Even though much of the marketing hype surrounding the release of Word 2000 makes it seem that Word is highly integrated with the Web and can produce great web pages, Word was not really designed to produce professional pages at all. There are other tools for this, if that’s what you’re after. Microsoft even makes one named FrontPage that is part of select Microsoft Office packages.
Instead, Word was designed to accomplish two somewhat related web design tasks:
It is meant to provide users a quick, easy way to put a Word document on the Web or on a company intranet as a web page and have it look just like a Word document.
It is also meant to provide a way for other users of Word to take a document from the Web, convert it back to a Word document, and retain all of the formatting of the original document. This technique has been dubbed “round-tripping” — to the Web and back.
Word does both of these things very well. In order to do them, though, the HTML that Word produces even when you mean to create a simple web page contains tons of formatting code that isn’t necessary for a traditional web page. This is why you’ll often hear web designers poke fun at Word, saying that it produces terrible or bloated HTML.
At the end of this chapter, I talk about some ways to clean up the HTML that Word produces if you insist on using Word as a web design tool. Before that, however, I’m going to cover some of the web tools Word provides for creating a page.