Building a web site with multiple Publisher web publication files

applies to all versions, however, URL’s must be modified to suit your versions file naming convention.


Traditionally with Publisher you create a site with multiple web pages all within a single Publisher (.pub) file, known as the web publication file. If you want to keep your site all neat and tidy in one place this can be a benefit. But it has some disadvantages. For example, every time you modify the file and resave to html, all the pages and images of your pub file are recreated. Once they are recreated you need to re-upload * all these files to your web space.

If you have a pub file with ten pages in it, and you make a change on page 4, save to the pub file, then click Save As Web Page ** to have Publisher generate the web site files, you’ll get all new site files that are all re-coded due to that one simple change.

Always uploading ten pages after a change may not be problematic, but what about 30, or 50? At some point it will become to much to manage. The best way to manage a larger site is to use multiple pub files. Probably the easiest way is one web page to a pub file, but that many pub files could be difficult to manage. You could also do sections per pub file, for example you might have a section about dogs and that section has five web pages, you could create those 5 pages in one pub file. Another section about cats might be 8 pages and that is the cats pub file. Only one pub file will have the home page, this might be it’s one pub file for just this one page or you can have a pub file you consider the main section.

You’ll need to decide on the structure you want before you get started. You also need to decide on a site wide naming convention and with that you need to decide if you want to use the option to have supporting files in a sub-folder ***.

For a site that is using the multiple pub file methodology I highly recommend using the sub-folder option. As such this article will be based on using it, if you elect to not use it you will have to develop your own structure to avoid pages of the same file name trying to occupy the same directory.

The sub-folder is created by Publisher and named by Publisher according to the file name you enter during the conversion to web pages. Your home page needs to be named “index.htm” so from the pub file that contains your Home page you’ll get the index.htm file AND a sub-folder named “index_files”. If you do another pub file, say it’s a section for pages on dogs, then you would name the file “dog” and then the sub-folder will be named “dog_files”.

Plan this in advance and it’s best to keep it simple and have it make sense. For example if you have a page about Madonna, then name the file madonna.htm and the pub file that contains it would be named madonna.pub. If you have a section on music that is made of 6 pages then call the pub file music.pub and the six pages in the pub file would be saved as music.htm and result in a sub-folder called music_files.

With this web site creation methodology you only have to re-upload the section (smaller pub file) that you made a change too rather than a whole site (larger pub file).

For links that cross pub files, such as the home page in your main pub file linking to the dogs page in your dogs pub file, you need to use the URL of the page and the “existing file or web page” option in the hyperlink dialog. This is where the importance of site and naming convention planning comes in.

When you are linking pages that are within the same pub file you can use the “place in this document” option when hyperlinking. Because the links are to pages within the publisher file. When the page is not in that publisher file however then your hyperlink needs to know to jump out of that sub-folder and what sub-folder to go to and what page in the sub-folder once it gets there.

For example lets say you created a pub file called music.pub and that pub file has 6 pages. When saved as web pages you’ll have music.htm, the sub-folder music_files, and in the sub-folder – page001.htm thru page005.htm ****. If you uploaded those to www.yourdomain.com you’ll have the following 6 URL’s:

http://www.yourdomain.com/music.htm
http://www.yourdomain.com/music_files/page001.htm
http://www.yourdomain.com/music_files/page002.htm
http://www.yourdomain.com/music_files/page003.htm
http://www.yourdomain.com/music_files/page004.htm
http://www.yourdomain.com/music_files/page005.htm

If you then create a home page (index.htm) in another pub file and you want links on the home page to those music section pages you need to link to the URL of the page.

For example you might put the text “MUSIC” on the home page and then in the hyperlink dialog you select the option “existing file or web page” and in the Address box you input the URL, which in this example is http://www.yourdomain.com/music.htm


If it where to link to page 3 you would input the URL – http://www.yourdomain.com/music_files/page003.htm

If you wanted a link on that 5th page of the music section to go to your home page than you would use the URL http://www.yourdomain.com/index.htm

This web site creation methodology can allow you to achieve a sizable site with less time and effort in the long run however it requires adequate planning upfront as well as careful attention to detail.


* version 2003 has an optional incremental feature to minimize this.
** menu option wording varies by version, but is always under File menu.
*** versions 2002 and later.
**** or your own naming implementation.

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