Jan Leow's Press Blog

Web building using simple editors like Notepad or WordPad

There is no need to purchase a specialized web editor such as Office Frontpage, Dreamweaver, CoffeeCup HTML, etc. Here’s how one can save some precious dollars just using the Notepad or WordPad that came with your Windows OS.

HTML files are simply just text files with HTML tags that will tell the browser what to do. The tags will tell the browser how to display the content and how to treat the data accordingly. Since the files are simply text files, you could just use any text editors to start typing your code. Both the Notepad and WordPad could create text files easily, and you could rename the extension from txt to htm or html, the default extension for a browser file.

For many of you, the extension is hidden and you might not know what type of files you have save it as. Usually I like to see the file extension so that I will know what kind of file just by looking at the extension. So what I do is I disabled the “Hide extension of known file types” in the Folder Option. If you like to do the same, open your explorer window:

1) Goto Tools, a Folder Option dialog box will pop-up
2) Switch to the “View” tab
3) Scroll down the advance settings and uncheck the “Hide extension of known file types”

You should be able to see all the extension of all your files. Doing this also helps you to identify suspicious files sent via email. For example if someone tried to trick you to open a jpg file but in actual fact it was a .exe, .com or a .scr file masquerading as a .jpg you will know, because instead of seeing just .jpg, you now see it as .jpg.exe etc and straight away you know that attached file is a possible Trojan virus.

If you do not wish to enable the above, and prefer to have clean looking files, you have to make sure you save your files with the HTML extension by using “Save As…” and key in the full filename with the extension in enclosed quotes, eg “filename.html” to avoid your file being saved with a .txt extension and end up looking like “filename.html.txt” which is the PC or browser will identify as a text file and not a HTML file.

After creating your HTML file, to preview it, just click on the file and it will be open by your default browser. If you made any changes to the file later, just refresh the browser to see the updated file. If you do not see the changes when you refresh the webpage, It may be necessary to press control-F5 or control-refresh to force the browser to update the file being viewed rather than to read from its cache.

When doing coding, the HTML codes can get long and complicated and it becomes rather tiring to go through the coding just using Notepad or WordPad for editing. So you thought, maybe it is time to get a web building program? Well there is a freeware Notepad program called Notepad++, it is definitely a much improved version than the standard Notepad that came pre-installed with Windows. It has the ability to view your files in tab format much like Firefox and the newer IEs. Plus it can colour code the various HTML tags for easier navigating through the HTML codes. You can give it a try by downloading a copy at:


And of course finally, if you decided that it is too much of a hassle to keep switching between your text editor and refreshing your browser, then go for a proper webpage building software.

update: 15/Oct/2008

Here’s a nifty webpage building software, and the good news is, it is free! It’s called Komposer. You can give it a spin at this URL:



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