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Setting Up Your Files

You can save your HTML files in Word 2003 as quickly and easily as you can tuck extra cash behind that loose stone in the fireplace. In fact, Word is a very well-behaved HTML repository.

Begin by using the File, Save As command and selecting the file type called Web Page from the drop-down menu. That list includes two other web choices: Web Page, Filtered and Single File Web Page. You'll save your files as Web Page, Filtered just before you post them to the web because Word will scrub out a lot of extraneous code and make the file smaller. You could also choose to save web files as a Single File Web Page, which will save your work as an MHTML file. In such files, the graphic content is saved with the text in a single web page. But because not all browsers support MHTML, we'll be using HTML files for now.

Create a new folder called webdev, where you'll store everything that goes on your web site. This technique will keep all the files in a single spot until you're ready to post. Notice that all the letters are lowercase. I use lowercase for every filename and folder name relating to a web site. Doing anything else is asking for trouble because it's so easy to introduce a capital letter in one place and leave it out in another—frequently not a problem until you try to publish out to the web. Take my word for it; a UNIX web server will fold its arms and refuse to listen to you if you change images to Images just once.

Speaking of images, the traditional plan for web files is to include a folder inside of webdev called either images or graphics, wherein you store every graphic for your web site, referencing the proper one on each web page as needed. However, Word will keep track of your graphics for you, so you don't have to create this separate folder. Just paste in the pics.

Here's how it works—and I'm not saying the method is elegant, but it's mighty easy for the web builder. When you save your page as a web file, Word coughs out all the graphics into a separate folder. If you open that folder, you'll see that Word has given your drawings and photos catchy titles like Image001 and Image002. Each time your browser builds the page, it will go out and grab the right graphic for you, putting it in the right spot.

Now, this may never be an issue if you only have a six-page web site, but with any further complexity, you'll want to change your image names to something easier to recognize, like couple_at_table.gif or girl_w_pearl_earring.jpg. At the same time, you'd probably want to follow convention and dump all the graphic material in a single folder called images or graphics. Remember to go back into the HTML code for your page (View, HTML Source), search for the old image name, and update the folder/image name there as well.

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