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467 Chapter 16. Nisus Writer and the ’Net

In this chapter, you’ll learn…

As numerous techno-sages have pointed out, no computer is an island. When you consider the ubiquity of commercial on-line services, the Internet, and local networks, it’s a pretty good bet that sooner or later you’ll be using your computer for electronic communication. It used to be that the basic, default answer to “What are you going to use your computer for?” was, “Word processing,” but now the scales are beginning to tip toward a default answer of “E-mail,” which is only fitting as electronic messages increasingly take the place of paper letters and forms. Gone are the days when a word processor could be thought of as no more than a glorified typewriter. The nature of electronic communication 468 requires a different way of thinking about text processing. Happily, Nisus Writer is equal to this task, and in this chapter we’ll look at its use in dealing with two major forms of electronic communication—E-mail and the World Wide Web.

Using Nisus Writer for E-mail

I suffer from a common ’90s ailment: E-mail overload. It’s not unusual for me to get 50 to 100 E-mail messages a day, and just reading these messages—let alone responding to them—can take hours. Over the years, I’ve used many different kinds of E-mail programs—everything from QuickMail and AppleMail to Eudora and Emailer, and even UNIX programs like pine and elm. My main activity in these programs is editing text—just like I do in Nisus Writer. The problem, of course, is that when I’m in one of these other programs, I don’t have access to Nisus Writer’s noncontiguous selection, Find/Replace, macros, glossary, and other time-saving tools. So I enjoy those conveniences only part of the time. Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to those tools for all your editing tasks? As a matter of fact, you can—and there are actually several ways of doing it. In this section we’ll look at some of the ways Nisus Writer can simplify your E-mail life.


PowerTalk is officially dead and buried. It was a really great concept while it lasted, but it never quite got all the kinks worked out of it, and didn’t catch on. Unless for some odd nostalgic reason you're still using an ancient version of the Mac OS, you can ignore this whole section.

We discussed Nisus Writer’s PowerTalk capabilities in Chapter 8. PowerTalk has gained a rather limited acceptance so far, partly because of interface and performance issues, and partly because it is perceived by many as being useful only for mail on a local network. However, for months I have used Nisus Writer and PowerTalk as my primary E-mail mechanism both for mail within the office (where a few people have PowerTalk but the standard is QuickMail) and for Internet E-mail. Not only can Nisus Writer be made to do the trick, it can also do some great things no ordinary E-mail program can do, especially when macros are figured into the equation.

469 One of the greatest advantages to using PowerTalk as a clearinghouse for electronic communication is that all of your incoming and outgoing messages—E-mail (even to different services), faxes, and even voice mail and pages—can use the same mechanisms, interface, and In/Out Tray. Another advantage is that if you use Nisus Writer as your mail reader, you’ll always have its fantastic text editing tools at your disposal. But it does take a bit of effort to get everything set up, and in some cases it requires learning to think about communication in a new way.

Your first steps (after installing PowerTalk) are to determine what kinds of services you need to connect to, and obtain the necessary gateways. Two machines on a local network can communicate directly with each other using PowerTalk alone. But if you need to communicate with another mail system, you’ll need a gateway to connect the two services. Gateways are software—usually software installed on your own Mac, but sometimes installed on a central mail server. Personal gateways are available from companies like Apple and StarNine to interface PowerTalk with QuickMail, Microsoft Mail, the Internet (POP/SMTP), and CompuServe. If your whole office uses PowerTalk but needs to communicate with other networks, server gateways can convert incoming mail (in UUCP format, for instance) to PowerTalk and vice-versa.

Personal gateways, which are configured using your PowerTalk Key Chain, invariably allow you to set as a preference which program will be used to read and reply to incoming mail. AppleMail is generally chosen by default. If you change the preferred mail application to Nisus Writer, then mail coming to your In Tray via the gateway will be in Nisus Writer format, and you’ll be able to open it simply by double-clicking the messages.

So you’ve got Nisus Writer reading your E-mail. Now what? Your first thought may be that you’ve given up some capabilities you had in stand-alone E-mail programs. For example, PowerTalk has no built-in mechanism to filter or file mail, or to generate automatic replies. How can you get those same capabilities? The alert reader can easily guess—macros! 470 Once a letter is open in Nisus Writer, macros can search for a string in the file, create automatic replies, forward mail, and more. In fact, if you’ve ever signed Nisus Software’s World Wide Web “Guest Book,” the “automatic” reply you received was generated by just such a macro. Macros can also save mail to a specific location, and even pass your mail messages to other applications via Frontier.

