HTML the way to go! A document-to-page paradigm shift needed.

I love WORD and PDF file formats, however!

Our appetite for web-based content is growing and what everyone should realise is that WORD and PDF formats are not a friendly format when viewing content on small form factor devices like mobile phones. In today’s modern world and workplace, it is simply not good enough to leave your content in WORD and PDF formats.

I look at the typical SharePoint Intranet today and the majority of the content is WORD and PDF. Far too many intranet sites contain just links to WORD and PDF documents. A paradigm shift is needed away from WORD and PDF to HTML.

Generally speaking, everyone loves WORD and PDF when it comes to editing and printing a document. It’s hard to dispute this because these formats (in their nature) are paginated formats built specifically for a page size and therefore printing.

Given most content starts its life in WORD, that’s where it tends to stay or it is saved as PDF in order to stop users from editing it. I love WORD for editing and printing and there is no better toolset. However, with regards to publishing and viewing this content, we need to change our practices.

I’m pushing for a fundamental paradigm shift and I want everyone to realise it is important to care about the publishing of content in to the appropriate viewing formats, especially in a mobile device driven world.

If your justification for having WORD and PDF renditions of content is for printing, fair enough. I agree, but have these attachments available via separate links, but please, not as the primary viewing format. These formats do produce the best printed results, but let’s face it, we are all trying to print less with most us celebrating each day without the need to print. I’m not saying the paperless office is here, far from it, but I’m hoping you will agree that printing is becoming less and less relevant and good viewing formats are critically important. This is a key point in the paradigm shift; published content needs to be in an appropriate viewing format, and this is most likely HTML.

Viewing formats – a paradigm shift is needed

We are being disrupted daily with new modern workplaces and new ways of working, so effecting this type of change shouldn’t be insurmountable for content creators, as long as they agree what is at stake if they don’t publish to HTML and leave their content in WORD and PDF formats.

There are quite a few issues with leaving content in WORD and PDF that I’m hoping sparks paradigm shifts in how people publish content. For more information, please refer to 8 reasons to covert Word and PDF Content to HTML for specific reasons to publish to HTML.

I’m not suggesting all content be converted to HTML, however, I think users are not going far enough when it comes to publishing. My guess is that the process of converting WORD and PDF content to HTML is too difficult for users. How many times do you see links to WORD and PDF documents that should be published as web page content? I’m guessing, all-the-time!

It’s just too difficult for users to create HTML

Editing a document in WORD is easy, however viewing a WORD document on a phone is not that friendly. The same goes for viewing a PDF documents on a phone.

Even with modern HTML editing tools, I consider the process of converting these formats to HTML to be way too difficult for most knowledge workers.

When creating a HTML page using a WORD document, you need to:

  1. Create the web page
  2. Upload the associated images prior to referencing them in the HTML
  3. Cut-n-paste the text from WORD to the HTML editor, hoping none of the formatting artefacts are injected as inline style in to the HTML.
  4. Adjust any formatting with the HTML editor in the browser hoping the edit play nicely.
  5. Add the images back in to the HTML and re-format.
  6. If the editor isn’t working in the browser, you need to find another editor.
  7. Etc, etc.

In summary, I see myself as an advocate for fit-for-purpose processes. Where is makes sense for content to live in WORD or PDF, leave it there. However, too often, these formats are where the thinking ends even though this thinking needs to be challenged, and I’m hoping this may make you think about the final published destination for your content.

Live Publish – a solution to easy HTML (and modern page) publishing in SharePoint

If you are reading this thinking that HTML publishing is too difficult, please consider our WORD to HTML add-in. This is available from the Microsoft Office Store at (Live Publish – Office Store )
For more information, please contact us at