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As part of their hit on Netscape, Microsoft installs Internet Explorer as the default Web browser of the Windows operating system. In addition, users can now export Office files as Web pages. Under the hood, this new functionality was embedded with bloatware tags for the sole purpose of breaking in non-IE browsers. See for yourself:

  1. Create a new Excel or Word document
  2. Save your new document as a Web page (File/"Save as Web Page ...")
  3. Open the new .HTML version in a HTML editor (BBEdit, Dreamweaver, .NET, whatever)
  4. Gaze upon the extra tags, as shown in the example below:
comparision graphic of HTML as expressed by Microsoft Word vs standards-compliant markup

Tale of the Tape: Source view of HTML from a Microsoft Word document. On the left, markup generated by Word's "Save as Web Page ..." tool. On the right, the same content with minimal, standards-compliant markup.

The only tags needed for web browsers are TABLE (TH, TD, TR) or HTML elements (BODY, HEAD, H1 - H4, P, UL/OL - LI, B/STRONG, I/EM, etc.) Yet Microsoft decides to add of proprietary tags that only display well in IE. These tags are inserted in a manner that impedes global "find-and-delete" editing.

Thus, saving your content with the Office "Save as Web Page" tool doesn't keep your web development costs down. Instead, save your content as raw text (Note Pad will do), then let the web geeks worry about the HTML tags.


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