One thing Nisus Writer macros cannot do yet is open letters in your In Tray. Before you can run a macro on your incoming mail, you must open it either by double-clicking or by dragging and dropping the letters onto the Nisus Writer icon.

We’ll talk more about E-mail macros in a moment. For hints on writing your own macros, be sure to read Chapter 12 and examine the macros supplied on the CD-ROM.

Stand-Alone E-mail Programs

If you don’t use PowerTalk, you can still use Nisus Writer for some or all of your E-mail editing. It will require a few extra steps, but you may find the extra effort worth it. The basic idea is to get incoming messages from your other E-mail program to Nisus Writer, and to get messages from Nisus Writer back to the E-mail program. This generally requires that Nisus Writer and the E-mail program both be running. Beyond that, there are several possible strategies:

E-Mail Macros

Whether you use Nisus Writer with PowerTalk or as the editor for another mail program, there are a number of macros 471 you’ll probably want to have available. Depending on the types of systems you’re coming from and going to (and the robustness of any gateways you may be using), some file conversions may be necessary either for incoming messages or for outgoing mail. Macros can greatly simplify reformatting of mail from heterogeneous systems. To wit:

Macros that perform all these reformatting functions, and numerous others, can be found on the CD-ROM in the file named Joe’s Internet Macros. There’s even a macro that will capture your mail with Nisus Software’s MailKeeper program (which is itself included on the CD-ROM).

Authoring HTML Documents

There have been many changes in Nisus Writer’s HTML support. For one thing, all the macros have been updated from the versions supplied with Nisus Writer 4.1. (In addition, several different third-party macro collections have become available.) For another, Nisus Writer now has the ability to save an ordinary document as HTML—automatically converting many text attributes to their nearest HTML equivalent. Note, however, that this conversion is rather limited; you can't get good results with columns, placed page graphics, and other complex layout elements using Save As HTML.

Over the last few years, the World Wide Web has become the Big Thing on-line. The Web is a vast network of interlinked text, graphics, sound, video and information of all sorts available to anyone with Internet access and browser software. While millions of folks browse (or “surf”) these documents every day, this is not nearly as exciting as providing your own information on-line. Nowadays, everyone wants to have a home page—a document or set of documents that tell about themselves or their business—available on the Web. But not just any document can be used for this purpose. Files must be coded with special tags which ensure that they look and behave the same no matter what system is being used to view them. The set of tags and conventions used for marking Web documents is known as Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML.

HTML is not complicated, and even a basic text editor like SimpleText can be used to create full-fledged HTML docu-472 ments. But there are a lot of tags to remember, it’s easy to make mistakes, and the process can be confusing for people who are accustomed to working in a strictly WYSIWYG environment. (That’s most of us.) Because of this, an endless array of HTML editors and tools has appeared on the market to simplify the process, and—sometimes—hide the tags so that we can see just how the document will look when viewed with a browser. Fortunately, Nisus Writer’s existing tools were easily adapted to this task, and it now provides a powerful method of HTML document creation. In the remainder of this chapter we’ll cover some of the basics of HTML and see how Nisus Writer can make creation and editing of these documents a breeze.

While basic HTML is not at all complicated, modern varieties can be overwhelming, especially when you factor in Cascading Style Sheets, Dynamic HTML (DHTML), server-side includes, active server pages, JavaScript, and many other technologies that are part and parcel of today's Web (and even the document you’re now reading!). Nisus Writer is still a great tool for editing HTML, but these days, it’s also necessary to have a visual editing tool (such as Adobe GoLive) to make layout and design tasks comprehensible…unless, that is, you're content with a very simple presentation.

HTML Basics

Before we can see how Nisus Writer handles HTML, you’ll need to know a bit about HTML itself—and understand the “ordinary” way of creating it. Then, once you’re convinced this is not something you’d enjoy doing manually, we’ll look at the ways Nisus Writer can simplify the process. A word of caution here. This chapter is not intended to teach you all the ins and outs of HTML. It is a very big subject, and I can only cover the barest basics here. If you’re serious about doing HTML work, the information here will get you started. But I strongly recommend obtaining additional documentation, either in the form of a book, such as Adam and Tonya Engst’s Create Your Own Home Page (Hayden Books, 1995), or by consulting a guide on the Web itself. Here are some places you can look:

Some of the sites above are no longer active, have become outdated, or have changed their focus…and in any case, there are much hipper HTML guides available now anyway. One guide I think is quite good is WebMonkey: www.webmonkey.com.

