The Official HTML Goodies FAQ

By Joe Burns


176. Q. When I try to get the JavaScript clock script for my home page it doesn't show the .txt file, all it shows is the clock. Help!

A. Using MSIE? Just download the page. The script will be on the downloaded page. MSIE will often compile text files with JavaScript contained rather than displaying the text.


177. Q. Is there a way to make an animated background with an animated .gif using either html or Java? If it is using Java, can you include a script in the response?

A. Well... yes, in MSIE 3.0 and 4.0 and Netscape 4.x. Just put in the animation as the background and it'll run.


178. Q. I am taking your information and applying each item I learn to my page. It will be a great and glorious page one day. But part of the page is a book that you use to teach yourself the language of French. There are many characters in the French language not found on our keyboard. I am aware of the & commands. How can I get these commands?

A. Not totally through & commands. However, I believe there are those type of commands available in Word or most other word editors. You may need to write your page in one of those, making sure to save as text in order to get those characters. They will display in the browser window in their text form. To see what & characters are available, see my & Command tutorial or


179. Q. I have a question about tables. How can I arrange it so one cell is colored and another cell is transparent (so I see the background)?

A. Add BGCOLOR="--" with the color you want inside the cell's <TD> command you want to be colored. The other -- do nothing with it.


180. Q. My images look different on the Web than they do in Photoshop. How can I get them to look the same?

A. It depends on a lot of factors. Even if it looks good to you, others with lesser monitors will get a "lesser" image. Bottom line, .jpg images (and .gif, to some level) will look darker when displayed on the Web. I have asked the head of the computer department where I work why. She said it was because of the compression methods .jpg uses.


181. Q. I have been trying to put a sound on my home page that will play continuously while other pages are being accessed. I have tried all kinds of html tags and none work.

A. You will need to have each link open another window for this to work. That will leave open the page with the sound commands and it will continue to play. See, as soon as you leave the page that has the commands, the sound stops.


182. Q. You helped us construct a fake image map, but never told us how to align the text next to an image map. Every time I align my text, it goes directly below the fake image map, or in between the pieces of the map. HELP!

A. Ah, try encasing the entire fake map inside a table cell. Then text will see it as all one entity. Without the "cell" around the fake image map it's just a series of images and reacts as you say.


183. Q. I would like an image that is narrow and tall to run down both sides of my page. I get the left side automatically, but I'm having trouble getting it down the right side so that it is even with the left side. Any ideas? Maybe I shouldn't even be doing it with a table, I don't know. Please help!

A. Create an image like the side line background except put color on both ends. It'll be a little more difficult to get the table correct, but you'll get it. Set the page up as if it will always be displayed on 600 by 800 monitors and create the table on that. As for the image, make sure the color off to the right goes all the way to the end so you don't get three stripes on larger browsers.


184. Q. Hi, my name is Gary and I am having a hard time getting your ticker tape to work. I copied it directly from your page exactly how yours is. I've done everything you told me to do and every time I get a JavaScript error. It says ticker tape is not defined!

A. Are you editing the script in a text editor without any margins? Not just margins set to their widest point? You have to do that. That error also had a line number -- that line has been jumped down too soon. You cut it off in the middle by using margins. Look at the source code of the one I am using that works -- you'll see the text is supposed to be all on the same line.


185. Q. Is it possible to control the size of the text on a clickable button? I have created these buttons that I need but they are a bit bigger than I would like.

A. In Netscape and IE 4.0, yes. You surround the button with the font size commands.


186. Q. I have enough people coming to my site and believe that I could start taking in advertising. The problem is, I do not know how to make people come to my site to advertise. Do I need to register to a search engine making people aware that sponsors could advertise on my site?

A. Actually, advertisers will not always come to you. They usually have to be brought there by an agent or by your own doing. You should really try to find a company that will represent and sell advertising for you site.


187. Q. I have a program that will give me the coordinates of the image I have selected. I just wanted to know, what is on the .map file? Is it html or what?

A. No, the .map file is a text file simply outlining the coordinates for the image.


188. Q. Have you seen the polls on such sites as ESPN's Sportszone where you answer a question by selecting one of several option buttons and then the page reloads with a graph showing the current results and total votes in place of the original question? If so, I was wondering if there is a script out there that I can use to have my own poll on my own site. Thanks for your time and any help you provide.

