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Q&A

Q1:Doesn't Netscape Navigator let people choose their own background and text color preferences?
A1: Yes, and so does Microsoft Internet Explorer. Both programs allow users to over ride the colors you, as a Web page author, specify. Some may see your white-on-blue page as green-on-white or their own favorite colors instead, but very few people use this option. The colors specified in the <body> tag will usually be seen.
Q2:I've heard that there are 231 "browser-safe colors" that I should use on Web pages, and that I shouldn't use any other colors. Is that true?
A2: Here's the real story: There are 231 colors that will appear less "fuzzy" to people who operate their computers in a 256-color video mode. (The other 25 colors are used for menus and stuff like that.) Some Web page authors try to stick to those colors. However, true-color or high-color computer displays are increasingly common, and they show all colors with equal clarity. On the other hand, lots of people still use a 16-color video mode, which makes most of the 231 "magic" colors look fuzzy too. I recommend sticking to the 16 named colors for text and using whatever colors you want for graphics.
Q3:My background image looks okay in my graphics editing program, but has weird white or colored gaps or dots in it when it comes up behind a Web page. Why?
A3: There are two possibilities: If the background image you're using is a GIF file, it probably has transparency turned on, which makes one of the colors in the image turn white (or whatever color you specified in the body bgcolor attribute). The solution is to open the file with your graphics program and turn off the transparency. (In Paint Shop Pro, select Colors, Set Palette Transparency, and pick No transparency.) Re-save the file.

If a JPEG or non-transparent GIF image looks spotty when you put it on a Web page, it may just be the Web browser's dithering. That's the method the software uses to try to show more colors than your system is set up to display at once by mixing colored dots together side-by-side. There's not much you can do about it, although you'll find hints for minimizing the problem in Hour 9, "Creating Your Own Web Page Graphics."


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