One of the reasons you should consider using Office to create Web pages is that you already have the Office tools. Office offers several templates that you can use to create your Web pages. Nevertheless, Office is not necessarily the best tool you can use to create Web pages. Office offers good tools with which you can create and maintain a Web page. If your Web page generates a lot of interest, however, you might want to use a more specific tool for Web-page creation such as Microsoft FrontPage and Internet Explorer. FrontPage is to Web pages what Access is to databases; FrontPage offers specific Web-page tools that create advanced Web pages with very little effort on your part.
All the Web- related aspects of Office support both the Internet and intranets . Therefore, if your company maintains an intranet (which is an in-company Web site viewed only from computers on your company's network), you can save Web pages to that intranet as easily (and sometimes more easily) as on the Internet.
Each of the following sections describes how you can use Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint to generate Web-page information. If you connect to your Web server with your PC, you can offer live content on the Internet. In other words, as soon as you update your database, viewers of your Web site who access that database see the updated values.
Word and Web Pages
You can create Web pages with Word, although FrontPage and Publisher give you far more design tools to do the job.
Saving Word Documents as Web Pages
One of the easiest ways to create a Web page from a Word document is to save the document in HTML format . Suppose you create a company report that you want to publish on your Web server. All you have to do is select File, Save As Web Page and then click OK. Word then saves the file in an HTML Web page-compatible format that you then can transfer to the Web server. The Web page will have the extension .mhtml , which your browser can read as an HTML page.
You can view your document from the Internet Explorer Web browser by selecting File, Web Page Preview. By viewing the document from the Web browser, you see how your Web page will appear to other Internet users. The format will differ slightly from the document in its native Word format ( especially italicized fonts).
Figure 22.1 shows a Word editing session for a rather complex Web page. Figure 22.2 shows how that same Web page looks when viewed from Internet Explorer when you select from Word's File, Web Page Preview menu option. The lines and other editing marks inside the Word document help distinguish the Web page's alignment and table cells that work together to form the final page.
Figure 22.1. When editing a Web page with Word, the page's alignment grids and other element marks show.
Figure 22.2. By viewing your document as a Web page, you learn how the document will look as a Web page.
When formatting your Web page, keep your end user in mind and write for the largest audience possible. You can select a fancy font for your Web page text. If you stick with the standard fonts that come with Windows (such as Courier, Times New Roman, and Arial), however, you ensure that all viewers of your Web page will have those same fonts and the page will look the way you intend for it to look on their browsers.
Remember that Web pages are often colorful . Color fonts can spruce up a Web page dramatically as long as you don't overdo the colors. Use the toolbar's Font Color button to select a new font color quickly.
Using a Word Template to Create a Web Page
If you want to use a Word template to create a Web page, select File, New. From the New Document task pane's Templates section, select On My Computer. The Templates window appears, as shown in Figure 22.4. Click the Web Page icon and then OK to start the Web page document.
Figure 22.4. Word can generate a blank Web page for you.
If you first apply a theme to your Web page document, your headers, link bars (an area of your Web page that links to other pages on your site and other sites), headings, text, colors, horizontal lines, and borders all take on a uniform look. To apply a theme, select Format, Theme. The Theme window appears from which you can select a theme for your Web, such as the Willow theme shown in Figure 22.5.
Figure 22.5. Word offers several themes for your Web pages.
After you create the basic design for your Web page in Word, save the page. Word automatically adds a Web page filename extension to your document so you can view the document in a Web browser.
Now that you have seen how to use Word to create Web pages, you already know a lot about how the other Office products create Web pages. Many of the Web-page features in the other Office products work the same way as in Word. You can save an Excel worksheet as a Web page, for example. When saving Office documents as Web pages, most of the formatting and editing features you get with the products' native formats remain . In other words, an Excel worksheet that you save as a Web page contains all the same elements that the worksheet contains when you save that worksheet as an Excel file with the normal worksheet extension, .xls . Revision markings do not appear in Web pages, but all other Office document elements do appear in the Web page.
The remaining sections build on your knowledge of using Word and the Web by showing you how Excel, PowerPoint, and Access also support the Web.
Excel and Web Pages
Excel supports most of the same Web features that Word does, including the capability to save worksheets in the HTML format. After you create the worksheet, select File, Save As Web Page to save the worksheet in a format readable to any browser.
In addition to the Web-based HTML format, Excel also supports the Web toolbar that you can display by selecting View, Toolbars, Web. From that toolbar, you can select other Office documents to display and edit within Excel as well as enter an Internet Web site address to view. All Office products support the Web toolbar, and you can display any document from Internet Explorer (the browser engine used by all Office products when you work with Web-based objects and pages). Because of these two facts, all Office products enable you to view any of the other Office products' documents or any Web page just by typing that document or Web-page address in the address text box of the Web toolbar.
If your company stores worksheets on the Internet or on an intranet, the File, Open option in Excel can open those worksheets. When you select File, Open and then enter the URL and filename, such as http://www.mycompany.org/accts.xls , Excel opens that worksheet. (Excel launches the Internet Log On dialog box if you are not already logged on to the Internet.)
If you type a hyperlink Web address or a hyperlink to another Office document in an Excel cell , Excel takes you to that document and displays the Web toolbar automatically (if the toolbar is not already displayed). When you click the Web toolbar's Back button, Excel takes you to the preceding Web page.
Access and Web Pages
Access supports hyperlinks in its database forms, reports , and fields in datasheets . Access supports Word, PowerPoint, Excel, as well as Internet or intranet hyperlinks. In addition to other documents, the hyperlink can point to other Access tables, forms, and reports.
Obviously, a hyperlink is not active when it appears in a printed report or onscreen in Preview mode. If you import the report into a Word document, Excel worksheet, or an HTML page, however, the hyperlink is active.
The Hyperlink data type is one of the Access data types that you can designate as you create your table (shown in Figure 22.6).
Figure 22.6. Access offers the data type when you design your tables.
As you know, Access databases contain several objects, tables, forms, reports, and queries. A simple File, Save As Web Page option cannot, without more information, determine exactly how you want to export the objects to the HTML document. You could use such an option for the other Office documents because they had fewer objects than an Access database. Therefore, to save a table or other object to its own Web page, select File, Save As and select Data Access Page for the type of file to save. Access stores the object as a Web page using the HTML format.
PowerPoint and Web Pages
When you save a PowerPoint presentation as a Web page, PowerPoint presents you with the Save As dialog box and a Publish button that, when you click it, produces the dialog box shown in Figure 22.7. The dialog box determines how your presentation appears over the Internet when a remote site displays the presentation's Web page. If you don't click Publish, PowerPoint saves the document with a Web page filename extension, and your Web browser can read it.
Figure 22.7. The Publish as Web Page dialog box determines how your presentation will appear on the Internet.
PowerPoint actually lends itself well for Internet presentations. When generating a presentation for display on the Internet, keep your graphics to a minimum so that the slides load quickly inside the user's browser. The user can control the presentation by clicking the mouse or pressing PageDown.