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HTML, XML, and CSS

Microsoft Excel and Word both have the ability to save a document as HTML. They can also reopen that document and it generally looks exactly like the original, even if HTML does not provide the level of granularity required to produce the original document in standard HTML. This extra functionality is provided by additional custom attributes on standard HTML tags, embedded XML with the documents, and extended use of less-common properties as well as custom Office-specific properties.

This extra information is commonly referred to as junk by most Web developers who have ever seen the results of an Office application's Save As HTML command. However, for our particular needs, this extra information is vital in reproducing custom Word and Excel files that take advantage of functionality not supported by straight HTML and CSS. In this section, we'll review examples of creating Word and Excel files through this technique. We'll also examine some of the Office-specific attributes, XML, and CSS properties, and identify a few drawbacks or areas of concern that can arise with this technique.


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