Converting to HTML

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Converting From Word Processing Files To HTML

HTML is a total ASCII file, like RTF files and text files, and unlike most word processing files which are binary or binary and ASCII.  The similarities however end there.  Modern HTML files can do more than Word Processing Files.  But there are things they can not do as well.  Until recently formatting was very difficult to do in HTML.  With the recent advent of powerful tables and other commands it is now possible to do very nice formatting in HTML files.  Below we will describe several methods to convert back and forth from HTML to word processing files.  Also see our help file: How Do I exchange word processing files, and what are RTF files and how do I use them?

I.  Making a HTML file from scratch. 
You can create a HTML article from scratch with any text editor or word processor if you save the document and put in some html codes such as <head>(Heading Info goes here.. For example here is the Head of this article:

<head> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"><title>Converting Word Processing Files To &amp; From HTML</title> <meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 3.0"> <meta name="Microsoft Theme" content="blends 111, default"> <meta name="Microsoft Border" content="none"></head>

Note: The title (the text in between <title> and </title> inside <head> </head>) is the Title of the Document, not the file name and not necessarily what the title at the top of the document is!  This title only shows when we are looking at the "Source Code".   If we looked at the actual document in a browser or other program to view the Document this title would not appear on the page with the other text.   However this title is more important than the actual title at the top of the page because it is used for many things in HTML, including listings in search engines, etc.

Next come the body in between these tags: , <body> </body>.  There are many books and online articles which tell you how to do this or you can just save a page on the web that you like with your browser (File, Save As..give it a name and a location) and open it with a simple text editor like notepad or WordPad and mimic or replace what is in it.  However the best way if you do not know how to write HTML code already is to get a program to do it for you!   All the new word processors do this.  If yours does not do it get an upgrade (not a complete new version).  Upgrades are about $100 for MSWord and Word Perfect and they will give you all your familiar features plus the new ones you need such as tables, etc. for web publishing!

II. Using Word Processors with Conversion programs.  All the new word processing software will convert back and forth between HTML and RTF , word perfect, and MS Word documents.  You open or create from scratch the document you want and then use the  "save as html" or similar command, in the file menu.  Or you can create a "HTML" document from scratch.  However be careful how you do this.  The formatting in a HTML document often looks different than it does in the word processor.  If you create the document originally in a word processor and save it as a word processing "DOC" or import it from a word processor such as Word Perfect or MS Word into an HTML editor you'll need to convert the documents into HTML and then possibly make them look nicer, depending on what you create them in.    For example you may need to add tables to make the graphics align properly, etc.  Beware, some programs such as Microsoft Publisher will create Html files, but you will not be able to change them as HTML files once they are created!  Make sure your word processor "goes both ways"! You can get Word IA (Internet Assistant) for word 95 and Word 6 to convert word or RTF documents to HTML You can download these free add ons from Microsoft. There are also other third party conversion programs and conversion program for old versions of Word Perfect.  Go to software shareware sites for these things.  If you have a new word processing program such as Word 95, 98 or newer it will do the conversions for you right out of the box.  Also be careful what the html title of the page is (see first section above).  Many conversion programs take the top line of your article to be the title, if you do not override this decision your first line may be the title. You may have to do a save as to see the actual html title of your document.  You can usually change it in this screen also.  Make sure this is the title of your document!

III. Special HTML Editing Programs.  There are special programs just for creating HTML and Web Sites such as MS Front Page which allow you great power and versatility.    I use Microsoft Front Page 98 to create my Web Sites and HTML pages.  I can take a MS Word document and import it into Front Page, insert photos or other graphics, and then save it as an HTML file.    You can also produce scrolling banners and many other special effects.  There are many of these programs, but some of them lack spell checkers and other powerful features that writers need.   Check the features and also whether they will import and export your favorite word processing files.  Once again be careful with the HTML title (see above sections).