To learn more about the Internet in general, including the Web, see Adam Engst’s Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh:

Adam's book, which went through quite a few editions, is now out of print. However, you can still find old copies in many (new or used) bookstores. Probably right next to the tattered copies of The Nisus Way.

And finally, to see some examples of well-written (and cool!) HTML documents, surf to some sites that I have helped to develop:

Well…not any more. The Nisus web site still exists, but it's at a new address (www.nisus.com) and no longer contains any of my original design. Dave and I dissolved the ComputerGeeks corporation and sold the domain name to another company. However, you can still see my thorough if tedious web page at alt.cc.

The Get URL (Netscape) macro included on the CD-ROM will open any selected URL directly in Netscape.

A Simple HTML Document

Let’s begin by looking at a simple—very simple—HTML document. Figure 16.1 shows our sample file in Netscape Navigator, a popular web browser. Not much there—a title (in the Title Bar), a heading, and a paragraph containing a couple of links. Now let’s find out what the “raw data” used to create this document looks like. To do this, we’ll choose Save As… in Netscape, choose Source (meaning the HTML data) from the pop-up menu in the Save As dialog, and save the file to the hard drive. All HTML documents are plain text files, so Nisus Writer (or any other text editor, for that matter) will have no trouble reading them. When we open this file in Nisus Writer, we see something like Figure 16.2. You can see all the text as before, but instead of appearing in distinct styles there are simply a bunch of tags—characters within angle brackets (<>)—to indicate how the text is to be 474 styled, where to find the links, and so on. These tags, which are the core of HTML, are not particularly pretty, but they’re fairly logical and straightforward. <H1> means “header, level 1,” <P> means “Paragraph break,” and so on. (We’ll get into the meaning of other tags shortly.) Most tags come in pairs—a “turn this style on” tag (like <pre> for preformatted) and a “turn it back off” tag (like </pre>), which adds a slash (/) to the beginning of the tag. A few tags, like <hr> (“horizontal rule”), are used all by themselves.

Figure 16.1. A simple HTML file viewed in Netscape Navigator.

HTML tags are not case-sensitive. For example, <strong>, <Strong>, and <STRONG> are all interpreted identically.

Figure 16.2. The HTML file from Figure 16.1, this time as seen in Nisus Writer.

Whenever you’re surfing the Web and want to find out which HTML codes were used to create a document, you can use your browser’s Save As or View Source command to look at and save the document to your hard drive, complete with all tags. You can often save yourself some editing effort by modifying a portion of someone else’s page for your own use. (Standard copyright warnings apply, of course.)

Nisus Writer and HTML

If you care to learn all the tags, you can create HTML documents in Nisus Writer (or any other text editor) without worrying about macros or other niceties—just type them in manually. In fact, no matter how you create your HTML documents, you’ll probably want to go back and do some manual tweaking from time to time. But if you’re creating documents of any complexity, the manual approach can get old really fast. Fortunately, Nisus Writer comes to the rescue with a full set of HTML macros, which automate the bulk of HTML authoring work, while maintaining maximum flexibility. But before we discuss these macros, I must mention a few caveats.

475 Limitations

There are some minor limitations to consider when using Nisus Writer for HTML authoring. First, Nisus Writer has no built-in browser; you’ll have to switch back and forth between your browser and Nisus Writer as you edit. Perhaps more importantly, Nisus Writer’s WYSIWYG display only goes so far when it comes to Web pages. No amount of coaxing can get Nisus Writer to display form elements (radio buttons, check boxes, pop-up menus, etc.), background colors, HTML tables, or most Netscape enhancements. All URLs must be entered manually (you can’t merely locate a file on your drive using an “Open” dialog, for example). And there is no built-in mechanism for checking the integrity of your links (though again, depending on your needs, you may be able to do this with a macro). Those relatively small inconveniences aside, you’ll soon see what a vast improvement Nisus Writer offers over the “manual” method of creating HTML—and even some “automatic” methods!

