HTML (.htm or .html)
This is the ideal format for documents on the web because it does not
require any additional software or plug-in. If you have a document that
you want people to read on the web, this is your best choice. Also, if
you want to have hyperlinks in your document, this format has proven to
be much less of a hassle than putting hyperlinks in a Word document.
But electronic publication is different from hard copy publication.
If you have a Web page written in HTML that looks perfect on your computer,
the same page may look very different on others' computer. For example,
fonts can be difficult to control with HTML files. If the end-user does
not have the same font you have or the end-user's browser settings have
different font size as default, your web page will appear very different
on their computers.
More than that, as a teacher trying to maintain your website, using
links to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files may be the easiest alternative.
This involves creating a link that will open your file when a student clicks
on it. Using your documents in this way allows for easy upkeep because
all you have to do is replace the file in your UNIX account, rather than
update any HTML pages.
On the other hand, most PowerPoint presentations are too large for a
regular user to download. Saving As HTML breaks the presentation up into
small parts and allows any user to view it without problems. Many users
do not have PowerPoint 97 and would not be able to open the document unless
they had the PowerPoint reader (a plug-in).
Another alternative is to use PDF (Portable Document File) format.
This format incorporates more information about the creator's display environment
(font, font size, spacing, special formatting information) into the file
itself. This makes PDF files larger than HTML files, but PDF files look
very consistent across different computers and across platforms (Windows
or Mac or UNIX). Unlike image files, PDF files are all scalable, meaning
that you can enlarge (or reduce) the files and the resolution will be automatically
adjusted for the best possible display.
A PDF file is a picture of your document. It cannot be edited once it
is created. It requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader to view. This is usually
used to distribute documents on the web that have a great deal of formatting
and do not convert well to HTML. This format is sometimes preferred over
leaving a document as a Word document because it is more likely that a
user has Acrobat Reader (since it is widely distributed and free) than
it is that they have the newest version of Microsoft Word or the Word Viewer.
This format is also used for documents that have never been electronic.
You can scan a paper document and save it directly as a PDF document.
Common Problems Word, Excel and
Adobe PDF Solutions
Recipients can't open files because they don't have the applications
used to create the documents.
Anyone, anywhere can open a PDF file. All you need is free Acrobat
Formatting, fonts, and graphics are lost because of
platform, software, and version incompatibilities.
PDF files always display exactly as created,
regardless of fonts, software, and operating systems.
Documents don't print correctly because of software or printer limitations.
PDF files will print correctly on any printing
Content in existing documents can't be repurposed for other uses because
of formatting problems.
Content in PDF documents can be saved in Rich Text Format and reused
in other applications.
Documents with complex formatting are not accessible to visually impaired
Tagged PDF files contain information on content and
structure, which make them accessible with the help of screen readers.
Creating HTML Files
When creating webpages, you must decide whether to use a tool or to
write the page in html using a text editor. There are both advantages
and disadvantages to using tools and text editors for developing HTML.
Using a tool (Netscape Composer, FrontPage, Dreamweaver) allows you
to see the page as it is created. It is easy to set specific colors
and fonts and to insert and size objects. With a tool, the developer
does not need to know HTML. However, using tools can create many
problems. Fonts and sizes are not always consistent. Properties
set on the page may not always carry over to the internet the way you see
them on that page. Also, some tools do not allow forms to be created.
Despite these problems, using a tool might be the easiest method for an
HTML novice to create HTML files because it is visual and there is no need
for experience in HTML.
You may also choose to develop your HTML with a text editor (Notepad).
There are several advantages to using a text editor. Setting font
color, size, and weight, along with table and background specifications
for the entire site is possible using style sheets. It is also easier
to incorporate java script into the HTML when using a text editor.
The drawbacks to using HTML are that is can be hard to read, there is more
room to make mistakes, and the developer cannot see the page as they are
coding the HTML.
"How to" Links