Creating a web-based activity page: detailed steps

Jean LeLoup & Bob Ponterio 
SUNY Cortland 
© 2012, 2017
Getting started - Step-by-step (using KompoZer):

We will use KompoZer to create a WWW page.  This handout will walk you through some basic steps of web page creation in order to familiarize you with the possibilities in KompoZer. You can download KompoZer for free ( for Mac, Windows or Linux. Most web page editing tools work in more or less the same way, because all the underlying codes are the same. For this reason, the basic ideas will hold even if you use a different editing program. First work through these steps, and then move on to your own web activity page.  Note that it is possible to select formatting options using menu items or toolbar buttons or even typing in codes by hand, depending on your personal preference. Also note that we will be using simplified formatting rather than the more common but more complicated CSS.

Before starting, it is a good idea to plan your page carefully by making a storyboard (as you might tell a student to do an outline before writing a paper).  It is possible to copy a page that you like from the Web or from your own past efforts and then use it as a template, making changes to fit your needs but not reinventing the wheel in terms of basic format. If you do this, be sure that work with a copy so you don't destroy your original. For this exercise, we will simply create a new page from a blank since this is the best way to grasp just what we are doing. (Our sample will be a table of contents page that you can use for this course.)

Always keep in mind that a web page is a file with HTML code along with any and all other files for all media that are included in the page in any way. Indeed, a web page can be thought of as a shell that holds various multimedia files together and displays them in a single window. All of these files need to be placed so the web page can find them. There are a number of ways to organize the files that will be part of a web page, but in this course, for simplicity and consistency, we will put all files that are part of a page together in a folder for that page. For this reason, you always want to begin by creating a folder for your web site and putting everything needed for the site's pages in this folder. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Then, when you move or copy the folder, you are moving everything you need for all the pages in your site.

1. Open KompoZer.  KompoZer automatically begins with an open blank web page. (You can open a new blank page at any time by selecting File / New or by pressing the New button.)
2. Make sure that you are looking at the Normal View or Design View (not HTML Tags, Source or Preview). Think of this as typing in your word processor. Type your name, title, department & institution, office location, and telephone number on separate lines.
3. Select your name, just as you would in your word processor.
4. Change the font from the Default Font (Variable width) to Helvetica, Ariel (use the Format / Font menu). Then change it again using the Font Format dropdown box below the Paragraph Format box at the top left of your Document window. What are some of your other font choices?
5. Make your name larger. (Use Format / Size or in the text Properties format area.)
6. Change the text color to a color of your choice using the Format / Text Color menu or the pop-up color window. The color can be selected using a few different color selection tools, but colors are coded in your page as a 6 figure hexadecimal number (that's like having 16 fingers to count with). Red is FF0000 (FF in hexadecimal is 255 base ten, so this means 255 red, 0 green, 0 blue). You don't really need to know those color codes, but sometimes they can be useful for making sure you have exactly the same color in two places.
7. Make your name Bold (B) and Italic (I). You may use Format / Text Style or the buttons. 
8. Center your name using the alignment icons in the Properties, just like in a word processor.
9. You decide that your italic centered name looks awful.  Realign it to the left margin and remove the italic format.

10. Create a folder on your USB flash drive or the hard drive; be sure to give this folder a meaningful name such as icc523-projects. This is where you will save your new web page. Now save the page in a the folder. A page has title, for instance, my title might be Ponterio - ICC 523 Projects. A page also has a filename, for instance index.html. This is the default file name for a folder, so it will be the page that will automatically open when someone browses to your folder. You will use this a lot, so more on this later.

11. Insert a blank line after your contact information.  Next type the names for your class projects:

Project 1
Project 2
PowerPoint Project
Project 3
Final Project

Add a blank line after the project list, and insert a horizontal line. (Insert / Horizontal Line)

Next type a copyright notice. (Insert / Characters and Symbolsw / Copyright)

© Your Name, year.

Save your Work!