IV. Cutting and Pasting: One of the simplest ways to convert cut and paste from one program to another.  Her is the procedure:

  1. Open a program which will create or edit the files you want to create.  For example if you want to create HTML files open a HTML editor such as the Front Page Editor, or if you do not have one a program of that type just open a text editor like notepad (start programs, accessories, notepad).   
  2. Make sure you have a new blank document open in it.  Unless you wish to include the text in an existing document, in which case you should open it.  Do not close this document or program!
  3. Using the start menu open the program which has the document you wish to convert, Microsoft Word, for example.  At this point you have 2 programs open!
  4. Open the document in this program you wish to convert.
  5. Select the text which you want to copy or convert, then click on copy, or go Edit Copy.
  6. Using your task bar click on the first program.
  7. Insert your mouse in the document in the second program where you wish the text to appear
  8. Click Paste, or Edit Paste.  Your text should now appear in this document.
  9. Save the new document
  10. If is is in notepad we may need to now follow the steps in I. above if we wish to convert this to html.  Most other programs now have a "Save as HTML" command or something similar which makes it a HTML file for us.
  11. Note:  If we take text from one document and paste it in another the fonts, formatting, etc. may or may not transfer.  Some times we want to loose the fonts, some times we do not.   Especially if you cut from MSWord into Front Page you may get conflicting font, heading and other commands.  Cutting from word or a Browser into a Text Only Program like Notepad removes any font and formatting commands.  As a result if you are creating HTML you may need to add them back.

V. Graphics:  Just remember word processing files include the graphic in the file itself.  It is a much a part of the document as the title, or paragraph 1, etc.  All parts are included in one file, for example myletter.doc is a word processing file which also may have graphics (logos, photos, etc.) included in it!  HTML files on the other hand just reference the graphic.  Even though the graphic is referenced in the HTML document it is not included in the html file, in the HTML code there is a pointer saying "display  this graphic, for example the HTML code might be:
"<img src="file:///c:/missinggraphic.jpg>" When you move the HTML file, mletter .html, If you do not also move the graphic and reference it properly the user will see an empty box where the graphic should be like the following:  This means the browser can not find the referenced graphic because it is on your computer or some other place it does not know how to locate!  When someone publishes your document they also must include all the graphics with it.  E.G. they copy mydoc.html to the web, along with mygraphics1.jpg, mygraphics2.jpg, etc.  When sending a word processing file such as an RTF the graphic is inside the file, so you need only send one file.  However when you send an Html file you must also send any included (referenced) graphics along with it.  For example if "mystory.html" includes the graphic "myphoto.jpg", when forwarding "mystory.html" you must also forward "myphoto.jpg"!   This goes for any lines used as dividers, graphics used as buttons, bullets, etc!  

VI. Graphics Size and File sizes: When you are viewing a file on a modern fast computer it will still take some time to load.  But since most people's connections to the web are much slower than your local hard drive (where your document is stored), it will take much longer to pull up the same document.  As a result sometimes you must change the way you write your documents.  It is fine to have a 20 page text file on a PC, but totally unacceptable on the web.  As a result you may need to change the long documents into many smaller documents all linked together by a common table of contents.  Any file larger than 60K, including graphics is too large and it should be modified or broken into parts.  Furthermore you may have to redo graphics yourselves to make them suitable for the web.  Graphics should be no larger than 30,000 bytes.  However you may make small versions which reference larger graphics if you really need to display the Mona Lisa or something else which can not be represented in a small file.  Some programs such as MS Front Page will do this for you with functions like the "Thumbnail"  Basically it is a small thumbnail image of the larger image.  Since the thumbnail may only be a few thousand bytes it loads rapidly and does not annoy the readers.  Those that really want to see the large image can do so by pressing on it.  For example this thumbnail is only 1 kilobyte (1,000 bytes) colmtfog95.jpg (61958 bytes) and it loads in seconds.   

Press on photo to see full sized.  Then press back on your browser to return to this document.

The main file is 61 kilobytes, and would take up to 30 seconds to load.   By including the prompt, press on photo to see full size I do not slow the reader down and annoy him!

Home Up Attached Files&Email Converting to HTML ZipFiles Exchanging files PHOTOS & GRAPHICS PCSupportTips

Home Attached Files&Email Converting to HTML ZipFiles Exchanging files PHOTOS & GRAPHICS PCSupportTips