A. They don't use a script -- but rather a PERL language CGI. Is there a local college or university around? You may be able to get one of the people there to write one for you. I have three tutorials on CGIs if you want a basic introduction to them.


189. Q. I tried to write a page in Windows 95 notepad, but when I try to view the same page in Netscape on Win 3.x, nothing comes up. I wonder what would have gone wrong there? Can you suggest something, please!

A. I assume you know that W95 and 3.x have different numbers of letters after the dot. If you used four (like .html) on the W95, it would become a tilde name in 3.x. If you know that and still it won't display I would suggest you may have saved it as .txt and that often won't display in MSIE as text but rather will compile. Check that.


190. Q. Can you look at my page?

A. No. After catching two viruses by going to unknown addresses, I don't do that any more. Just explain your problem to me.


191. Q. Does HTML have a version? (question posed 12/26/97)

A. Yes; 3.2 is the current one. 4.0 is in the mix and may be standard by early 1998.


192. Q. My page refuses to show the <Blink> commands. Is this just IE playing about or what?

A. It is actually MSIE not playing at all. It does not understand the blink command and there are, at the moment, no equals for it. I would still use it, though. Surfers using Netscape will get the effect.


193. Q. After I open my html document in Netscape a few times, it won't update what I wrote no matter what I change. It keeps displaying what I wrote a few changes back.

A. The page is "cached." You have opened the same page so much that the browser has a copy in its cache and doesn't see the need to open what is on the disc. That's why you keep getting the old page. I'm told you can hold the shift key down while hitting reload to get out of it. If that fails, exit Netscape and reopen it and you'll be up and running again.


194. Q. I just got my domain name. I have full cgi-bin and would love to use the counter script you have. I could put an ad for html Goodies on my site or something along those lines.

A. You mean run the counter off of my site? Actually I just took it down because so many people were attaching to it. It was slowing the site down. You are more than welcome to take the script itself and install it on your own site. You find it at counter.html.


195. Q. I thought I followed your instructions exactly in making a table. But in mine, the table border only goes across the top and down the left side. The links work. The cell spacing is good, but there is not any padding on the inside the table. Hope you can help.

A. Try changing the background color. The border may be there but shadowed.


196. Q. I put an image for e-mail for people to click on to e-mail me. I tried it but it does not work. This is the command I used: a href=""

A. You forgot to add a colon before your address: mailto:xxxxxx@...


197. Q. I wrote you a couple of weeks ago about the trouble and the lack of precision of your Primer#3 (on the FONT SIZE command). If you had just specified that there really are only 7 different sizes available, I wouldn't have searched for 12 so long.

A. But, there are twelve. -6, -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6. That's 12. There are only 6 H command sizes -- 1 through 6. Where do you get the 7th?


198. Q. There is an applet (stock ticker tape) that exists on a certain Web page, that I wish to run from my Web page. Is this possible to link my page to just this applet?

A. It is unless they have blocked out other servers. But that doesn't mean it's right. Ask permission first.


199. Q. When I use IE4 the frames and page look really great, but when I go into them with Netscape, no frames. I have done all that I can think of to sort this problem out and have failed. I was rather hoping that you could please help sort this problem out.

A. Netscape is very unforgiving. I'll bet you are missing a /FRAMESET at the end. Add a couple and I'll bet it works.


195. Q. Where did the good JavaScripts go?

A. You mean the ones that did nasty things to people like shutting down their browsers and such? I took them down and refuse to accept any more.


196. Q. What happened to your images? All of my links to your stuff are giving me the broken image deal.

A. You mean all the free ones? I zipped them all up. The reason is because so many people had been attaching to them that the server was being slowed greatly. I feel keeping the tutorials coming in quickly is the most important thing.


197. Q. Is there any way to make viewing the source not available for the viewers to see? Or to make it so you have to know a password? Thanks in advance!

A. Well, yes and no. There are programs out there that claim to jam the code. One is called "jammer" in fact. But it is shareware and if you use it, the truly industrious person will simply get the program and re-uncode it. The Net is a very tough place to hide things.


