The Only HTML Writers Need to Know

    January 22, 2003

You’re a writer, not a webmaster. But if you are writing for publication on a Web site, your editor may ask you to provide the basic HTML formatting for your work. Don’t panic.

HTML is a set of codes, or “tags”, that allow your browser display Web page’s with images, color and formatted text. Fortunately, as a writer you only need to know five basic HTML tags to make your work web-ready.

By the end of this article you will be able to set your text in boldface and italics, create a line break, create a new paragraph, and create a hyperlink.

Boldface & Italics

<b>This text will be boldfaced</b>, this text will not. Italicize a word to <i>emphasize it.</i>

An HTML tag is always bracketed by a “<" and a ">“. Many HTML tags, including those for boldface and italics, use a opening and closing tag. HTML opening and closing tags are always identical except that the closing tag contains a “/”. When the Web browser encounters these tags, the tag says to
the browser, “starting here, format everything this way until
you come to the end tag.”

Line Break
The following people have received the package:

Mary <br>
Fred, and<br>

Unlike the bold and italics tags, the line break and paragraph
tags do not need an closing tag.
New Paragraph

<p>This is the opening of a new paragraph.
The paragraph tag create vertical space equivalent to two line
break tags. However, use the <p> instead of two <br>
tags because the editor may have addition formatting that is
applied to paragraphs, but not to line breaks.


<a href="">This
is the text of the link</a>

The “a” stands for “anchor”, which tells the browser that the
text is linked to something else online. Opening and closing
tag are required for the <a> tag.

Qualifiers, called “attributes” can be added to opening HTML tags. In this case, the “href” destination is the attribute. Note that the destination address is encased in quotation marks.

With this arsenal of five basic HTML tags, you can make your articles ready for posting on the Web and endear yourself to your online editors.

If you’re thinking, “this HTML stuff is easier than I thought,” you’re right! A word of warning, though, before your dive headlong into learning HTML: building Web pages can be as addictive as writing.

That said, you can learn more about HTML at these sites:

HTML Goodies Basic HTML: Primer #1 Beginning HTML Tutorials

HTMLSource: HTML Tutorials

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