Word is NOT a Web Design Tool

Microsoft Word is a good (if overly-complicated) word processor. And as I demonstrate here, it can sometimes even substitute for a professional design tool if you know a few tricks. But it should never, EVER be used for web design.

Never.

Really.

If you want to make a web designer cry, tell him/her that you built a website using Word’s Save as HTML feature.

Why?

Word writes very, very bad HTML. (HTML, in case you don’t know, is the coding language used to build web pages.) The web pages it produces are far larger than they should be (and therefore take more time to load), usually don’t work properly in browsers other than Internet Explorer, and use code so ridiculously complex and repetitive that it’s almost impossible for a human being to edit. And a human being will NEED to edit it, because eventually something will go wrong with your web page that you’re not able to fix on your own.

A Real World Example

A few months ago, a client sent me a website that they had developed in Word. It was approximately 16 screens full of instructions and screenshots, with a table of contents at the top.

The file contained 32,535 lines of code.

After I opened the file in Word, copied the content, pasted it into Dreamweaver (a web design tool) and did some reformatting, the file contained 321 lines of code.

Yes, the Word version was 100 times the size it should have been. And here’s an example of why:

Code for a header in the Word version:

code1

Code for the same header in the Dreamweaver version:

code2

Now to be fair, I’ve seen examples of Word HTML that weren’t nearly that bad — but I’ve yet to see one that was anywhere near good. So please, if you need a web page, either learn to build one in an actual web design tool or hire someone to build it for you.

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