198. Q. I have an image gallery of thumbnail pics and they take forever to load and every time you move the page down it takes them even longer to get the pic up. Is there a certain HTML code to make them load up faster?

A. Not to load faster. I believe you're looking at an actual smaller version of the picture on other pages. Grab a shareware program called PaintShop Pro and use it to lessen the size of the image, or make a second smaller version. Consider preloading your images.


199. Q. I am in a band, we want to copyright our logo and our lyrics. Do we have to copyright each song separately?

A. You cannot copyright a logo -- you must perform a trademark. Yes -- each song should be copyrighted separately. I would at least.


200. Q. I have heard that if you make a copy of your work and send it to yourself in the mail, it will be copyrighted. Is that true?

A. That's called a poor man's copyright. Anything is copyrighted the moment you say it is by affixing a copyright logo. The mailing of it to yourself only stands to set a date when you copyrighted it. If you are darn serious about this, do it though the government copyright office.


201. Q. I would like to know the maximum amount of data in bytes or KBs that can be sent using the POST command with forms on an HTML Web page.

A. It depends on the e-mail system sending it I would assume.


202. Q. I need help making an animated .gif. I know how to do it the only problem is I can't manipulate a .gif to do a 360. If you know a way how would you please tell me?

A. You can't get the image to turn for you. You will need to draw out each cell. It takes a bit of artwork. See this for more info.


203. Q. I just picked up the script for the JavaScript lottery number picker. It shows up perfectly on my site, yet it doesn't pick the numbers. When you press the button, nothing happens. I've tried everything so far. Please help!

A. Does it work on my site? If so, download the page that has it and then cut away everything you don't need and add your stuff.


204. Q. Is there another image map program besides the MapEdit?

A. A few of my friends swear by MapThis.


205. Q. Is there a possibility that I could get a text version of your tutorials? I want to learn HTML but I don't have enough disks to save all of them and I don't have enough time to spend on-line.

A. No. I'm sorry, I do not hand out my work in text or Zip form. The reason is because I keep this site free through advertising. If I handed everything out, it would put a serious dent in my income. It does cost to keep this site going and I do not make a lot of money doing it. I'd basically be putting myself out of business. However, the HTML Goodies book is in stores and you can get yours for less on-line. Reserve your copy today at a 20% discount!


206. Q. We would like to start a course for our students on Computer Internet programming. I've gotten many suggestions from the Computer Department, but I need your personal opinion about it. Can you tell me what language we should start with?

A. I am not a computer professor, but if I were to pick a language I would start with either JavaScript or getting into Cold Fusion. They are very common and quite useful. Plus they are a good basis for other languages. PERL would be my next choice.


207. Q. You talk about setting the resolutions to 640x480 and I can't see anywhere in your site how to do this.

A. You do it in your own computer rather than through HTML. Go to Control Panel, then Display. You'll see it there.


208. Q. Should I submit all of my pages to search engines?

A. Well, if you have the time, I guess. All kidding aside, you should really only submit the main pages and pages that are truly different from each other. Submitting pages that contain photos of your family reunion might be a waste of time. But I would make sure to have the home pages in and registered.


209. Q. You said with IE it was easy to put text on the sideline by typing in LEFTMARGIN="---" But, with Netscape, you use the OL commands. Do the OL commands work with IE?

A. Yes. I just do it more out of habit than anything.


210. Q. I'm interested in having a couple of photos scanned. In addition to the photos, I want to get the sleeve of a CD scanned for a Web site about this particular band. Can you do that?

A. Actually, I can't. Not legally anyway. Those sleeves are copyrighted. Might you have permission from the band?


211. Q. I have a frame page and I can't get any source pages to come in. It all looks correct. Any ideas? (code was included)

A. You are calling for files with .htm extensions. Are the actual source pages .html? That would do it.


212. Q. Do all mail programs read HTML now?

A. No. It depends on the program. Mine will, but it's a rather high version of Eudora. I'd stick with text.


213. Q. Is there a way to create a numbered list down the left-hand column of a table in Netscape? Putting an OL above where I want to start the list and putting an LI in the first cell of each row works in IE 3.0, but not in Netscape. Netscape seems to want an OL right in front of the LI. Any help you could provide me would be much appreciated.