12. Then select your project list. Make them a numbered or bulleted list.
13. Perhaps that was a bad idea.  Remove the numbers or bullets and indent the lines instead.

14. Select your school name so you can turn it into a link. Click on the link button and type (or copy and paste) the URL for your school or department web page. (For example, our Modern Languages Department page is:
15. You could also right-click on the highlighted text and select Create link to open the link properties window. The results are the same as using the buttons. 
It is always a good idea to copy and paste the URL to make a link.
To link to one of your own pages in your own project in the same folder, you would just use the file name in the Link box rather than the entire URL. In this case, you can locate your file in your folder and point to it.

16. Look at the page title at the top of your KompoZer window. Let's edit the page title to make it more meaningful. Open the Format / Page Title and Properties menu. Type a new page title or edit the one you wrote earlier, for example, Bob's great and wonderful project page. KompoZer will ask you for a page title if you try to save your page without first adding one. Every page should have a meaningful page title that appears in the title bar at the top of the browser window ("untitled" is a bad title). Remember that your page also will have a file name when you save it.  These are two different things, don't get them confused. You don't put spaces in file names, but you can use them in your page title.
17 . Change the background color of the page. Use Format / Page Colors and Background or click the background color icon .  Pick a color of your choice, but make it very light. Never use a background color that makes it hard to read your text. Style should support your message, not get in the way.

Positioning things on a web page can be a bit confusing. We have seen that we can left align, center or right align items. What if we want to do all three? A Table can help us with positioning text or images. (CSS format is a better technique, but it is more complex. Tables are much easier to learn.)

18. Let's use a table to position the things on our page. Make a table by positioning your cursor under your name and clicking on the table button or select Insert / Table or Table / Insert. More choices than you can shake a stick at! Give the table 1 row and 2 columns. Double-click on the table to open the table properties and make the table width 95 percent of your window.
19. Select your personal information (except your name).  Cut the text (ctrl-x) and Paste it (ctrl-v) into the left pane or cell of your table.

20. Make sure that a photo or image that you want in your page is on your USB flash drive or hard drive in the same folder as this index.html page you are working on. If you don't have a photo, download one (right-click / save picture as) from this page: or from anywhere you like. Just don't use anything too big.
21. Place your cursor in the right pane or cell of your table and click the Image button or select the menu item Insert / Image. Find the file name of the image that you wish to insert.

22. From inside the table properties window, be sure you are looking at the table tab, not the cell tab (tables are made of cells). Now the Properties windows shows the Table Properties (see below). Align it to the right. Remove the border line by changing the the border from 1 to 0 pixels (an invisible table is a good way to control positioning). 

Notice that the sizes of the table properties and table cell properties allow you to use absolute sizes (pixels) or to use a percentage. You can also change the table background color if you wish.

Do the same thing for you project list, but this time put the projects in the right hand cell of your table and an image in the left hand cell.

23. If you did not want to use a table to position your project list, you could use horizontal lines to set the projects off.
Place your cursor below the table and select Insert / Horizontal Line. Add two horizontal lines to your page here.  One right below the other. Note that you can also insert a variety of other special characters from here. Horizontal lines can help separate parts of your page. You could place your projects between these lines if you wish or delete the lines if you don't need them.

Save your work!

Moving on to an activity page: mini-project 1

24. By now you should feel fairly comfortable with basic formatting in KompoZer.  You are ready to create a page with a web-based activity or materials! Keep working on this Table of Contents page to make it your own.

Just a note about style: Format to your heart's content, but try to follow basic principles of good style, so don't overdo it.  A left margin tends to look better than text flush against the edge of your browser window.  Items look better if they line up. Centering everything looks bad.  Big blocks of text without white space look bad and are difficult to read.  Too many different colors, fonts, text sizes or styles detract from your message.  Use style to enhance your message, not distract your reader. Novices tend to overdo it. 


Youtube tutorial - Creating a Web site using KompoZer (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Youtube: How to Make a Website Using Kompozer (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

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