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HTML Information

Add headings and paragraphs

If you have used Microsoft Word, you will be familiar with the built in styles for headings of differing importance. In HTML there are six levels of headings. H1 is the most important, H2 is slightly less important, and so on down to H6, the least important.

Here is how to add an important heading:

An important heading

and here is a slightly less important heading:

A slightly less important heading

Each paragraph you write should start with a

tag. The

is optional, unlike the end tags for elements like headings. For example:

This is the first paragraph.

This is the second paragraph.

Adding a bit of emphasis

You can emphasize one or more words with the tag, for instance:

This is a really interesting topic!

Adding interest to your pages with images

Images can be used to make your Web pages distinctive and greatly help to get your message across. The simple way to add an image is using the tag. Let's assume you have an image file called "peter.jpg" in the same folder/directory as your HTML file. It is 200 pixels wide by 150 pixels high.

The src attribute names the image file. The width and height aren't strictly necessary but help to speed the display of your Web page. Something is still missing! People who can't see the image need a description they can read in its absence. You can add a short description as follows:

My friend Peter

The alt attribute is used to give the short description, in this case "My friend Peter". For complex images, you may need to also give a longer description. Assuming this has been written in the file "peter.html", you can add one as follows using the longdesc attribute:

My friend Peter

You can create images in a number of ways, for instance with a digital camera, by scanning an image in, or creating one with a painting or drawing program. Most browsers understand GIF and JPEG image formats, newer browsers also understand the PNG image format. To avoid long delays while the image is downloaded over the network, you should avoid using large image files.

Generally speaking, JPEG is best for photographs and other smoothly varying images, while GIF and PNG are good for graphics art involving flat areas of color, lines and text. All three formats support options for progressive rendering where a crude version of the image is sent first and progressively refined.

Adding links to other pages

What makes the Web so effective is the ability to define links from one page to another, and to follow links at the click of a button. A single click can take you right across the world!

Links are defined with the tag. Lets define a link to the page defined in the file "peter.html":

This a link to Peter's page.

The text between the and the is used as the caption for the link. It is common for the caption to be in blue underlined text.

To link to a page on another Web site you need to give the full Web address (commonly called a URL), for instance to link to you need to write:

This is a link to W3C.

You can turn an image into a hypertext link, for example, the following allows you to click on the company logo to get to the home page:

home page

Three kinds of lists

HTML supports three kinds of lists. The first kind is a bulletted list, often called an unordered list. It uses the

  • tags, for instance:

    • the first list item
    • the second list item
    • the third list item

    Note that you always need to end the list with the

end tag, but that the is optional and can be left off. The second kind of list is a numbered list, often called an ordered list. It uses the
  1. tags. For instance:

    1. the first list item
    2. the second list item
    3. the third list item

    Like bulletted lists, you always need to end the list with the

end tag, but the end tag is optional and can be left off.

The third and final kind of list is the definition list. This allows you to list terms and their definitions. This kind of list starts with a

tag and ends with
Each term starts with a
tag and each definition starts with a
. For instance:

the first term
its definition
the second term
its definition
the third term
its definition

The end tags and

are optional and can be left off. Note that lists can be nested, one within another. For instance:

  1. the first list item
  2. the second list item
    • first nested item
    • second nested item
  3. the third list item

You can also make use of paragraphs and headings etc. for longer list items.

Getting Further Information

W3C's Recommendation for HTML 4.0 is the authorative specification for HTML. However, it is a technical specification. For a less technical source of information you may want to purchase one of the many books on HTML, for example "Raggett on HTML 4", published 1998 by Addison Wesley.

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