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A Very Simple Introduction to HTML

Advanced site features like the Speed Shop allow you to include HTML in some text you enter, like item descriptions. While you could use Front Page or other HTML editors, it's probably easier to do it yourself. Here's how:

HTML is a very simple language developed for formatting the display of web pages. It is not a programming language, but instead is a much simpler "mark-up" language. You use HTML commands or "tags" to "mark-up" your page so that it will be displayed in a certain way.

HTML tags are enclosed in angle braces; < and >. The braces let your browser know that what is inside the tags is an HTML command and should not be shown. Instead, the tag causes the browser to do something to the format of your page. (We'll be showing HTML tags in blue so they stand out)

Lets say you want to make a hard carriage return, or line break, so a line of text ends and a new line begins at the left margin. If you are typing you would just hit Enter. However, on a web page you must insert an HTML tag where you want the first line to end.

Lets say you have:

This is the first line.This is the second line.

and you want this to appear as two lines. You would insert the HTML line break tag, <br>, at the end of the first sentence like this;

This is the first line.<br>This is the second line.

When your browser displays this it would show up as:

This is the first line.
This is the second line.

The tag has been hidden from you and the text has been specially formatted instead.

The paragraph tag, <p>, can be used like the break tag to create paragraph boundaries.

Many HTML mark-up commands consist of a pair of tags enclosing some text. The mark-up is only applied between the two tags. An example is if you wanted to create some bold text like this. You surround the text with the bold start or "opening" tag <b> and the bold end or "closing" tag </b>. (Closing tags are usually the same as the opening tag except with the "/" to indicate it is the end.) If you enter the following:

I want <b>this text</b> to be bold.

it will be displayed as:

I want this text to be bold.

Some other useful tags and examples of their effect are:
<i> </i> for italics
<tt> </tt> for fixed-width or typewriter text
<center> </center>

will center the enclosed text on the page

<h3> </h3>

will make the enclosed text a headline size 3 (the size may range from 1 to 6)

You can change the size and color of your text using the <font> tag. The font tag is a little different in that the opening tag has some information inside to control the formatting which the tag does. If you want to make some text red do the following:

I want <FONT COLOR=red>this text to be red.</FONT>

This is displayed as:

I want this text to be red

Legal color values for the standard 16 Windows colors are black, gray, silver, white, red, maroon, yellow, olive, lime, green, cyan, teal, blue, navy, magenta, and purple.

You can change the font size like this:

<font size=5>This is a big font.</font>

Which is displayed like this:

This is a big font.

The font size can range from 1 to 7 with 3 being the normal size.
Of course you can combine color and size at the same time:

<font color=magenta size=5>This is a big magenta font.</font>

Which is displayed like this:

This is a big magenta font.

And you can put one tag inside another, called nesting:

<font color=magenta size=5>This is a big magenta font with a <b>bold</b> word.</font>

Which is displayed like this:

This is a big magenta font with a bold word.

There are many other things you can do with HTML like including photos and linking to other pages but the above simple commands allow you to liven up the text you post. If you want to learn more do a web search for "HTML Primer".

We've created a scratchpad below where you can enter some sample html commands and see the results. Just type your text and html tags into the box and hit the Update Display button to see the result. We've put in a few to help you get started.

enter your HTML here:

click this
and see the result here:
This line ends with a break.
And this line is red.

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