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/ June 2000 / version 4.5.2 / version history /

About this Tutorial

WRITING HTML WAS CREATED way back in 1994 to help teachers create learning resources that access information on the Internet. Here, you will be writing a lesson called Volcano Web. However, this tutorial may be used by anyone who wants to create web pages. You can get a sense of the results by looking at our illustrious Alumni and kudos or what people say about the tutorial.

By the time you have reached the end of this tutorial you will be able to construct a series of linked web pages for any subject that includes formatted text, pictures, and hypertext links to other web pages on the Internet. If you follow the steps for the Basic Level (lessons 1-14) you will develop a page about volcanoes and if you go on to the Advanced Level (lessons 15-29), you will create an enhanced volcano web site.

For faster performance, you can download an archive of all files used in this tutorial as well as a printable version of the lessons. Most of the lessons can be done off-line. If you are having trouble connecting to this site, try our Zircon server but please be nice to these machines; they are doing other work for us.

Why Create Web Pages?

THE WEB IS BECOMING AN INTEGRAL PART of our working (and playing) world. You cannot spit anymore these days without hitting a URL (if you do not know what a URL is, you will find out here). In a very short time span, the web has revolutionized the way we access information, education, business, entertainment. It has created industries where there were none before.

Being able to develop information on the web might be a job skill, a class requirement, a business necessity, or a personal interest. Unlike any other previous medium, the ability to "write" HTML allows you to potentially connect with millions of other people, as your own self-publisher.



  • identify and use different HTML formatting codes.
  • create and modify HTML documents using a simple text editor.
  • write a series of web pages that present information, graphics, and provide hypertext links to other documents on the Internet.

And maybe you will have some fun!


PUT MOST SIMPLY, HTML, is a format that tells a computer how to display a web page. The documents themselves are plain text files (ASCII) with special "tags" or codes that a web browser knows how to interpret and display on your screen.

This tutorial teaches you how to create web pages the old-fashioned way -- by hand. There are software "tools" that allow you to spin web pages without touching any HTML. But if you are serious about doing more than a page or two, we believe a grounding in the basics will greatly accelerate what you can do.

Everything you create in this tutorial is designed to run from any desktop computer; it does not depend on access to a web server or specialized computer programming.

Getting Ready

YOU WILL ALSO NEED A TEXT EDITOR PROGRAM capable of creating plain text files e.g. SimpleText for the Macintosh or NotePad for Windows. We strongly urge that you use the most basic text editor while you learn HTML and then later you can explore HTML "editors" If you use a word processor program then you must save your files as plain ASCII text format. You should also be familiar with switching between multiple applications as well as using the mouse to copy and paste selections of text.

If you download the tutorial files, you can do nearly all of the lessons off-line.

We suggest that you proceed through the lessons in order, but at any time you can return to the index to jump to a different lesson. Within each lesson you can compare your work to a sample file for that lesson. Each lesson page has a link to a concise summary of the tags as well as links to other reference sites.

For convention, all menu names and items will be shown in bold text. All text that you should enter from the keyboard will appear in typewriter style.

Keep in Mind

  1. Use the Favorites or Bookmark feature of your web browser to mark the lesson index page so you can easily navigate to other lessons.
  2. We've aimed to write instructions generic to (almost) any web browser; sometimes the menu names or features may not match the web browser you are using.
  3. This tutorial will show you how to create web pages that can see outward to the world. It will not tell you how to let the world see them; to do this you need to locate an Internet Service Provider that provides web server space. Try The List, ISPGuide, SearchAnISP or c|net Internet Services. Also, you can search for a free web page hosting service from
  4. Creating pages is one thing, designing web sites is another. We cannot highly enough recommend the Yale C/aIM WWW Style Manual. Sun Microsystem's Guide to Web Style, and the Sevloid Guide to Web Design.
  5. When you are ready for the big time, see web pages like you have never seen web pages at Dave Siegel's Casbah and High Five sites. Trudge on over to his Web Wonk to get the details. It will amaze you.
  6. Refer to the HTML tag summary page as a reference. You can get to it by following the hypertext link at the top of every lesson page.
  7. If you are having trouble, see the Writing HTML FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) before writing us for help. We get lots and lots of e-mail. Too much.

Who Did This?

THIS IS A PROJECT of the Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (MCLI). Writing HTML was developed by Alan Levine, instructional technologist at the Maricopa Community Colleges. Our former intern, Tom Super, provided invaluable instructional design support. Many others have given helpful suggestions, corrected typos, and expressed their thanks!

Once your web pages become available on the Internet, please list them on our Writing HTML Alumni page using our registration form.

Thanks to some great volunteer efforts, Writing HTML is also available in other languages:

Or you can try the online translation tools from AltaVista's Babelfish:

Time to Get Started!

IF YOU ARE READY, go to the index of lessons or go directly to the first lesson.

h a p p y   w e b b i n g

And have fun.


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Writing HTML
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last modified: 17-Dec-04 : 10:24 AM
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