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HTML 4 For Dummies®: Quick Reference, 2nd Edition

HTML 4 For Dummies®: Quick Reference, 2nd Edition

Deborah S. Ray, Eric J. Ray

ISBN: 978-0-764-50721-2

Aug 2000

240 pages

Select type: Paperback

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No one can memorize the hundreds of HTML tags that make up the 4.01 standard. HTML 4 For Dummies Quick Reference, 2nd Edition provides a guide to all the updated HTML tags as well as easy-to-follow information on building HTML Web pages and sites and posting your work online. Unique to this Quick Reference is a full-color Cheat Sheet that displays 216 colors available for use on a Web page with HTML.
HTML 4: The Big Picture.

PART I: Creating an HTML Page.

PART II: Spinning Your HTML Web.

PART III: Using Images in Your Web Pages.

PART IV: Using Images for Linking.

PART V: Making Effective Web Pages.

PART VI: Setting Background and Text Characteristics.

PART VII: Serving HTML to the World.

PART VIII: Developing Forms.

PART IX: Framing Your Site.

PART X: Developing Style Sheets.

Appendix A: HTML Tags.

Appendix B: Special Symbols.

Appendix C: Cascading Style Sheet Reference.


Bonus Glossary

Glossary: Techie Talk

The Glossary contains an alphabetical listing of peculiar terms used throughout this book. At the end of each description is the number of the part in which you find more information about the word described. Typically, that part is not the only place you find the word, but it's the place where the word is discussed or defined in some detail.

absolute URL

The complete URL that gives all the information necessary to find a file or document on the Internet, including protocol type, system name, pathname, and filename. See also Uniform Resource Locator. See Part III.

alternative text

Text that's visible in place of images, if the browser can't display the images. See Part IV.

anchor (hot spot, hyperlink)

Used to indicate the part of a hypertext link that marks the hot spot (the part that users click). Also used to define an anchor by using the NAME= attribute for intradocument links. See Part III.


Part of an HTML tag that specifies additional information. <BODY>, for example, is a tag, and BGCOLOR=whatever is the attribute that goes within the brackets, such as <BODY BGCOLOR=whatever>. See Part II.


The software that you use to view HTML documents. A browser translates the tags into a display that's appropriate for your computer system (for example, <B> makes text bold). See Part I.

Cascading Style Sheet

A specific type of style sheet (and a standard from the World Wide Web Consortium) that helps Web page authors efficiently and easily format documents. See Part VIII.


Disregards the difference between uppercase and lowercase text. Case-insensitive software treats "HTML" and "html" as the same item. Case-sensitive software considers them to be two different words. See Part II.

cgi-bin directory

The directory in which server programs are usually stored on a server. Generally, only server administrators have the access needed to place files in this directory, but you should be able to use the files in the directory. See server. See Part VI.


Used within a form, checkboxes allow readers to select one or more of the available options. See Part VI.


A method of grouping similar information. Also a method of breaking large pieces of information into smaller, manageable pieces. See Part IX.

clickable image

See imagemap. See Part IV.

client-side imagemap

An imagemap controlled by the browser software. See Part IV.

closing tag

The second half of a paired HTML tag. The closing tag is exactly like the opening tag, except that it doesn't have attributes and it always starts with a slash (/). <HTML> is an opening tag, and </HTML> is a closing tag. See Part II.

complete URL

See absolute URL. See Part III.


A program that changes data from one format to another. In this book, a converter is usually a program that changes documents from a word-processing format (such as WordPerfect) into HTML. These converters are frequently built into or added to existing word-processing programs. See Part I.


A server program that tells how many people have accessed a specific HTML document. See Part VI.

defining (an imagemap)

Setting the parts of an image that link to other documents. See Part IV.


Displaying an image at a lower resolution than that at which the image was created. A photograph with millions of colors is dithered to display on a 256-color system. See Part IV.


To transfer a file from a server to your computer. (To transfer a file from your computer to the server is called uploading.) See Part IV.

dynamic information

Information or data on a Web page that changes (or should change) frequently, such as news or weather forecasts. See Part IX.

electronic document

A document that can be read or displayed on a computer -- as opposed to a book, which is a paper document. See Part I.

external link

Links away from the current HTML document to another document, possibly even elsewhere on the Internet. See Part III.