HTML Macros

Nisus Writer’s HTML tools are based on a suite of nearly 80 macros developed by an Australian Nisus user named Sandra Silcott. The primary function of these macros is to automate the process of inserting HTML tags of all sorts—and, option-476 ally, to style the text in Nisus Writer so you can get a rough idea of how it will look in a browser. The macros don’t do all the work for you—you have to have a basic idea of what you’re doing and how HTML works for best results. But assuming even a passing knowledge of the subject, these macros will make your life much, much easier. There is not space here to detail the function of each and every one of the macros. Fortunately, this has already been done, and you can read the descriptions for yourself in the file HTML Macros Read Me.html, which is included in the HTML Tools folder that is installed along with Nisus Writer. (Open the file using a browser for best results.)

As wonderful as Sandra’s macros are, there are a few things missing. My deluxe, improved version of the HTML Macros file includes macros for creating forms, plus a macro that will automatically save your document, switch to your browser, and reload the file—all with a single command!

Getting Started with HTML Macros

If you’re about to work with Nisus Writer’s HTML macros for the first time, there are some preliminary steps you should take. First, open the file HTML Keyboard Shortcuts Setup, which is located in the HTML Authoring Tools folder inside your Nisus Writer folder. This is a macro file which assigns keyboard shortcuts to most of the HTML macros. Because there are so many macros, you won’t want to scroll through the entire list every time, and you’ll appreciate having the keyboard shortcuts available. After opening the file, choose •••Assign Keyboard Short 4 from the Macros submenu to assign the keyboard shortcuts. You can, of course, add to or change the assignments later, but these will get you started. All of the shortcuts (for consistency) consist of the Command and Option keys plus one or more characters—usually with mnemonic ties to the tags they represent. Figure 16.3 shows the HTML macros and their pre-assigned shortcuts. Be sure to save your preferences after doing this!

Figure 16.3. The HTML macros and their keyboard shortcuts.

Next, open the HTML Macros file. Once it has loaded, choose Edit Macro File from the Macros menu, and scroll to display the macros Template Footer and Template Header (see Figure 16.4). These are designed to add the necessary HTML tags to the top and bottom of your documents, along with your name and E-mail address, the copyright date, and any other information you want. You can customize the header and footer to suit your own needs, but be sure to fill in your name and E-mail address if you want to keep those elements as part of your documents.

Figure 16.4. the Template Footer and Template Header macros, with the elements you need to customize selected.

478 Next, decide whether you’d like to edit your HTML documents in a (more or less) WYSIWYG mode. For most people, the answer will probably be yes, since this will make it easier to read your source documents in Nisus Writer. To enable the macros to apply styles as you edit, run the • HTML Styles ON in Macros macro. If at any time you change your mind (or want to avoid applying styles temporarily), simply run the • HTML Styles OFF in Macros macro. When you use the HTML macros (whether or not styles are “on”), every tag is placed in the •tag style, but (by default) the tags are still visible. To hide the existing tags at any point, you can run the • Show/Hide HTML Tags macro, which applies the style Invisible to them. To display the tags again, just run the macro again and it will turn off the Invisible style.

Even if you’ve chosen to hide the HTML tags, any new tags you insert will be visible. If you’d like all your tags to be invisible by default, even when they’re first inserted, open the macro editing window, choose Define Styles…, and add Invisible to the style definition of the •tag style. If you do this, you can still toggle display of all the tags in your document at any time simply by choosing Invisible Text from the Display Attributes menu on the Horizontal Button Bar. My personal preference is to work with tags in the Invisible style all the time, turning on and off display of Invisible Text as needed.

Remember, there are two factors that influence whether you can see text—whether or not it is in Invisible style and whether or not Invisible Text is chosen as a display attribute. Both must be selected for text to be hidden; if either is not selected, your text will be visible. If you have Invisible Text turned off, you can still tell which text is in Invisible style. Make sure Text Marks is checked in the Display Attributes menu, and invisible text will be shown on your screen with a gray box around it.

479 Finally, consider adding the HTML Macros file to your Essential Files list so that you can switch to it easily. If you do this, you’ll probably also want to add your Nisus Macros file to the list, to make it easy to switch back. You might also wish to add keyboard shortcuts to these two files, like Command-H-T-M and Command-N-I-M.

Now you’re ready to begin. There are several ways you might proceed from here—making a new document from scratch, starting with a stationery file, editing an existing HTML document, or converting another Nisus Writer file to HTML. We’ll look at each of these strategies in turn.

Starting From Scratch

To create a brand-new HTML document, choose New from the File menu, then run the Stationery macro. This will prompt you for a title for your document, and then insert that title, along with the date created, your E-mail address, and the required HTML tags. Once this basic information is in place, you can fill in the rest of your text, using the other HTML macros to style and format your text. As you become experienced with HTML writing, you may want to skip the automatic template insertion, customize the template to your needs, or add it to stationery (see “Using Stationery” below) in order to keep redundant typing to a minimum.

