Web Pages from Microsoft Programs
Most people have a number of Microsoft programs on their computer. When it comes to creating your first web pages, many people who are used to working with these Microsoft programs start looking at using one of these programs to create their web pages. This is not necessarily a good idea.
If you are looking through the Microsoft programs on your computer, trying to decide which one to use to create your web pages then you need to take the following information into account.
- Microsoft Frontpage - if you have this program on your computer then there is nothing further to consider. If you want to use a Microsoft program to create your web pages then this is the Microsoft program to use as that is what this program is designed to do. I'd stear clear of Frontpage extensions though because they are not part of the web standards and not all web hosts support them which will restrict where you can put your site.
- Microsoft Word 2000 - This program is a word processing program and not a web editor. The program can output to HTML format but thast is primarily intended for use on your computer and 90% of the file content is actually HTML comments that Word can read to rebuild all of the formatting in your Word document that HTML (without stylesheets) doesn't support. This program does not understand the full capabilities of stylesheets and so does not generate all of the formatting in a way understandable to web browsers. If you want to upload pages from Word 2000 to the web then you will need to read Creating Web pages in Word which describes how to obtain a filter program from Microsoft that can strip all of the Microsoft garbage out of the HTML file leaving you with a poorly formatted HTML page that you can upload.
- Other versions of Word - As far as I am aware 2000 is the only version where a filter to strip the garbage is available but you might try checking the Microsoft web site to see if they have released one since I last checked. If you can't obtain a filter then you will need to manually remove the garbage or your web page will be extremely slow loading.
- Microsoft Publisher - an excellent choice for desktop publishing but not for web page creation. Again the HTML produced will contain lots of garbage intended to allow Publisher to rebuild the document. You will need to manually remove the garbage or your web page will be extremely slow loading.
- Microsoft Powerpoint and Microsoft Excel - while these programs may be able to create HTML output, they are only really suiltable for creating a limited range of web page layouts and are not suitable as your main web software. Even for those few pages you will again need to delete the 90% of the output that is Microsoft's info to recreate the original file.
With the exception of Microsoft Frontpage and Microsoft Word 2000 with the HTML filter installed, all other Microsoft programs are incapable of producing HTML output suitable for uploading to the web. In each case you need to edit the output before you upload it to remove all of the code that doesn't belong in a web page. In order to be able to do this you will need to learn HTML (a relatively simple task). Of course once you know HTML you will probably find it easier to code the pages yourself from scratch rather than spend ages editing the badly coded output from these Microsoft in an attempt to generate decent HTML.
The other thing that you might want to consider is that there are hundreds of dedicated web ewditors available, many of which are free downloads from the web itself. In all instances you will be able to create clean standards compliant HTML web pages using one of these free downloads much faster and easier than you can using any Microsoft program except for Frontpage.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.