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Computer Users’ Group

November 15, 2006

Creating a Start Page.

Collecting everywhere you want to go on the Internet in one place that will open when you start your computer is relatively easy. There are many ways to do it and we’ll look at two.

Step 1 is to list all of the places that you regularly visit and would like to include on your Start Page. You might want to check your history file to see where you’ve been recently so that you won’t miss anything. Even if you do miss something, it can always be added later.

Step 2 is to list those people that you regularly send email to. Perhaps most appropriate for those you send to rather than reply to; ie newsletter or group mailing.

Step 3 is to list files within your computer that you often use and want on your start page. Appropriate for a diary or book you are writing or ebook that you’re reading.

Step 4 is to decide how many categories you want to break your targets into. Genealogy, financial, mail, fun, book, diary etc.

Step 5 is to add all of these items together to get a total of the cells in a table that you’ll need to enter everything. You can always add rows or columns to a table later.

Let’s start with Word. I’m using Word 97 so yours may be different. Just find out in your version how to perform the functions we discuss. Open it and select TABLE, INSERT TABLE. In the Number of columns enter 3 and in the Number of rows enter enough to satisfy the number of entries you’ll make. We’ll settle for 2.

We’ll enter Genealogy in the top left cell and Pastfinders in the cell below. Since Genealogy is to be the column heading we can increase the size of the font and make it bold. Let’s make it 18 point and other entries, 14 point. In the next step you’re going to enter the URL for Pastfinders. If you remember it, you can just type it in but if you don’t, and you have it in your favorites you can right click it and select properties and then CTRL-C to copy it. Once you’ve determined how you will enter the URL, highlight Pastfinders and click on INSERT and at the bottom of the list, click on HYPERLINK. Type or paste the URL into the top box and press OK. Now point to Pastfinders and click. Wasn’t that hard!

The process is that simple for any other item that you want to enter. For email, enter the recipients name, highlight it and click INSERT, HYPERLINK. In the URL box, enter or whatever your correspondent’s address is. Press OK. For a file on your computer, in the URL box, enter the full address of the file as in C:/data/pastfinder/minutes. Ours looked like this.

Genealogy Email Documents





When you are done, you need to publish this as a web page. Go to FILE, SAVE AS and navigate in the top box to the folder that you want to save it in. In the FILE NAME box enter Start Page and in the SAVE AS TYPE box click the little down arrow and go down and highlight HTML DOCUMENT and click SAVE.

There are many things that you can do in Word to make that Start Page prettier. What we’ve done is make it functional; you can do more to pretty it up. You can use different fonts, add background colors or pictures, center the words and center the table.

Before we discuss how to make this your START PAGE we’ll look at using Wordperfect to accomplish the same thing.

In Wordperfect, the process is similar. Go to TABLE, CREATE and then enter the number of rows and columns. Add a heading to a column and then enter a place you want to visit as above. Highlight it and go to TOOLS, HYPERLINK. In the Document/Macro Box enter the URL and click OK. Enter email and file address using the same procedure. When you are done, go to FILE, PUBLISH TO HTML and chose name and location.

You can right click the table to set table and cell formats. I like to use some cell padding to keep some space between the text and the edge of the cell. I also like to center the table and center the text. You can also control the table size as being a designated size or a percentage of the page width.

Once you’ve created your START PAGE you have to have it open every time you start your browser. Here’s how to do it in Internet Explorer (it’s identical in Firefox).

Open your browser and type the location of the file you just created. Typing C:/ and pressing enter will bring up all of the files and folders resident on your hard drive. Find Start Page and click on it. Press ENTER to bring it up. Then, go to TOOLS, INTERNET OPTIONS, click the GENERAL TAB and under HOME PAGE click USE CURRENT. Now close IE and then open it again. Did you get your new Start Page?

If you have an “always on” Internet connection you’ll go directly to the web page that you select and your email will be sent when you send it. With a dial-up connection, how this works depends on how you have your dial-up connection set up. If you automatically dial out when you attempt to get on the Internet then you’ll get on when you click a link; otherwise you may have to establish a connection first.

Creating a Web Page.

For more serious web design there are programs designed for that purpose. Front Page Express came with early versions of Windows, Front Page may come with certain versions on Microsoft Office and NVU is free from Mozilla. It’s also on the Pastfinders CD. You can go here to get it. Click on Downloads and navigate down to the Windows Full Installer. We’ll use it to design our start page.

We’ll use Nvu to create a web page. The first page of a web site is generally called Index.htm. Note that the extensions htm and html are used interchangeably. The first page should lead you to every other page on your website, either directly or indirectly.

Before starting, move or copy all of the images and text files that you want to use into a new folder. Call My Home Page. Save the file you’re going the create in that folder. Open NVU. In the box with BODY TEXT in it, click the down arrow and select Heading 1. In the paragraph formatting box, select the format that looks like centered text. Click on the B to bold the text. Type MY HOME PAGE. We’ll create some introductory text. Next we’ll add an image by clicking on INSERT, IMAGE or by clicking on the IMAGE Icon. In the dialog box that appears you can set a lot of parameters. First, enter the image location or browse for it. Then enter some text describing the image in the Alternate Text box. That’s for those who turn off images to speed up browsing. Then you can click the dimension tab and set the size (most web browsers are 800 by 600 pixels so it’s best to scale things to fit in those dimensions.) Up and down scrolling is OK but side to side should be avoided. We’ll click CUSTOM and set it for 400 pixels horizontally and leave the CONSTRAIN box checked. We want to type some text next to the image so we click on appearance and select AT THE TOP in the box on the right. Enter 0 in the Spacing Left and Right box. Click OK when you’re done. We should have our imge to the left of the page. Click to the right of the image and enter some text.

