preparing for the estimates, defining the steps involved and how to make an intelligent estimate.

Make Better Estimates

  • Understand the problem
  • Define the details
  • Develop an approach
  • Identify the variables
  • Present a level of effort
  • Revisit and revise as needed

Preparing for an estimate

  • Determine what we know and don’t know
  • More minds = more steps
    Don’t estimate alone!

Define the steps

  • Define the steps
  • Write everything down
  • Get team members to estimate subject matter tasks

Intelligent Estimation

  • Identify pain points and low hanging fruit
  • Define all dependancies
  • Don’t be too granular
  • Provide an estimate that the client can understand

Next time you have to make an estimate, use these suggestions to help you make a better estimate. Remember, you want your estimate to be have more science than a prediction.