Vanilla HTML from Word

Subject: Vanilla HTML from Word
From: Jean Weber <jean -at- wrevenge -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 11:33:20 +1000

I should not write things from memory, because when I did a small test I discovered that it's even easier than I said in my last note to get vanilla HTML from Word, in situations where you do NOT want to carry over any formatting from Word to HTML.

BTW I use Word 97. I haven't tried this with Word 2000. I read somewhere recently (probably in Woody's Office Watch) that there is an update or patch or something to Office 2000 that stops all the XML junk going into HTML documents, but that's unlikely to be enough to keep out all the other junk.

The secret to keeping junk out of Word-HTML conversions is to not "convert" but to create a tile based on the HTML.DOT template which is supplied with Office 97 (at least it was in my copy). The easiest way to do this is to choose File > New which open the New dialog box that lists all the templates. On the Web Pages tab, choose Blank Web Page.

Make sure you use ONLY the H1, H2, H3 etc styles for headings (NOT Heading 1, Heading 2, etc) and Normal for everything else. For a list, first type the list items, then select all of them and click either the Number or Bullet button on the toolbar. For bold, italic, or underlined words or phrases, select the word or phrase and click the relevant toolbar button. Do NO manual font/character formatting except bold, italic, or underline. Do NO manual layout formatting at all. (I tried some simple tables and they worked fine; I haven't tested this method with complex tables yet.)

When you save the document, it is saved as an HTM file, not a DOC file. Open the HTM file in NotePad and you'll see it's clean (except for some META junk at the top of the file, easily stripped out).

Converting from an existing document also works, but it's often more fiddly and takes extra steps. The conversion attaches the HTML.DOT template, but I find that I usually then have to apply the correct styles (H1 in place of Heading 1 etc) and make sure everything else is tagged with the Normal paragraph style. Sometimes I have to fiddle with the Normal style (and sometimes the heading styles) to make sure they have no font or other attributes that are different from the Default Paragraph Style.

Regards, Jean
Jean Hollis Weber
mailto:jean -at- wrevenge -dot- com -dot- au
The Technical Editors' Eyrie

At 11:59 AM 17/01/01 +1000, Jean Weber wrote:

IF you create a minimalist template in Word and IF you can convince your contributors to use ONLY certain styles and NO layout fiddles, the conversion will be remarkably clean, needing minimal if any tidying-up before being used by your website developers, and it will NOT contain Microsoft-specific code.

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