Instructional Design and eTeaching Services - Boston College

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Word to HTML

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Preparing Word documents so they will convert well into HTML

There are a number of ways to format text in Word, and some of them convert much more faithfully into html than others.

AVOID the Following Features and Practices

  • Using spaces or tabs to indent the first line of a paragraph, to create hanging indents for all but the first line or for indenting entire paragraphs.
  • Hitting the Return or Enter key one or more times to create spaces between lines or paragraphs.
  • Headers, footers and footnotes (after converting the document, use an html editor to make links instead).
  • Page breaks and page numbering.
  • Special font faces, styles or sizes, and special characters (other than letters, numbers, hyphens and underscores).

These Features and Practices Convert Well

  • Regular body text, especially in 12 point font with universal font face such as Arial or Times New Roman.
  • Bold, italicized and underlined text.
  • Creating indents, line and paragraph breaks using the "paragraph" and "break" features of your word processor (in MS Word, see the Format and Insert menus).
  • Left justified text.

For long or multiple documents with formatting that is problematic but consistent, use the "Replace" feature from the "Edit" menu. Look for the "format" and "special" fields, which may be immediately visible or may be in the expanded "Replace" dialogue box. Check in these fields for features related to spacing, fonts, footnotes, etc.

If you aren't sure what sort of formatting is in place, you can make the formatting markers visible. On the standard toolbar, click on the paragraph sign to show them:

Paragraph Button

 If it appears easier to take out the formatting altogether and then reformat the text in an html editor, pull down the File menu and click on "Save as...." The field titled "Format" or "Save File as Type" will include a "Text Only" option. Select it and then click on "Save." Instructions for working with an html editor follow below.

Saving Word Documents as HTML

  1. With the document open in Word, pull down the File menu and select "Save as HTML," or "Save as Web Page."
  2. Browse to the appropriate location, name the file and save it as prompted.
  3. Open the file in your browser to make sure you are satisfied with the presentation.

Using an HTML Editor

Faculty members are eligible for a copy of Dreamweaver, the program recommended for complex formatting and extensive authoring in html. If your computer does not have Dreamweaver, contact your TC to arrange a download.

If you encounter difficulties or would like further information, please contact