A. Yup. That's a problem. Netscape tables are cells unto themselves. You'll need to place the numbers yourself. That's one area where MSIE has Netscape beat!


214. Q. I know that Yahoo and other search engines go out and search for Web pages... how do you make it so it doesn't find any of your Web pages except your index.html, or so if any Web page is called it loads up in your frames page?

A. Only register that one page. The frame page. Don't register the other source pages.


215. Q. I was wondering if it is possible to get my own bitmap picture onto my Web site. If so, how?

A. BMP shows up in Explorer 4.0 (and 3.0, I believe) when used in the IMG command. I would still get a .gif converter from the Net and go with .gif format. That way you're sure it will work in all browsers.


216. Q. I'm trying to get your counter cgi to work. I get this error:
"403 Forbidden"
"Your client does not have permission to get URL /cgi-bin/FormMail.cgi from this server."
What the heck does that mean?

A. It means what it says; contact your server people for permission.


217. Q. The chat room I hang out in used to allow us to post pics but now it does not. At first we had found a way around this but they fixed that as well. I was wondering if you had any ideas I could try.

A. Well, it sounds like they don't want you posting pictures if they've stopped you twice. I wouldn't know how to get around their items now.


218. Q. I am doing a school project on HTML and I was wondering if you knew where it originated. Do you know where HTML originated?

A. Yup. CERN in Switzerland. If you want to read enough about HTML and its history to make your brain pop, go to


219. Q. I was at your site. And I noticed all of the awards you got. Well, how do you get them? Do you have to go to a certain site or something? Cuz I have wanted to get awards for my site too. Thanx a lot!

A. I don't really know actually. I have never solicited an award from anywhere. They just show up. People are wonderful that way.


220. Q. I offer to my customers defensive handguns for personal protection along with gunsmithing. I would like to do a video of a firearm in action (firing along with comments on safe use). About 30 to 45 seconds. I saw how you can click, download, and then view the picture. Very nice. I want good clarity and sound. Once I film the action and send it to you how do I get it on the page? That is all that is holding me up.

A. I would digitize the video and it would then become its own file. Say, gunsafety.avi. That file would be placed on your site like a normal file. Think of it as a large image if you will. You then allow people to view it by clicking on it.
<A HREF="gunsafety.avi">Click Here for A Gun Safety Video</A>


221. Q. Are all the named colors also on the 216 color list? If not, why? It's seems common sense would dictate they would, but sense is not always so common. Thanks.

A. Seems that way, huh? The list I give of code names are the only 140 in existence at the moment.


222. Q. I was wondering if you could please tell me how to put text in the browser, on the top, in the blue bar (Blue bar in Netscape Communicator).

A. Yes; put text between <TITLE> and </TITLE> just below your first <HTML> command.


223. Q. Is it possible to get a chat room without a Java-enabled browser?

A. Technically, yes. As long as a CGI is doing the work for you. Chat rooms require some type of interface between all attached. HTML alone cannot do the trick. Java is fairly common in creating that interface, but I've also seen PERL scripts (CGIs) doing the trick.


224. Q. Okay, I'll be the one to say it. JavaScript is not a consistent standard and [some of] your scripts don't work properly with Explorer. There, I've done it. It seems such a pity that a site with such obvious good intentions and style should somehow ignore this issue (or hide it away somewhere so that I haven't found it despite lots of digging)!

A. I hope you feel better. A good rant often helps. More specifically, Explorer doesn't work with JavaScript 1.1 commands. 1.0 is okay with Explorer because it is close enough to VBScript.
      I haven't put anything up regarding the concern because besides you and a couple of other people, no one has really lost their cool over it. I wouldn't call it a pity.
      Maybe something should be put up concerning it, but it hasn't been as much of a problem as you seem to think it is. (From Joe: Actually, I did take this to heart, and a page is posted to explain this in a little more detail.)


225. Q. I want to align 2 images, have 2 images right next to each other. One on the left and one on the right, and I can't figure out the html code for it.

