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The Two Hour Web Site: Build It in Microsoft Word 2003

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You need a simple Web site, but you're no programmer. And you don't want to pay a bundle to get someone else to do it for you. Well, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you already own a tool to make it quick and easy: Microsoft Word. No, seriously! Laurie Rowell walks you step by step through the process to create a basic six-page site with Word, in under two hours.
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I was originally pretty skeptical about building web pages in Word. With so many great tools on the market for putting up a site, I thought using Word for that purpose would be like sweeping the floor with a trowel or driving a car with tongs. Turned out it was easier and more practical than I'd thought. In fact, if you have a small informational site to post, this might be a great, quick way to get your message out. If you have limited web skills (or none), but really understand Word, you should love this approach.

Even those who routinely use other tools for web construction might use Word's web features some of the time—particularly to storyboard. I've never slapped designs together faster—and Word obligingly checked my content for errors.

So here's the plan: I'll whip through how to create a little six-page site, and at the end, you'll be able to put one together in Word in under two hours, or I'm a failure.

Gathering Ingredients

There are three big steps to actual web publication:

  1. Gathering the information (both textual and graphical).
  2. Building the site.
  3. Posting the site.

I'm only going into detail on step 2, and my two-hour estimate only applies to that step. I'll assume that you know better than I do what you want to say, and you'll probably sign up with an ISP who provides a solid and easy user interface for you to do your actual publishing to the web.

That said, here are the kinds of raw materials you'll need to gather. You can put them together first, or do as many web designers do: Use placeholders until you write the text and locate the graphics. To build the whole site you'd need the following:

  • Text.
  • Graphics in a web-supported file format such as GIF or JPEG. If you're designing first and building later, you can use Word's clip art feature for placeholders.
  • An email address where you'll feel comfortable receiving mail from people who contact you through your site.

Got stuff to fake it with right now? Super. Let's get going.

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