Web page design in Word: Nested tables or frames?

Applies to
Microsoft Word 2000

You may already know that you can use nested tables or frames to design Web pages, and that they're created with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) tags. What's new in Microsoft Word is that you can create nested tables and frames without knowing how to work with HTML tags.

Nested tables

Create nested tables - tables inside other tables - in Word with the Draw Table tool as an easy way to lay out your design on a Web page, especially when you want to display static information. Just arrange text and graphics in the table cells and hide borders so that site visitors won't see the underlying tables. Click Draw Table on the Table menu to use the Draw Table tool.

A Web page made up of three nested tables

Frames

You can create a new frames page in Word with the Web Page Wizard. Click New on the File menu, and then click the Web Pages tab. Click Web Page Wizard and follow the instructions in the wizard.

Or you can use the Frames toolbar to add frames to a document. Click New Frames Page (Format menu, Frames submenu) and use the buttons on the Frames toolbar to add frames.

What can you do with frames that you can't do with nested tables? You can use frames to display multiple pages dynamically on one page. For instance, if you want to have a list of hyperlinks visible at all times and display a large amount of scrollable information, then you can use frames.

Deciding whether to use nested tables or frames

Now that you have the choice to make either nested tables or frames in Word, how do you decide which one to use? Begin by thinking about a few basics:

  • How complex does your design need to be?     A nested table on a page is one document. A frames page is a more complicated collection of documents, one for each frame on the Web page, and an additional frames page that is invisible to the user, but which serves as a "container" that holds the collection of documents.

A frames page made up of one container document and an additional document for each each frame on the Web page

  • What kind of navigation do you need?     Do you want certain content to stay visible while document users scroll through other information on the page? If so, a frames page might work best. Shorter documents that need fewer navigational aids work well with nested tables.
  • Not all browsers are alike     Not all browsers see Web pages the same way. Tables are supported by most browsers, so most browsers will display your design as you intended it to be. Frames are a newer way to design pages and are not yet supported by all browsers. If you want to use frames, find out if your site visitors have Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or later or Netscape Navigator 3.0 or later.

See also

For more information about creating frames, type Create frames and frames pages in the Office Assistant or on the Answer Wizard tab in the Help window, and then click Search.