If you’re using the HTML macros to create your documents, remember always to apply your HTML styles using macros—and not the Style menu. Style menu commands don’t insert the necessary HTML tags.

Using Stationery

In Chapter 14, we saw how using stationery files can save a lot of unnecessary effort and help to keep your documents consistent. We also observed that by using Publish & Subscribe, changes can be made to several stationery documents at once, as well as all the documents that have been based on those stationery files. These same things are equally true for HTML documents. If you’re going to create a series of documents for the Web, all containing identical information like logos, navigation controls, and so on, consider making a template that you can reuse. Create a document that contains just the parts that will be repeated for each document, then save it as a stationery file. You can also use Publish & Subscribe in Web documents—either by itself 480 or in combination with stationery—to provide an easy way to update a whole series of documents. Either way, all you’ll need to do when creating a new document is to fill in (or change) the elements that are unique to that document, without worrying about the repetitive items.

There is a slight catch to using Publish & Subscribe for Web documents. When you make changes to a publisher, any file that subscribes to that edition must be opened and saved before the change will be visible to a browser. The process of saving places the text of the edition file into the data fork of the subscriber file so that it can be seen by a browser.

Converting Existing HTML Documents

If you want to use Nisus Writer to edit an existing HTML document (no matter what system created it), you can do so quite easily. After opening (or importing) the document, simply run the • Apply HTML Styles macro. This macro first removes any existing formatting from the document, then adds the appropriate Nisus Writer WYSIWYG styles (if turned on) and applies the •tag style to all tags. Then you can make any needed changes to the document, including adding any other standard elements you use to keep your documents consistent.

Converting Regular Documents to HTML

Another thing you can do is take an ordinary document, perhaps one intended for print, and HTML-ize it. This can also be easy, as long as you remember a few important points.

Previewing Your Work

As you’re working on your HTML document, you’ll want to preview it in a Web browser. There are several browsers available for the Mac, among them Netscape Navigator, Mosaic, and MacWeb. Netscape is currently the most popular of these, and I’ll be using it in all the examples here. To view a file on your hard drive using a browser, you can either drag and drop the file onto the browser icon, or use the browser’s Open File… command and locate the file using the standard file dialog box. There is no problem having the file open in both Nisus Writer and a browser at the same time, since the browser is inherently read-only. However, when you make changes to the document, they will not immediately show up in the browser. You must first use Nisus Writer’s Save command, then switch to the browser and choose the Reload command.

The View with Netscape macro included on the CD-ROM will save your document in Nisus Writer, switch to Netscape, and reload it, all with a single command.

Major HTML Elements

There are several major categories of HTML tags that you’ll probably use very frequently, like lists of various sorts, logical and physical styles, links (also called anchors) and structural elements like horizontal rules and line breaks. Nisus Writer’s HTML macros are especially good at handling these common tags, and we’ll look at these macros in a bit of detail here.


HTML includes three major kinds of lists—ordered (numbered) lists, unordered (bulleted) lists, and definition lists. In each case, the list as a whole is wrapped in tags, and each item in the list is also wrapped individually. (For definition 482 lists, the defined term and its description are wrapped separately.) Using the supplied macros, you can apply tags to an entire list in one fell swoop. For example, if you select a range of paragraphs and chooseList—Unordered, each individual paragraph will be wrapped with <li></li>, and the list as a whole will be wrapped in <ul></ul>. You can also wrap elements of a list individually, if you prefer. Figure 16.5 shows the results of using the macros List—Unordered, List—Ordered, and List—Definition (¶), respectively, on identical ranges of paragraphs. Figure 16.6 shows the same lists in Netscape.

Figure 16.5. Results of using the macros List—Unordered, List—Ordered, and List—Definition (¶), respectively, on identical ranges of paragraphs.

Figure 16.6. The lists from Figure 16.5 as viewed in Netscape.

There are a few more list macros worth mentioning. List–Bullet to Unordered creates a single-level unordered list out of all lines in the current selection(s) that start with a bullet, dash, tab, or asterisk. List–Create Anchor List will create a list of links to all the anchors in your document and place this list in a new file. To create a hyperlinked table of contents for your HTML document automatically, choose List–Header to Unordered. This will add anchor tags to each paragraph marked with headers 2–6 in your document, and will also create an unordered list with links to each of these anchors, plac-483 ing this list on your Clipboard. The List–Files to Unordered macro does essentially the same thing, but it will repeat the process for as many files as you currently have selected in the Catalog. Instead of placing the “table of contents” lists on the Clipboard, it pastes them in at the bottom of each file.

