HTML for Mac Users

Thank you to Timothy Dietz [@tim_dietz], one of my spring 2011 James Madison Marketing students, for sharing his experience writing HTML with Macintosh TextEdit.  This my first semester where I had a large number of students using a Mac.  I didn’t realize that there were some issues with the PC-based HTML assignments until my Mac users started seeking help.

According to Tim, the problem was that once you save the file as .html, TextEdit opens the HTML file in RTF by default. When you try to convert it back to plain text, you get an error that says “converting from RTF will lose all formatting.” If you click OK, then only the content of the page (no HTML) will be there in plain black and white.

Tim found two ways to resolve the issue.  Option 1:  From a browser, you could resave the HTML file as .txt again, edit it, and then save it back to HTML. This could get annoying.  Option 2:  Change the settings of TextEdit to open HTML files at plain text.  The steps below describe option 2 in more detail:

  1. Click the “TextEdit” then “Preferences”
  2. Go to “Open and Save”
  3. Check the box next to “IGNORE rich text commands in HTML files”
  4. Now, when you drag the HTML file to TextEdit, the HTML code will be visible.
  5. You can now have the source text and a browser open at the same time – when you make a change – press Apple+S and refresh the browser window… you’ll be able to see your change in the text and HTML
  6. You won’t have to do this every time you open TextEdit (unless you click “restore defaults”)

Thanks again to Tim for helping all the Mac users in my MKTG 470 class.

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