Front Page 101
Common Tasks For Microsoft Front Page 1.1/'97

Dallas Hodgson - 11-07-97
Rev 1.42

Explorer Tasks Editor Tasks Questions Tips


 Common Front Page Explorer Tasks

Opening a Site

In Front Page's Explorer, File|Open Web. Enter "" in the Web Server box. Click List Webs. Hit OK to select the <Root Web>. If you're looking for the class site, use port 307. Answer the Name & Password dialog if requested, be aware it's case sensitive.

Locating a Page Directly If You Already Know Its Name Or Title

Once the site's database has loaded in, (this can be several hundred K) click the Summary View icon in the Explorer's toolbar. When the graphics link view has been replaced by a list of common filenames and titles, select the desired item and RMB. Select "Find Item In Outline". This will locate the item in the Windows Explorer-type hierarchy in the Outline View. Then click the "Link View" item to return to a graphical view. The root page for the site is a good place to start.

Note that you sort the list in Summary View by clicking on the desired field. You can also drag the vertical bars of those fields around for more detail.

Leaving Or Viewing a "To Do" Note For Yourself Or Someone Else

Click the "To Do" list in the Toolbar in the Explorer or the Editor.

Seeing What Links A Document Points To

Single-click it in the Link View

Centering a Document in the Link View

RMB on an object and select "Move To Center".

Opening a File For Editing

Double-click on any .HTM document, most often done in the Summary View window in Link View.

Making The Link View More Readable

Turn off the Links To Images, Repeated Links and Links Inside Page toolbar items to display just the most important item - the incoming and outgoing links of a document

Viewing A File In Netscape Navigator

Select the file in Link View, then hit Alt-Enter for its Properties. Copy the URL's name to the Clipboard, and Paste it into Navigator. Or, open file up in the Editor and click on the "View in Browser" button.

Finding & Fixing Broken Links En Masse

Bring up Tools|Verify Links. This one's pretty easy to figure out. The "Edit Link" field will fix all bad references to that link in the entire site! You can also add a an auto-entry in the "To Do" list here if you want someone else to fix it.

Rebuilding The Graphical Link Database & Search Engine Text

Bring up Tools|Recalculate Hyperlinks. This will bring the Graphical view up to date with what's on the server, important if other people are FTP'ing files in without Front Page's knowledge. It also updates the fast search database used by the Site Search "bot". It doesn't hurt to do this at the end of every session.

Toggling Between the Editor and the Explorer

There's icons in the toolbar of both tools for this.


Common Front Page Editor Tasks 

Adding a New Page to the Site

Select File|New Page in the Editor. Select the "Normal Page" wizard. It'll become a real part of the site as soon as you have saved it and established a link to it in some other page. If you've already got a page open, you can create the link at the same time you create the new page by creating a "New Page" link with the Link toolbar item. You can also create an "instant link" to a page by dragging an object from the Explorer’s Link View onto an open page in the Editor.

Modifying the Properties of an Object

Almost anything editable is an object with Properties. Click on it it and hit Alt-Enter, or RMB it and select Properties. The Page itself also has properties (like background color), as do Links.

Changing the Style, Size, Color, Alignment or Indent of Text

There's gadgets for this in the Toolbar. In FP '97, you can clear selected text properties with Ctrl-Space.

Creating Blinking Text, Subscript, Weird Font Sizes & Other Special Styles

Use the Format|Characters command. Not all browsers support this.

Changing Paragraph Styles

Format|Paragraph is easier than emulating this feature by hand

Creating Numbered/Bulleted Lists and Tables

There's gadgets for this in the Toolbar. These can be nested. Many operations can be done on tables, including adding, copying and moving between rows and/or columns.

Inserting Fancy Stuff, like Images, Horizontal Lines, Or Bots

Look in the approriate menu items. Note that Horizontal Lines, like everything else, have Properties (like length).

Creating Or Modifying A Link

Select a linkable object (such as text, pictures, or an existing link) and click the Link item in the Toolbar. Most of the time, you'll be making links with the Current Web

Creating An Anchor Inside A Page

The Editor calls anchors "Bookmarks". Use the Edit|Bookmark (Ctrl-G) command. In most regards, these operate just like normal Links. Unlike links, the only anchor points that appear in the drop-down list of the Link tool are from those pages that are currently open in the Editor.

