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Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) 101 – Part 2

Author: Jan Carroll
Cascading Style Sheets CSS 101
As promised, for this segment I will start with by discussing “Styles” used in Word Processing programs such as Microsoft Word and how you can relate them to “Cascading Style Sheets” for the Wide World Web. As well, I will revisit the primary reason why you should care. CSS Style sheets will save you money!

Word processing and page layout tools all use styles.

You may not notice, but the program is organizing your work as you go along using sets of formatting rules, or “styles”. Many people don’t use anything more than the “default style template” when creating documents in Microsoft Word (for example). In other words, they just go in and start typing. If they want something to appear as a large heading. They will do one of two things:

1 Select the text with their cursor and select a “style” from the list which appears to the left of the text options, or they will.

2. Select the text with their cursor and change the font size, color and/or font face.

If they chose method one, they were applying a style from the default master style sheet. If they chose method two, they created a new style that will be added to the document’s styles and saved with the document.

Each time one adds a different text style, the document size increases as the program has more things to remember about how to display the document when it is opened or printed.

Size and document structure complexity is less important an issue with a text document than it is for web pages, but it can cause problems when printing, sending to a outside printer or even having documents crashing or freezing up.

So how does this apply to the subject of CSS Typesets for the web?

I cannot emphasis this enough. CSS Style Sheets will save you money AND make you more money than non-css sites!

The best performing web sites on the Internet all use Style Sheets for this and a number of other reasons.


A well constructed website using typesets can change many aspects of a site’s appearance without touching a single web page. This may not seem a big deal if you have only a few pages, but if you have twenty, or a thousand pages, appearance changes can prove very costly and time consuming. With a style sheet, web developers such as JBCR, could change the look of a 100 page website faster than we could change 3 pages that do not use a stylesheet.

One of the huge mistakes many people make is pay a web designer a great deal of money for time and effort to build them a site, with proper stylesheet’s… and then cripple their new site’s effectiveness by abandoning the web designer’s “master plan”.

After their site is competed, they take over the updating and apply font sizes and colors etc in the web pages instead of in the stylesheet. A good portion of the money they spent on their design just went out the window. Their site’s visual appearance is no longer manageable from a master sheet. Visual appearance changes now adjusted on a page by page basis. You need to know that by doing this you are slowing your own progress to profits down. It’s “under the hood”. You can’t see the damage. The site itself may not look any different. The ROI of the site can be affected and the costs of looking after the site are the issues here.

Part III coming soon!

About the Author:
Jan Carroll JBCR Virtual Solutions Certified I.T. Publishing/Web Design & Programming, UBC http://www.jbcr-virtualsolutions.com, http://www.arclightgraphics.com

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