HTML Styles

Numerous styles are available in HTML, all of which involve enclosing text in opening (<stylename>) and closing (</stylename>) tags. To apply a style, select the text first (the macros even work on noncontiguous selections!) then choose the macro representing the style of your choice. The Header- 1 through Header- 6 styles are intended to apply to an entire paragraph (which may be only a few characters long, of course); a line break will always appear following the closing header tag when the document is viewed in a browser. Other style tags can be used on smaller portions of text. Logical styles (like <em> for emphasis and <strong>) and physical styles (like <i> for italic and <b> for bold) are grouped together on the Macros menu; the macro names begin with Style-. Most HTML references recommend using logical styles rather than physical styles when possible, to ensure the broadest possible compatibility of your documents.

484 Links

In HTML, links can be made to other documents or files (using the Link—To Document macro), to other locations in the current document (using Link—In Document), or to graphics (with Link—Image). To create a link, first select the text or graphic that you want the user to click in order to go somewhere else. Then choose one of the above macros, depending on the type and location of the link you’re creating. The tags will be filled in for you, and in addition, a “dummy” address for the linked item will be highlighted so that you can simply type in the appropriate URL to complete the procedure. If you want to form a link to a location in the current document (or to a specific spot in another document), that location must already have been marked and given a name using the Link—Anchor command. For non-HTML links (e.g., links to ftp sites, gopher servers or mailto: addresses), use the Link—To Document macro and simply fill in the full URL for the location or service to which you want to link.

When using Link—Image, there are some additional things to be aware of. First, you must already have a graphic in GIF or JPEG format. The macros don’t convert graphics, and, significantly, they don’t insert the graphics themselves into your document—only the addresses of the graphics. This means that in order to view your page with graphics, you’ll have to look at it in a browser. Of course, there’s no reason you couldn’t insert a graphic manually at the proper location in your document. In most cases, such a graphic should be ignored by the web browser; if it seems to throw off your alignment, you can make it completely invisible to any browser simply by enclosing it in angle brackets (<>). The second thing to remember is that a tag which references a graphic is expected to contain not only the location of the graphic, but its alignment (top, bottom, or center), and a name for the graphic (the “alt” specification), which is shown on browsers that do not load the graphic itself. So, for example, your complete tag may look like this:

<img src=graphic.gif align=BOTTOM alt="Big Picture">

While the “align” and “alt” fields can be left blank, it is considered good form to include them.

To link a graphic to another location, select the entire graphic tag and choose either the Link—To Document or Link—In Document macro.

485 Other HTML Macros

A number of “special” macros are included that don’t fall neatly into one of the above categories. Here’s an brief sketch of some of the more important ones:

To find out about the macros not listed here, you can read the comments in the macro file itself, or consult the HTML Macros Read Me.html file that’s located in the HTML Authoring Tools folder.

It’s Two, Two, Two Docs in One!

One of the wonderful things that makes Nisus Writer especially good as a Web-publishing tool is that its files are saved as TEXT, with the formatting kept in the resource fork of the file. Since plain text files are what the Web uses, you don’t need to bother exporting your files in a special format. Any fonts, sizes, or styles you many have applied to your text will simply be ignored by the browser. But there is a further important consequence. If you apply the style Invisible to all of your tags (which is, as we saw, an option with the HTML macros), then your document can appear perfectly ordinary on-screen and on paper. Yet because the “invisibility” of the tags is not noticed by the browser, they are still interpreted correctly when the document is used on the Web. This means that, with just a bit of careful planning, you can make 486 a single document serve two entirely different purposes. Pretty nice, eh?

You can find some examples of “dual-mode” documents on the CD-ROM. Because the HTML tags are invisible, the documents look normal in Nisus Writer but still retain full formatting when viewed with a Web browser.


As electronic communication becomes more and more prevalent, it’s nice to know that Nisus Writer’s versatile and extendable tools are there to help. Whether corresponding via E-mail or working with documents on the Web, Nisus Writer can make complex or tedious tasks simple—just as it does with documents intended for print. In the next chapter, we’re going to look at a different angle of Nisus Writer: how it can be used to create interactive instructional materials.

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1999 by Joe Kissell

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