Walking links in the Editor like a Browser

Hover the mouse pointer over any link and Ctrl-click the link. The Editor will load in the page pointed to by the link.

Creating Images With Hotspot Links (Imagemaps)

Insert the image, then draw the hotspots on it with the drawing tools (Rectangle, Circle, Polygon). Click the Highlight Hotspots toolbar gadget to see them clearly. Edit the hotspots as you would any other type of link.

Creating Transparency In Images

Select the Magic Wand tool and click the color on the image that you wish transparent. The GIF will be converted when you save the document. This is a destructive operation, so be careful. You will be given a chance to rename the GIF if you so choose upon saving. JPEG’s cannot be made transparent - Front Page will ask you if you want to convert it to a GIF.

Creating Frames

Use the File|New Frames Wizard for this. In FrontPage '98 this gets easier and more WYSIWYG.

Creating Forms

You can do this the with the button & form gadgets, or you can use one of the convenient Form Bots. The Bots append each user’s form results to a file on the server that you specify, in a variety of formats including HTML. Alternatively, you can process the form with a CGI script or via email. For the latter, set the Form Handler to "Custom CGI Script", Method to POST, and action to mailto:address@address.whatever

Inserting custom HTML code for things like comments & unsupported tags.

Insert an HTML Marker Bot for this. The Annotation bot may be a better way to do HTML comments, as these show up in the Editor - but not in browsers who view the HTML source. Comments show up as a "!" gadget, all others as a "?".

Opening a file from somewhere (anywhere) on the Internet

Use File|Open Location

Opening any of the documents in the current Site from by title

Use File|Open Web and pick it from a drop-down list.

Saving the current document locally on my hard disk

Use File|Save As. Also, you can use the "Export Selected" command in Explorer. You will be asked if you wish to save the images it contains, as well.

Creating a Template

Edit a page as you like, then Save As…|As Template. Henceforth, this file will be added to this list of Templates to choose from when you select File|New. Templates are stored in the Pages directory of the Front Page program itself.

Copying a file from the old site to the new one

Open the file on the old site with Open Location, the File|Save it to the new site. Under no circumstances use the Explorer's Copy Web command - in this version, it can only copy -entire- sites. There's no drag 'n drop between sites in this version of Explorer. However, you can use this command to download the site to your local machine if you wish.

Common Questions

What if I can't delete a picture?

If you can't Delete a selected object, use the Edit|Clear command. I think it's a bug.

I'm having trouble clicking between two adjacent images (or tables, etc)...

View the HTML source and add some dummy text like "asdf" between the two <IMG> tags. Close the window. You will now have enough space to edit between the images.

I can't get my text to flow correctly around my pictures.

Use Insert|Line Breaks and pick the right one for the job.

I can't get my pictures to position where I want 'em.

Alt-Enter the picture and tweak its Properties. You may have to cut 'n paste a picture a couple of times until you get its position just right.

I need more control over item spacing.

Remember that you can always use "&nbsp;" (the HTML non-breakable space) for padding. If this doesn't work, there's always invisible spacer graphics. Check Item Properties - tables cells, for instance, have attributes for this.

 How can I make my graphics load faster?

Don’t use interlaced graphics for your backgrounds. Convert GIF’s to indexed color, adaptive palette w/no dither in Photoshop with the smallest size & bit depth that still looks good. If your image is paletted, you may save a little space by converting to RGB and back in order to eliminate unused palette entries.

I've created a list, and I can't terminate it

End your list with Ctrl-Enter. Lists (and tables!) can be nested. In FP '97, just <Enter> twice in a row.

I can’t make my frames go away when I want them to.

Make sure your link’s target window is set to "_top" in its Link Properties.

Can I create a Web on my local machine and later export it to the site?

Yes, but make sure you set up your local Web to mirror the site’s layout exactly or your links will be pointing to the wrong place.

What's the easiest way to duplicate a Font used on the site?

Download & run the shareware "Fonter" utility to print out samples of every font currently on your PC. If you still can't find a substitute, hit your computer store and grab a CD-ROM of public domain fonts.

Can I save to any directory on the site?

FrontPage will let you save pages to any directory in the current Web provided the directory already exists.

How Useful is Cut & Paste?

