How to Convert a Word Document to HTML

Three options for turning a Word doc into HTML

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When most people think about text editors, they think of Microsoft Word. Inevitably, they then wonder if they can use Word to create HTML documents and web pages. The short answer is "yes, you can use Word to write HTML." That does not mean that you should use this program for HTML, however. Let's take a look at how you would use Word in this fashion and why it is not the best course of action.

Instructions in this article apply to Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, and Word for Office 365.

Start With Word Itself to Save Documents as HTML

When you're trying to convert Word DOC files to HTML, the first place you should start is Microsoft Word itself. Ultimately, Word is not an ideal program for authoring HTML documents and creating web pages from scratch. It does not include any of the helpful features or coding environment that you would find with an actual HTML editor program.

Even a free tool such as Notepad++ offers some of the HTML-centric features that make author website pages so much easier than trying to struggle through that task with Word.

Save a Word Document as a Webpage

If you just need to convert one or two documents quickly and you already have Word installed, then using that program may be the path you wish to travel. To do this you should open the document in Word and then choose "Save as HTML" or "Save as Web Page" from the File menu.

  1. Open the Word document you want to convert to HTML. Alternatively, open a new, blank document and enter the text you want to convert to an HTML file.

  2. Select the File tab and choose Save As or Save a Copy, if you are saving an existing document.

    Screenshot of Save As on File tab
  3. Select the location where you want to save the HMTL file.

  4. Enter a name for the document in the Enter file name here box.

    Screenshot of file name in Save As window
  5. Select Web Page (*.htm; *.html) in the Save as Type list.

    Screenshot of Save as Web Page
  6. Select Save.

Limitations to Converting Word Documents to HTML

Will this work? For the most part, but again, it is not recommended. Word is a word processing program that creates documents for print or sharing within the application.

As such, when you attempt to force it to act as a web page editor, it adds a lot of strange styles and tags to your HTML. These tags will have an impact on how cleanly coded your site is, how it works for mobile devices, and how quickly it downloads.

Yes, you can use the program convert pages when you need them up on a website quickly, but it is likely not the best long-term solution for your online publishing needs.

Another option to consider when using just Word for a document you want to publish online is to leave the DOC file alone. You can upload your DOC file and then set up a download link for your readers to download the file.

Your Web Editor Might be Able to Convert DOC Files to HTML

More and more web editors are adding the ability to convert Word documents into HTML because so many people would like to be able to do this. Dreamweaver can convert DOC files to HTML in just a few steps. Additionally, Dreamweaver actually removes a lot of the strange styles that Word generated HTML will add.

The problem with using a web editor to convert your documents is that the pages don't usually look like the Word document. They look like a web page. This might not be a problem if that is your end goal, but if it is a problem for you, then the next tip should help.

Convert the Word Document to a PDF

Instead of converting the DOC file to HTML, consider converting the document to a PDF. A PDF file will appear exactly like the Word document, but it can also be displayed inline in a web browser. This can be the best of both worlds.

The downside to use PDF format is that to search engines, a PDF is basically a flat file. Search engines will not scour a PDF for content in order to rank it effectively for keywords and phrases that your potential site visitors may be looking for, which might or might not be an issue for you. If you simply want a document you created in Word displayed on a website, a PDF file is a good option to consider.