Options for HTML Formatting of CPR text

Created by Steve Verhey
(Formerly of the Biology Department at Central Washington University)

Formatting text directly using HTML (hypertext markup language) is not difficult.  Because HTML makes up a large part of the technical foundation for our civilization, it is a useful thing to have a working knowledge of.  Immediately below is a description of simple HTML commands.  If you'd like to skip directly to a description of how to use Microsoft Word to do HTML formatting, click here .  Just remember, if you get confused with the MS Word approach, using the commands directly is easier. It is also possible to use web authoring software such as Netscape Communicator (which you may be using to read this very web page), or any other similar software.  A description of how to do this is given at the bottom of this page.

One thing that you may not be aware of is that when looking at any web page you can choose View>Page Source from the browser menu bar to see the HTML coding for that page.  This works with any web page, including this one -- try it! When you do, you'll see the actual HTML language that tells your browser how to format the web page for viewing.

Do it yourself HTML formatting

In order to be displayed correctly by CPR, your text must be formatted using HTML tags.  Basic HTML is quite simple:  most formatting is done using tags in begin-end pairs, one before and one after the text to be formatted.  For example, to make a word <b>bold</b>, you would type <b> before the target word and </b> after the target word -- the / marks the end tag.  Here is a list of common formatting tags and their meanings:

Headings can be made using tags, too:

h1 for Heading 1

all the way to h6, for Heading 6
Remember, each of these tags must be surrounded by pointy brackets: < >, and the end of the tagged word or phrase signalled by a slash: /. Case doesn't matter for tags -- either uppercase or lowercase will do.

There are a few tags that need not be used in pairs:  <p> for paragraph (a doublespaced line), <br> for break (a single new line), and <hr> for horizontal rule, used to divide some sections.

So something coded like this:

<hr> Here's the first sentence.<p> Here's <br> the second sentence. <hr>

Would look like this:

Here's the first sentence.

the second sentence.

That's all you really need to know (and a little you don't really need to know) to format documents using HTML. It's easy and fun!

Be sure to preview your text frequently (click the "preview text" button in CPR), and especially before submitting it, to make sure it looks right.  If it looks strange, chances are you've got an incorrect HTML tag in there somewhere.

For more HTML information than you could ever want, see The 15-minute Class: How to Write Web Pages in HTML for an example of the many web pages on the topic.

Do you want to know how to make a link?  The HTML for the link in the previous paragraph looks like this:

<a href="http://www.gorin.com/class"> The 15-minute Class: How to Write Web Pages in HTML</a>.
In this case the begin-end tag pair is <a href> and </a>.  All text between the tags is highlighted as the link in the working web page, and the URL to which the link connects goes after the equals sign and between quotation marks inside the beginning tag.

HTML formatting with MS Word

So you've considered learning a little HTML but have decided to use MS Word (MSW) to do your formatting for you.  Before deciding once and for all to use MSW for this task, be sure to review the third option, described below.

OK, now you've really decided to go through with this.  If so, this protocol should work:

  1. Write and format your text in the usual way using MSW
  2. Save your document in the usual way (so you'll have a backup copy after doing the next step)
  3. Choose File>Save As HTML
  4. Give your file a name with a .html suffix, to differentiate it from the original MSW text version
  5. Choose View>HTML Source, which will open a window containing your text plus all that confusing HTML stuff
  6. Select all of the text in this new window, copy it, and paste it into the text entry box in CPR.
  7. Preview your text to make sure it looks the way you want it to look
  8. Save your text in CPR
  9. If this doesn't work, seriously consider do-it-yourself HTML formatting (see above).

HTML formatting with Netscape Composer

You may not be aware of this, but if you are using Netscape Communicator to view this web page, you also have access to web authoring software called Netscape Composer.  There are numerous more efficient and complicated (not to mention expensive) programs available, but Composer is easy to use and free, and some say it works better than MS Word.  One big advantage of this approach is the ease with which you can imbed links into your text.
  1. With Netscape up and running (which, as I say, may be right now), choose File>New>Blank Page
  2. A new window that is your blank page opens.  You will use this window like a word processor to enter your text
  3. Note the tool buttons across the top of the window -- you use these to format your text, and to enter links, if desired.
  4. At any time you can choose View>Page Source to see the HTML coding of your document.  You can also click on the little steering wheel to see what your document will look like online.
  5. As usual with software that is new to you, play around with the various buttons and menus until you've got your text looking the way you want it to.
  6. Periodically as you work, and once you've finished with your text, choose File>Save.  This saves your document in HTML format.
  7. Once you've finished with your text, choose View>Page Source to see the HTML coding of your document
  8. Select all of the text in the Page Source window, copy it, and paste it into the text entry box in CPR
  9. Preview your text to make sure it looks the way you want it to
  10. Save your text in CPR