Like boldomatic, but for a desktop browser. (*sigh*)
July 14, 2013 1:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a dead-simple tool that generates an image consisting of text on a plain, colored, rectangular background for posting to social media. (Please stop yelling. I agree with you. A family friend has asked me repeatedly for a recommendation. Saying, "no," is absolutely not an option here.) Is there an existing, uncomplicated tool that does this already? Browser-based would be fantastic.

Bonus points if it integrates with facebook directly but can be prevented from filling one's feed with unintended junk. Extra bonus points if it comes with a reasonable privacy policy.

One catch: the user is running firefox on linux, and is a bit timid using computers. (eg. navigating an email client is easy. Finding a downloaded file is possible. Deciding what format to save a file to requires phone support.) But, computer savvy people are available to set things up and provide support if things break.

So far, the best options I've come up with are:

- Teach her to use inkscape, gimp, libreoffice impress, or some other stand-alone software and write out a detailed tutorial of exactly how to produce such an image, export it to a properly sized png, and upload it to facebook. This will work, but the opportunity for confusion is large.

- Use imgflip or similar online image-macro generator with a collection of custom colored background images. But, adding text one line at a time and having to re-arrange positions manually is pretty annoying. I've tried out a few such sites, and none seem particularly well suited to dealing with several sentences of text or offer a background color-picker.

- Roll my own generator using imagemagick tools and kludgy scripts. Debugging and testing will take more time than I want to dedicate to this. (And there's no way in hell I'm willing to learn the facebook API for this.)

But, surely this is a solved problem! My search engine skills are turning up nothing but junk and software for specific mobile platforms.
posted by eotvos to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Create the text and background in Word or LibreOffice.

Hit print screen.

Open Gimp. Paste the screenshot. Crop. Save as PNG.

posted by jsturgill at 2:20 PM on July 14, 2013

You could upload a solid color image to meme generator.
posted by phunniemee at 2:29 PM on July 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Notestagram? It's an app but really was designed for exactly this.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:39 PM on July 14, 2013

Best answer: Google Docs has a drawing program. Canvas size can be changed from the lower right corner. It can export as jpeg or png. Set the background color, draw a text box (or several), type, export, done.
posted by Sophont at 2:41 PM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was about to whip something up with HTML5 canvas and Canvas2Image but then I realized that f.f. probably uses IE.

The right answer is to send them a small, square, brightly-coloured image that says “I'm sorry, that won't be possible” in Helvetica Bold.
posted by scruss at 3:15 PM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

(but if they do use a newer browser, Sketchpad works in-browser, but has a slightly fiddly save process.)
posted by scruss at 3:23 PM on July 14, 2013

Best answer: How about Pic Maker? You can set a size, a background color, choose a font, then size the font after you place the text, and is Facebook integrated somehow, but I didn't get that far.
posted by sageleaf at 4:16 PM on July 14, 2013

scruss: the person is using Firefox on Linux.
posted by zsazsa at 7:13 PM on July 14, 2013

zsazsa: "newer browser" and "Firefox on Linux" are not mutually exclusive, as I believe you are implying. Some of us refuse to drink the Google Chrome koolaid ...

I'm running a current version of Firefox on Linux, and Sketchpad works fine.
posted by intermod at 8:16 PM on July 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Perhaps pixlr would work? It is an online editor that allows for dead-simple image editing. There are a few different options to play with. I know it requires flash, and I can't speak to its usability on her setup, but it's worth a look.
posted by kellygrape at 8:18 PM on July 14, 2013

Cooltext lets you set text (with line breaks) and background colour to generate an image, and has some plain options and some that are wilder.
posted by paulash at 3:40 AM on July 15, 2013

Left field suggestion: Polyvore's text tools?
posted by Mizu at 5:14 AM on July 15, 2013

Sketchpad works for me (Debian Wheezy, Iceweasel 10.0.12)
posted by flabdablet at 5:34 AM on July 15, 2013

Best answer: Hey! We`re busy finalizing the "full web version" of Boldomatic, incl. editor...should be ready in about a weeks time. So if you can wait a little longer...problem solved.

Stay bold!

posted by Boldomatic at 5:49 AM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

How technical are they? Would work?

They do text, color, and dynamic sizing:
posted by blue_beetle at 7:19 AM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, all, for the suggestions. There are several here I'll keep in mind for future use, even if they're not appropriate in this case.

I'll definitely mention the future boldomatic option, and give it a try when it's live. Thanks for dropping by! (Also, sorry about the original snark. Mostly.)

At the moment the winner is a toss-up between Pic Maker and Google Docs. As far as I can tell, there's no background color option in google docs, so it requires making a colored text box and then resizing the canvas, which is a bit of a bummer. Pic Maker seems great, except the facebook integration turns up error messages when I try to post something, so it requires saving and uploading things. I'll suggest she try both.

Cooltext looks like it could work. . . but the ads featuring scantily clad manga women and multiple links to download managers give me pause.

scruss - thanks. Assuming she would be on IE isn't unreasonable, but she's actually using a constantly updated version of firefox. (On linux, no less. Any OS is equally opaque and novel, and linux actually works really well for her. She chose it herself, and enjoys the rebelliousness of it. Also, as her principal sysadmin, I love being able to fix things remotely without having to search endlessly through unfamiliar tools.)

I'm afraid *I* can't figure out how to make "meme generator" do anything except cause uploaded images to vanish forever. (That's okay. I'm glad the world includes things I don't understand. Keeps me humble.)

Plugging placeholder text into a URL bar is weird enough it's probably a no-go. But, it's a cool idea none the less. (And could easily be surrounded by user-friendly UI goo.)

I do like the one-tool-for-everything nature of jsturgill's idea. But, in this case it requires learning two new tools.

pixlr and sketchpad both seem just a bit too featurefull and complicated, but I'll keep them in mind if all else fails.

Love the polyvore's text tools idea. . . but, getting it to do the wanted thing seems like it requires a lot of steps.
posted by eotvos at 9:48 PM on July 16, 2013

When you are in the "Drawing" program, right click on the background and you should have the "background" option
posted by Sophont at 6:39 AM on July 17, 2013

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