A. You mean both left and right images up against each other? Just put the two image commands next to each other. Make sure not to have each on a separate line or a space will be added.


<IMG SRC="image.gif"><IMG SRC="image.gif">


226. Q. "VALIGN" -- What is that?

A. V align stands for vertical align. This is the alignment of a table column's information up and down.


227. Q. Can it hurt to declare that you're using HTML 4.0, if you end up only using 3.2 commands? And where can I find out which commands belong to which version?

A. Not really. All the 3.2 commands certainly are covered except three that have become DOA and I doubt you'll use them. <XLP> is one. Go to for all the latest on HTML 4.0. See this as well.


228. Q. Sometimes when I look at the view source in Netscape, things are blinking. What is that?

A. Netscape has detected an error and where the blinking starts is where the error is. It's actually very handy for locating tough problems. I use it a good bit. I'm surprised you have blinking text, but don't notice a problem on your page display. The two usually go together.


229. Q. I was just reading your tutorial on fake image maps, and I was wondering how you split up the image with a graphic editor?

A. I make the image then cut away a piece and save it under a new name. Then open the original image again, cut away the next piece and save it under a new name, and on and on. Watch the pixel numbers very carefully. You can make perfect crops.


230. Q. How do you create a form, that will immediately send the e-mail as soon as the person has filled out the form?

A. You mean, as soon as the last letter is entered, off it goes? You got me.


231. Q. What does the <strong> tag do?

A. It's an equal to the <B> command.


232. Q. I was wondering if you could tell me how to compress images that I want to put onto my site.

A. Compress? You mean Zip up? Use WinZip, available at


233. Q. When I look at your page of sample colors with hex codes, my display is clearly not always what you intended. For example, "aliceblue" is green, "azure" is white, "dimgrey" is dark red, etc. I'm using Netscape 3.0 with an otherwise perfectly functioning desktop using Windows 95. Display is configured for 256 colors. What's going on here?

A. Your screen is giving you the red, green, and blue closest equal. You're seeing what's known as "dithering." Set your monitor to 16 million colors and the problem will stop. You can always change it back.


234. Q. I ran an animated .gif through a transparency program and it's broken now. What gives?

A. Well, you broke it. Transparency cannot be performed after the animation is compiled. It must be done at each image's level when you create the animation. See my animation tutorial for links to animation programs. They will allow you to re-open the animation and then you can do the transparency from there.


235. Q. I want to put a background image into my table borders. How can I do it?

A. I don't know that you can. I tried adding a few commands, but no dice. It would be neat though, huh?


236. Q. How do I overlap pictures?

A. You mean using the browser? On PaintShop Pro? In the browser, use layer or DIV commands. I have tutorials, too. In a graphic editor, it's easier. Simply copy one image like you would copy text in a text editor (choose COPY from the edit menu) and paste it into the other. Then save the new image under a third name.


237. Q. Thousands of things, but for now... just one! I can't seem to get anything to come across in my Netscape Communicator. It comes across in exactly the same format as I have typed it in the clipboard, and as I have saved it on my A: drive.

A. That sounds like you have saved it with the .txt extension rather than .html.


238. Q. I'm a member of the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum and a local ISP has given us a free Web page. A volunteer set it up for us, but he is busy and so our site is fairly simple ( So I am trying to learn how to do this so I can make it a GREAT site--worthy of Hoover Dam!

A. So you're making a dam site? Ha! I kill me.


239. Q. I'm a user of your htmlgoodies site and like it a lot. Congratulations on a great job. I'm currently developing a network of sites and was interested in acquiring htmlgoodies from you if you would be interested in selling the site.

A. I must say that I am flattered, but I am not in the position of wanting to sell the site. (Note: HTML Goodies was purchased by EarthWeb, Inc. in March 1998.)


240. Q. Hi, see I have a homepage and I add new things almost every day, but this boy keeps on copying it, I mean every time I get a new page he goes and makes the exact same thing! Sometimes with the same words and everything, then when I told him to stop he went and got every one of his friends against me. I was wondering how I could make it so that he couldn't go to my page any more, is there anyway I could do that? Thanks.

