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I am in the process of writing a book using word. It is about 70% complete. I am putting the work in progress online in order to get feedback. As I update or add new chapters I do a "save as" html and upload to the site. It seems that the html is such that it expands or shrinks the line length according to the current width of the browser window. This often results in lines that are rather long and it makes it rather awkward to read. It makes it difficult to visually scan from the end of one line back to correctly find the start of the next line. The reader will often not realise that the word wrapping is flexible and will assume that the window can not be made narrower to fix the problem. What I would like to do is somehow arrange that the lines should be constrained in length. I can imagine that there may be a variety of ways of doing this - but I am looking for the easiest one to achieve. I don't want it to involve many complex html edits to the chapters because I want to be able to update them frequently. So I either want a very simple edit - or perhaps something more complex that can be done as a one off on the "home" page for the book - maybe I could have the home page force a certain width for the browser?

The book is here

EDIT: I split the document into chapters manually by cutting and passing single chapters into an empty word documents and saving as html from there.

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Word seems to publish your book as a dozen HTML files. I would edit these to include a common style sheet. After <head> insert

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="mystyle.css" />

Then create mystyle.css on the webserver with suitable contents such as

p {width:250px;}

Styles cascade, so this may get overridden by the large chunk of CSS Word embeds in each page. From what I've seen of your page it wont be a problem, if it is - you may need to edit in each file the place where it says /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal { and add the width:250px there.

Having it in a single mystyle.css makes it easier to experiment with styles that affect all chapters at once.

If you want to know more about CSS, W3Schools have an excellent tutorial

Have you considered using something like markdown and LateX to produce high quality HTML and PDFs from a simpler text source?

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fyi: I split the document into chapters manually by cutting and passing single chapters into an empty word documents and saving as html from there. – Mick Dec 4 '10 at 11:47
I used latex many many years ago. But I would not consider using it now. Word has the advantage that I can send the entire book to anyone in the world and they can start reading it in seconds using software already on their PC's. – Mick Dec 4 '10 at 11:59
OK Mick, just saying, I'd only use LaTeX as a black-box to create a PDF because I suspect more people have up-to-date Acrobat or equivalent than have Word 2010 or latest OpenOffice. But .doc is pretty ubiquitous, to each his own. – RedGrittyBrick Dec 4 '10 at 12:07

Change the View to Web Layout while editing. After changing of the format the document uploaded it.

How to format the document:

Easiest, however kind of out-of-date, way to it with Word requires using tables. Add one-cell table to the document. Make the table boarders indivisible and make it the width to the wanted size. Then post your text in it.

How-to Change the View:

  • Select View tab or menu
  • Select Web Layout
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How do I "changing of the format" to force a maximum width? – Mick Dec 4 '10 at 11:12
Added a way to do the formatting. @RedGrittyBrick CSS answer is the standard of way to add style (or format), but does requires a little HTML/CSS knowledge and understanding. – SgtOJ Dec 4 '10 at 12:14
I updated my answer to include how to format. I say that RedGrittyBrick is the standard way to add style or format to a HTML document. But does require a little HTML/CSS knowledge. – SgtOJ Dec 4 '10 at 12:17

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