Click below the image and press ENTER. Repeat the above only enter 400 spacing Left and right box with a new image name and description. You should now have an image on the right side of the page. Enter some text to the left of the image.

You can have somewhat more control of your image placement if you put them in a table. Create a table as above and make it 90% of window and 2 cells by 2 cells. Point to the first cell and enter the image as you did before. Add text to the right hand cell. Add a second image to the lower right cell and text in the lower left. Right click on the table as necessary and select TABLE CELLS to set the cells to 50% of the table width. Add a border if you want.

Tables are also useful for formatting text pages. You can create a narrow column for one type of information and a larger one for something else as on Pastfinders Home Page. Lets create a table with 1 row and 2 columns. Make the left column 20% of the table width. In the left column we’ll enter some links and in the right column we’ll enter some text. Create a centered heading for each column, bold it and make the text Heading 1 size. In the left column we’ll enter GOOGLE and then create a link to ,com.  In the right column, we’ll add some text. Nvu does not support importing text but text can be cut and pasted into it. Find the text that you want to enter, select it and copy it and then paste it into your page on Nvu.

We’ve barely touched on the total capabilities of Nvu but we have enough to create a crude web page. The 39 page users’ guide will lead you to other things that you can do with it. You can go here to download it.

In order to publish our web page, we need to know from our ISP what user name and password to use, where to send the file and what restrictions are placed on it. We will publish our page on the Pastfinders’ web site as pfuser.htm. Our Index page will be able to take us to this page if we can successfully send it up.

There are many ways to get your web page to the server. The most effective and easiest to use may be stand alone ftp programs like FS_ftp.exe from Ipswitch ( That program was free but now is free to use for 30 days and then costs $39.95. But Nvu and Internet Explorer have FTP capabilities. We’ll use Internet Explorer to send it up.

We’ll save the file as pfuser.htm. Remember where you save your file. Also, make sure that the images and any other files are in the same folder. It pays to organize ahead of time and create a folder where you’ll store all of the data you want to upload. Some ftp programs will force all file and folder names to be lower case so it pays to use lower case for all addresses. At rootsweb you use the following ftp address: You’ll have to find out how your ISP’s ftp server wants it. We’ll enter the Pastfinder username and password and get to the Pastfinder site. We’ll see only a folder called public_html. We’ll click on it to open it. Then we’ll open the folder containing the files that we want to send up and we’ll hold the CONTROL key down while we click on each file that we want to sent. Then we click on EDIT,COPY or press CTRL-C and then go back to IE, point to a blank space between file in the public_htm folder and either click on EDIT,PASTE or press CTRL-V. A dialog box should open to tell us the progress of the copy. When it’s complete, we’ll go to the Pastfinders’ web site and click on “here” at the bottom of the page. Hopefully we’ll get to see the file we just created.

We did see the page that we sent up. It wasn’t very pretty but it was a lesson on “how to” and not fancy design. We did the whole entire program, Start Page, Web Page and Uncle Ged in less than an hour. Email me if you have any questions.

Putting up Your Genealogy:

Rootsweb: From your genealogy program create a GEDCOM file. Then go to and in the left column find under FAMILY TREES(WORLD CONNECT), SUBMIT YOUR FAMILY TREE. Just follow the instructions at Rootsweb

Your Home Page: You should start by creating a folder for each genealogy you want to put up. I use the surname for each GEDCOM that I am going to create. You can create a GEDCOM file in FamilyTreeMaker by going to FILE/EXPORT FILE. You can select to export the entire file but if you just want a selected person choose SELECTED INDIVIDUALS, select that person in the left column and click on ANCESTORS. Then click OK. Select GEDCOM as the file type to export. You then have to turn a GEDCOM from your genealogy program into a web page (HTML). There are several programs that will do it. One of the best is Uncle GED that you can download free from . Open the program and fill in all of the required information. Tell it where your GEDCOM file is and it will create a folder called html with your entire genealogy in web format in it. It will place it in the folder that you designate.

Using Nvu or other program, create a file called index.htm that includes all of the information you want a person to know and include a link to html/index.htm which is a separate index file from the one you just created and it’s located in the html folder that was created by UncleGed. Then using the username and password provided by your ISP, send both the index.htm file that you created and the html folder up to your web page. However, you can check the file before you send it up by navigating to the index.htm file that you just created and click on it to open it in your browser. If it works, then send it up to your ISP’s server.

Then open your browser if it’s not already open and go to the URL given you by your ISP. Click on the link to the index in the HTML folder and you should see your genealogy. For each page that you visit, make sure that the address that appears in the address box is that of your ISP and not a file located on your computer as in c://file/index.htm. Many people have been fooled into thinking they are looking at something on the web when in fact it is resident on their own computer. Been there; done that. Accessing it from another computer is also a good test.