A. Well...

     Is your page copyrighted? I mean, was there a copyright on it when he began stealing? If so, you could go to the server people that he is on and ask them to take action. If that fails, you could take the case to a lawyer who could write a letter. Is it all worth it is the question.


241. Q. I'm wondering what I need to make a banner. A good one, for example on your main page that little spider on the Web, something like that. I'm looking for a good banner creator. Some help please?

A. All the banners on my page were made using two programs. Both are shareware: PaintShop Pro and GIF Animator.


242. Q. I have a bunch of shareware and I keep getting those little messages that keep asking for $25 bucks. I understand there are codes that people have that get rid of those things without paying. Do you have any?

A. I don't need them. If I use a piece of shareware on a fairly regular basis, I pay the shareware fee. What you're asking for is illegal.


243. Q. I always wanted to learn to write in html. My first program was in Word and didn't work. Next I tried Notepad and it worked. Why?

A. Notepad saved the text only. Word saved other things like margins, tabs, and a few other items. That messes up the document in the browser window.


244. Q. I was working on my page, but I couldn't figure out why some of my text is bolded. I didn't put a <B> command on it. Is it because I have a <H1 ALIGN=CENTER> command?

A. H commands do bold text -- try using font commands to get a thinner text.


245. Q. I know you can change link color on a single page, but is there a way to have 2 different colors of links on the same page? I'd really appreciate any help you can give me on this.

A. You can change individual link colors on Netscape or Explorer 4 level browsers only. Just change the font color using this code format:


<font color="---">link</A>



246. Q. I printed out your Hex and Word Colors Codes, and they didn't print out in color. Just black type in the color squares. "" is in red so my printer is working. If there is a trick to get the color, what is it?

A. The only way I got them to print in color was to set my printer to its highest print level. It was called "draft."


247. Q. I have a few spreadsheets on Excel 7.0 that I would like to have on my Web page. I would also like for other students who visit my Web page to be able to download the information on Excel to their own disks. How do I go about putting up the spreadsheets on the Web?

A. You can put the XL files right up for downloading -- just make an HREF link right to the file. Since the file isn't a common Internet format, the browser will not know how to handle it and ask the person what they want to do with it. They choose download.


248. Q. Do you have any HTML Tutorials about other Font Types besides the face, the size, and color tag? I was thinking about font tags like (PRE) (TT) (BIG)?

A. Not really. These are very common. Look at the full list of HTML commands toward the end. They are listed there.I guess maybe a quick little deal might be a good idea.


249. Q. Hello! I have made my Web site with ****** and there isn't a place to just create a cgi-bin directory. I was wondering what I should do, I followed your tutorial but I couldn't manage to figure it out.

A. If you cannot make a directory, then you cannot follow the tutorial. Look for a server that is more open to letting you make and place files.


250. Q. Someone told me I should "empty my cache." Should I? Better yet, what's a cache?

A. A cache is where browsers save images and text files they are displaying. When you log into a page, the things that display are saved to your hard drive. Where they are saved is called the cache. That said, yeah, empty your cache. I do it by hand. Go into the directory where you find Netscape, open the directory. Open USERS, Find your file. There should only be one. Open it (earlier Netscape browsers will display the cache folder right at the top level so you may not have to do that step). There should be the cache. Open it. Delete every item except the first one labeled FAT (file allocation table). You'll need that. Send the rest right to the trash can. That's that. Some may state that you can do the same thing by going into the Preferences or Option section of the browser and clicking a button. If so, great. I do it by hand.


251. Q. How do I make links that change color when the mouse passes over them?

A. Take a look here.


252. Q. How do I get images to change when the mouse passes over them?

A. Take a look here.


253. Q. How do I make a search engine for my site?

A. Take a look here.


254. Q. Where can I find a DHTML tutorial?

A. Take a look here.


255. Q. How can I make things look the same on Netscape and Internet Explorer?

A. It ain't easy and can't always be done, but to find some things you can do, take a look here.


256. Q. How do I password protect my site?

A. Take a look here.


257. Q. How do I eliminate the blue border around linked images?

A. Take a look here.


258. Q. How do I turn off underlining on my links?

A. Take a look here.


259. Q. How do I create a background?

A. Take a look here.

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