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January 28th, 2004

Word’s HTML Stinks

Lately I’ve been dealing something I haven’t had to work with before: converting Word documents to HTML, using Word’s built-in “Save as Web Page” feature. I am here to tell you that it really, really, really stinks.

You may know this already. You may not. But I’m warning you: it stinks. Here’s why.

The code it creates is straight out of 1998. We’re talking tables everywhere, font tags everywhere, odd CSS classes everywhere, and the liberal use of non-breaking spaces to align things. A document I worked with recently had thirty (!) of these in a row. That’s just silly. I also enjoy how things such as smart quotes come over as gobbledygook for anyone not running Windows. That’s a treat.

Clearly, the Save as Web Page feature isn’t meant for honest-to-goodness web designers. It’s for people who will put a page in FrontPage and call it a day. I would say, “And that’s okay,” but the code is so unnecessarily bloated that it just isn’t.

Dean Allen of Textism has a Word HTML Cleaner available, and it’s free for documents up to 20K. Bookmark this. You’ll need it.

In the meantime, for you web gurus out there, do you work with this? Or do you recommend plain text?

Posted in Technology

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