The name for a document on a computer. Most HTML documents have a filename plus an extension of .htm or .html. See Part III.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

An Internet file transfer program, based on TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), that's used to upload or download files. See Part I.

folder (also called a directory)

A depiction of a container (on a server or hard drive) that holds files. See Part III.


The parts of an HTML document that allow readers to respond to questions or provide information. See Part VI.


A subdivision of the browser window that contains an HTML document. Frames let you put multiple documents in their own parts of the browser window. See Part VII.

frameset document

The specialized HTML document that establishes the structure for frames in a Web site. See Part VII.


See File Transfer Protocol. See Part I.

FTP site

A source for data on the Internet. See Part III.


An image file type that's particularly suitable for drawings. GIF images work with almost all Web browsers. GIF images are compressed to make them smaller without losing any information. See Part IV.

hierarchical organization

A type of organization used if you have more than one major topic and divide material into subtopics or similar types of information. See Part IX.

home page

A common term for the starting point of an HTML document on the Internet. Many people make a personal home page as their first experiment with HTML. See Part IX.

horizontal rule

A line across HTML documents, created by <HR>, that's used to separate different parts of text. See Part V.


The name of a computer on the Internet (generally something like that you may be able to access and use. See Part III.

hot spot (hyperlink)

A place on a Web page that users can click to connect to other topics, documents, or Web sites. See Part III.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

Technically, HTML is a variant of SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language), but for the purposes of this book, it's just the tags that make your Web pages work. See Part I.

HTML editor

A specialized program that's used for adding HTML markup tags to a document. You can use BBEdit with HTML Extensions on Macintosh's HotDog or HTMLpad on Windows; and HoTMetaL on Windows, Macintosh, or UNIX, among many programs. See Part I.

HTML tags

Bits of text, enclosed within < >, that define different parts of a document. Required by HTML specifications. See Part II.


See anchor. See Part III.


A mythical area in which linking from page to page takes place. See Part IX.


A term for documents that you can read in a nonlinear way. If this Glossary were a HyperText document, you could click a word and zip right to the definition or other definitions that include the word. See Part I.

HyperText Markup Language

See HTML. See Part I.


A drawing, picture, or photograph in electronic form. See Part IV.


Images or parts of images that you click to link to other information. Also called a clickable image. See Part IV.

internal link

A link that points to another place within the same document. See also Uniform Resource Locator. See Part III.


The remarkably overhyped worldwide collection of computer networks that all speak the same language. The World Wide Web is a significant part of the Internet. See Part I.


Similar to the Internet, except that it is corporation-wide rather than worldwide. See Part VI.


An image file type developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group that's particularly suitable for photographs. JPG images work with most Web browsers. JPG images are compressed to make them much smaller, but they lose some detail as they're compressed. See Part IV.

LAN (local area network)

Provides an avenue for distributing HTML documents within an organization. A LAN can also include a Web server, thus taking a step toward being an intranet. See Part I.

linear organization

A type of organization you can use when providing instructions or procedures online. See Part IX.


The connection between an anchor and the document or file to which you're linking. See Part III.

local area network

See LAN. See Part I.

location line

Enables you to type the specific address to view in the browser. Located toward the top of your browser window. See Part III.


Compression that discards some of the original data contained in the file. It's like packing a suitcase and throwing away anything that doesn't fit instead of just sitting on the suitcase and forcing everything in (as in lossless compression). See Part IV.

mapping (an imagemap)

See defining (an imagemap). See Part IV.

markup language

A collection of tags or codes that tells computers what to do with the text within the tags. These markup languages used to be popular but were supplanted by WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editors. Markup languages are now regaining popularity because of their famous sibling, the HyperText Markup Language. See Part I.


The process of moving between or among pages and documents, particularly on the World Wide Web. See Part III.

navigation tools

Buttons, links, imagemaps, or anything else that allows readers to go from page to page within your Web site more easily. See Part IX.


Putting sets of tags within other sets of tags. See Part II.

news server

Provides access to Usenet News, a collection of discussion groups on the Internet. You can link HTML documents to these groups. See Part III.


