HTML Basics:
FrontPage or FP Express?

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
españolIcon: Change web
Did you want IE9+, Chrome, Firefox; Notepad? Icon: Change web

 The projects and exercises in this set of lessons are written with directions and illustrations based on FrontPage 2000/02 or FrontPage Express.

Icon: FrontPage FrontPage

FrontPage (FP)  is Microsoft's primary editor for web pages.  This program is an advanced WYSIWYG editor with lots of wizards and automatic features to help you create your web site and keep it running smoothly. It can be a bit intimidating at first.

FrontPage is part of some versions of Microsoft Office but can be purchased separately, too. In HTML Basics you will not use the more advanced features. We are trying to keep things simple to start with.

Key feature: Webs
FrontPage groups your files and folders into a webIcon: web folder.

FrontPage keeps track of how all the files inside the web are related to each other. It can tell you if your links are broken or if you have files that are not used at all. If you rename or move an image or a page, FrontPage will change all the places that link to it to match. This is seriously helpful!!!

The larger your site becomes, the more helpful these kinds of site management features are.

Example: Front Page with page open for editing

Microsoft FrontPage

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Web

Before you start...

Project 1: Browser BasicsTo subtopics

Project 2: HTML Basics
    HTML CodeTo subtopics
    About HTML
    What You Need
    Code by HandTo subtopics
    FrontPage/FPX Arrow - Subtopic open
    Icon: FrontPage FrontPageTo subtopics OR Icon: FrontPage Express (FPX)FPXTo subtopics
    Images in HTMLTo subtopics
    FormattingTo subtopics
    TablesTo subtopics
    ConvertTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics


Icon: FrontPage Express (FPX) FrontPage Express

FrontPage Express (FPX)  is a free HTML editor that comes with some versions of Internet Explorer.

Where to find FrontPage Express:

  • Full install of Internet Explorer 5 (but not 5.5 or 6)
  • Typical install of Win98 (but not Win98 Second Edition)
  • Extract from a CD: On a CD that installs IE5.0, find the file  (Many free installation CDs for AOL, MSN, and such include an installation of IE.) Copy this cab file to your hard disk and extract all the files in it to a folder on your hard disk, using WinZip or similar compression program. Find the file fpxpress.exe in Explorer and double click it. This will install FPX.
    The Help may not work, but it is not worth much anyway. The File | New command may not work. Use Notepad to create a blank htm file (as described in these lessons later) and save it. Use File | Open to open this existing, blank document and edit away.
  • Download: In Google or another search engine, search on the keywords FrontPage Express download (or FPX download). There are several sites that offer installation copies of FPX.
     I cannot vouch for their safety or effectiveness.
    FPX is not available for Windows 2000 or XP due to software conflicts, according to Microsoft.  But others have reported no problems with using FPX on those systems when installed separately. FPX was designed for Win95 and Win98. Try it on other operating systems at your own risk!

Microsoft apparently thinks you should move on and buy FrontPage rather than try to manage with the free FPX. I do, too! FPX is too quirky and limited to tolerate for long.

If you already have FPX installed and then upgrade your version of IE or of Windows, FPX will still be there afterwards.

Example: Front Page Express with page open for editing

FrontPage Express (FPX)

How to choose?

There are many good HTML editors besides FrontPage and FPX. To choose the right editor for you, you must have an idea of what you will be doing with it.

  • a simple web site just a few pages?

  • a complex site with many pages?

  • just plain HTML?

  • Cascading Stylesheets, advanced DHTML, or scripts?

  • What kind of web server will host your pages?
    Some advanced FrontPage features require special software on the web server. Often the same features can be created with scripts, if your web server allows them.

You do have to pay for what you get sometimes. FPX is free but it's not nearly as helpful and powerful as FrontPage. But then again, perhaps you don't need all that power. You decide!

What's the Difference?





  • Site management features like checking for broken links
  • Flexible publishing features
  • Preview in browser before saving
  • Create frames
  • Draw tables
  • Integrate with Microsoft Office
  • Can insert many advanced features so you do not have to script them yourself
  • Must pay for it
  • Complex
  • Inserts non-standard code to use its special components
  • Site size will be larger because of extra folders and files to track links, etc.
  • Advanced features require special software, called FrontPage server extensions, on the web server

FrontPage Express

  • Free
  • Simple interface
  • Can handle basic HTML just fine


  • Not available for some versions of Windows
  • Not part of newer versions of Internet Explorer
  • Will usually destroy code that it does not understand from scripts or other HTML editors
  • Cannot deal with frames
  • Awkward to work with
  • Very limited Help

Reminder: Page Appearance

As you create an HTML page, a good WYSIWYG editor displays it as it will look in a browser. At least it tries.

There is no way to know how a page will look in every version of every browser on every computer! So what you see is really just a good guess of what your viewer will see.

Some HTML editors let you choose a browser and others include their own browser. FPX and FrontPage use your copy of Internet Explorer.

WarningHow one browser displays your HTML page may not be how a different browser does! Netscape, in particular,  does some things its own way and is not as forgiving of errors in your HTML code as Internet Explorer is. Netscape does not want to guess what you really meant!

Now you must choose which editor you will be using for these lessons. There are alternate paths through the lessons for FrontPage and for FrontPage Express.

Look for the icons Icon: FrontPage and Icon: FrontPage for FrontPage and Icon: FPX or Icon: FrontPage Express (FPX) for FrontPage Express (FPX).