Bristle Software HTML Tips

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Table of Contents:

  1. Specify default Web Browser
  2. Avoid missing gridlines in tables
  3. Pre-formatted text
  4. Free graphics editors

Details of Tips:

  1. Specify default Web Browser

    Last Updated: 11/26/2000
    Applies to:  IE 3+, Netscape 3+

    Having trouble making Netscape or Internet Explorer your default Web Browser?

    By default, the last one you install is the default, and the other one nags you each time you run it about whether you want to make it the default.  Eventually, you get tired of the nagging, and click the checkbox on the nag screen of one of them to stop asking you.  So how do you someday get it to ask again?


    Edit the Netscape preferences file:

    1. Close all Netscape programs (Communicator, Messenger, etc.).
    2. Edit the ASCII file "prefs.js" (probably in the Users subdirectory of the directory where Netscape is installed) so the following line specifies "true", not "false":
          user_pref("browser.wfe.ignore_def_check", true);

    Internet Explorer 3.0:

    Edit the Windows Registry:

        [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

    Internet Explorer 4.0:

    From the IE menu:  View | Internet Options | Programs, check the option:  Internet Explorer should check to see whether it is the default browser.

    Internet Explorer 5.0:

    From the IE menu:  Tools | Internet Options | Programs, check the option:  Internet Explorer should check to see whether it is the default browser.


  2. Avoid missing gridlines in tables

    Last Updated: 10/5/1999
    Applies to:  HTML 3+, IE 3+, Netscape 3+

    Ever create an HTML table full of data and notice that the cells that happen to be empty have no gridlines around them to define the table?  For example:

    1 2 4
    9 12

    [If the above table looks as good as the one below, it is because my HTML editor once again "fixed" the problem for me, by automatically applying the solution I describe below.  Very helpful, but makes it hard to make my point...  Grrr!!  --Fred]

    A good way to prevent this it be be sure to put at least a single space inside each cell.  Unfortunately, since HTML is largely insensitive to whitespace, it may not be sufficient to just use a space, like:

    	<td> </td>

    Instead, you may have to use a non-breaking space, like:


    If you do this in every empty cell, the table has all of its grid lines intact:

    1 2   4
    9     12


  3. Pre-formatted text

    Last Updated: 10/6/1999
    Applies to:  HTML 3+, IE 3+, Netscape 3+

    Ever wish you could get HTML to stop re-formatting your text?  Sometimes you put in a line break because you wanted it to be there, or indented a line by just the right number of spaces and want to left alone.  To tell the browser that you text is already formatted, use the <PRE> and </PRE> tags.


  4. Free graphics editors

    Last Updated: 2/21/2001
    Applies to:  HTML 3+, IE 3+, Netscape 3+

    Looking for a free program to edit your graphics files (GIF, JPEG, etc.) or to convert files from one graphics format to another?  Here are some for various platforms:

    1. Web-based
      1. The site has a free on-line GIF file editor.  You can go to that site and run the editor without downloading or installing any software.  You upload your GIF file into the editor, edit it, and download it back to your computer.  It supports animated GIFs, transparency, and lots of effect.   Very cool!
    2. Windows
      1. If you are running Windows 98 Second Edition (sorry, not other versions of Windows 98, 95, NT, etc.), you can use Paint. Simply load that pesky BMP file that won't load at all in most browsers, and takes forever because of its huge size in IE, and use the Save As menu to save it as a GIF (somewhat smaller) or a JPG (much smaller). Ah, much better!
      2. If you are not running Windows 98 Second Edition, but have Microsoft Office installed, you can do the same with the Microsoft Photo Editor. If you don't see it in your Windows Start menu, search for photoed.exe.
      3. IrfanView -- (suggested by Dave Tutelman 2/25/2001)
    3. Unix
      1. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) -- (suggested by James Higgins 8/2/2000)
      2. XV -- (suggested by James Higgins 8/2/2000)

    Any more to suggest?  Send me mail, and I'll add them to the list.


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