Refers to using or communicating with a computer or being on a network, as opposed to being offline (using paper). See Part I.

opening tag

The first of a pair of HTML tags. This is the tag that includes all of the attributes. See also paired tag. See Part II.

paired tag

Tags that always come in twos. They have an opening tag, sometimes text in the middle, and a closing tag. See Part II.


The little individual dots that make up images. See Part IV.


Indicates the computer and operating system (for example, Windows 95, Macintosh, or OS/2). See Part I.


Portable Network Graphic. A new graphic standard that's, as yet, not widely implemented. See Part IV.

Portable Network Graphic

See PNG. See Part IV.


The standardized language that computers use to transfer information. See Part III.

protocol indicator

The first part of a URL. It indicates what kind of computer language the file is written in. The standard protocol indicator on the Web is generally http:// and points to HTML documents. See Part III.


In this context, putting HTML documents on a server for other people to see and read. See Part I.

radio button

A button within a form that enables you to make only one selection -- similar to buttons on your car radio. See Part VI.

reader profile

Describes your typical readers, including what information they already have, what they need, and what they don't care about. See Part IX.

relative URL

A URL that points to another file in relation to the location of the current one. Compare 2345 N. Gray St. (absolute) with "down the street and to the left" (relative). See also Uniform Resource Locator. See Part III.

RGB number

The number, often hexadecimal, that indicates the relative amounts of red, blue, and green that are used to make a specific color. See Part IV.


Occurs if the reader's purpose is to get an overview of document headings and content. See Part IX.

select list

A list on a form from which you can select one or more items by clicking the items. The font selection list in your word-processing program is a good example of this type of list. See Part VI.


A computer that provides files or documents on request to other computers. Also known as HTML Server, HTTP Server, or Web Server. See Part I and Part VI.

server program

A small program that provides information to the server or that does something on command from a browser, such as take the output from a form. See Part VI.

server-side imagemap

An imagemap controlled by the server software. See Part IV.

server-side include

A command that tells the server to include other information with a document being served. Think of it as the waiter grabbing the ketchup on the way to your table. See Part VI.


Occurs if the reader's purpose is to look for specific information within a document. See Part IX.

static information

Information on a Web page that doesn't often change, such as an address. See Part IX.

structure tag

An HTML tag that doesn't show (visibly) in a document but tells browsers about the document. See Part II.

style rule

Used in a style sheet to specify the formatting for a specific HTML element. See Part VIII.

style sheet

Provides formatting information for one or more HTML documents, offering more control and power than HTML-specific formatting commands. See Part VIII.

surfing the net

Perusing the interesting or inane information that is available on the World Wide Web. See Part I.


A command that's used in a markup language. In HTML, tags are enclosed in brackets (< >). See Part II.


Trying out your HTML document to make sure that it works as it should. See Part IX.


In the sense of HyperText, includes text, graphics, and anything else you choose to cram into your HTML documents. See Part I.

text area

A part of an HTML form that gives users a place to type longer chunks (several columns by several rows) of information. See Part VI.

text editor

Any computer program that can save plain-text documents. Examples include SimpleText for Macintosh, Notepad for Windows, and pico for UNIX. See Part I.


Small image used to represent a large image, particularly if the smaller image links to the larger image. See Part VI.

transparent background

An image that doesn't have a background color that shows up in the browser. See Part IV.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

The address of a document on the Internet that's generally used for specifying addresses for HTML documents. See Part III.


See Uniform Resource Locator. See Part III.

Usenet News

See news server. See Part III.

validation service

A service on the Internet to check your HTML documents for compliance with the HTML specifications. See Part IX.

virtual domain

A domain name (such as that actually resides on a different computer (as ours resides on See Part VI.


The interlocking maze of HTML documents, all related resources and media, and the links among them on the Internet. See Part I.

Web server

See server. See Part I and Part VI.

Web server administrator

See Webmaster. See Part VI.

Web site

A page or set of pages at a particular organization. Also used to refer to a set of HTML documents. See Part IX.

webbed organization

A type of organization that relies on cross-references to other topics, rather than being a more traditional hierarchical or linear organization. See Part IX.


The person or people who maintain a Web site. See Part VI.

World Wide Web (WWW)

See Web. See Part I.

x,y coordinates

Specifies the number of pixels down and to the right from the top left corner of an image. See Part IV.