Very, because these work with in the Editor with full object knowledge. If you cut or copy a link or image to the clipboard, it will paste back with all of its object Properties intact.

Can Multiple Users edit at the same time?

Front Page will warn you if someone is overwriting a page that someone else has edited since you began working on your copy. The ToDo task list can help coordinate edits between users.

I want to make global changes to an entire site. Can I use Front Page?

Front Page 1.1 works great for making global changes to links, but that’s it. Use FrontPage '97 for performing search 'n replace across multiple pages. Shareware tools like XReplace can be used for brute-force modifications.

How does this all actually work?

Front Page performs all read, write and administrative operations by communicating with the Front Page Server Extensions on the Web server. This is essentially an extra set of HTTP commands added for Front Page's benefit. Hence, when you "save" or "load" a file, it's all done through the same Web mechanism that browsers use, so you never worry about things like directory names & disk partitions. If you want to know more than this, ask me.


Tips ‘n Tricks


I want several documents to share the same background color graphic.

Use Page Properties and use the "Get Background and Colors From Page" feature.

 I want several documents to include a standard disclaimer.

Use the Include bot and save the disclaimer part as a separate file. A recommended place for these is in the "_private" directory.

I want to hide some files in a directory where FrontPage won’t find ‘em.

Except for the "_private" directory, directories beginning with underscores are ignored by the FrontPage Explorer.

How can I find orphan files?

Hunt for them in the Outline view of the Explorer.

I want to make my pages run in a separate copy of Netscape.

Use the "_blank" anchor tag extension in your links. When clicked, the pages will come up in a new copy of Netscape.

How can I animate my images?

The easiest way is to use the Animated GIF format (Netscape 2 & later) to add sparkle to your page; it’s a lot easier than client pull or server push! Alchemy Mindworks as a great shareware tool called GIFCON for this, but Ulead's GIF Animator is even better. Check out Royal Frazier’s site

How can I add sound?

Import a .WAV file and have a link point to it. Internet Explorer 3.0 supports the proprietary "BGSOUND" tag for loading & looping background sounds. <BGSOUND SRC="1khz.wav" LOOP=30> Netscape 2.0 only supported a clumsy client-pull method (<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="1; URL=mysound.wav"> but 3.0 allows you to use: <embed src="mysound.wav" hidden=true autostart=true>. I prefer the "invisible plugin" method, which works fine with both browsers:

<embed src="sounds/carib2.mid" hidden="true" align="baseline" border="0" width="51" height="15" autostart="true" controls="smallconsole" loop="true">

How about newspaper columns? Tabs?

Netscape 3.0 only supports an automatic newspaper column feature, that looks like this: <MULTICOL COLS=2 GUTTER=5>. Surround your text with this tag. You can fake this with tables. Netscape supports a tabs feature too, but FrontPage doesn't recognize it.

Scrolling Marquees?

Internet Explorer Only:


Custom Fonts?

Internet Explorer Only:

<FONT FACE="Arial, Helvetica" SIZE=1>). This is easier in FP '97.

I want to edit raw HTML.

You can view it, and insert it with the HTML Markup bot, and edit the HTML that FrontPage doesn’t recognize (the ‘?’ and ‘!’ markers) but that’s it. FrontPage ’97 has this feature.

What’s in FrontPage ‘97?

The ability to edit raw HTML, Java & Active X support, support for Netscape plug-ins, cross Web search & replace (!), support for Netscape’s Secure Sockets layer, newer HTML tags, a much better Explorer & a Photoshop-type tool (Microsoft Image Composer).

I need more help!

There's full online docs & tutorials in the Help menu. If you want a good task-centric reference book, I recommend "Laura Lemay's Web Workshop - Microsoft Front Page", SAMS books. Additionally, there is the Microsoft "Introducing Microsoft Front Page" publications, which aren't much more than a dialog by dialog walk through the whole product. Barnes & Noble on Kendall Ave is packed with Net books.

Any Newsgroups?

On Microsoft’s news server ( :


 Anything Else?

Be sure and test your site with at least Netscape & Internet Explorer. Consider adding ALT text to every image for people who surf with images turned off, and make sure there’s a text equivalent for every imagemap-based hotlink. Check out Carl Cashian’s "How Do They Do That With HTML?" page often for all the tricks: