Setting web picture display options (Web Publishing mode only)

When you export a publication as a website, PagePlus applies certain global settings to determine how each image—whether drawn, pasted in, or imported—ends up as a separate bitmap displayed on the web page. (See About web picture formats below for details on the various formats.)

  • The picture conversion settings that apply to exporting graphics for web publications are separate from those that govern the Convert to Picture or Export as Picture functions. Any references in this topic to “exporting” graphics apply only to the web publishing process.

The following conversion settings are used for web publishing:

  • Each image in the publication is exported as a separate file.

  • Any image you inserted is exported as the original file, using its original file name.

  • Inserted metafiles and all other graphics are converted to JPEG images, using a compression quality setting of 10 (low compression, high detail). For these images, PagePlus automatically generates file names, using incremental numbering (IMG1, IMG2, etc.) that continues each time you export.

You can alter these settings, but before doing so you should review the “logic” PagePlus applies to publishing web graphics. First, PagePlus has one default format to which all graphics will be converted on export—but you can make exceptions to this rule by specifying that certain image types should remain as their original file. Initially, PNG is the default format, but overrides can be set for GIFs, JPEGs, and PNGs (if you set a different default format). You can check and change these settings in the Site Properties dialog. The settings there are global and apply to all graphics in the publication—but again you can make exceptions, in this case for individual graphics. To do so, you could either use the Web Export Manager to set the export format of particular images on a case-by-case basis—or convert certain images to a specific format beforehand using the Tools>Convert to>Picture… command.

This combination of global and local settings gives you almost total control (if you care to exercise it) over how your graphics make it onto your web pages!

Let’s look first at how the global settings work.

To set global export options for web graphics:

  1. Choose Web Site Properties… from the File menu and select the Graphics tab. Then set options as follows:

  2. Select a default export format under “Generated Graphics” and set any applicable options. This is the format to which all graphics will be converted on export unless you set overrides (see the next step). Note: Format options you set here are distinct from the export filter settings used by the Convert to Picture or Export as Picture functions.

  3. To override conversion for images of certain formats (inserted JPEGs, GIFs, and/or PNGs), check which format(s) to preserve under “Placed Graphics”. Checking a format means that any image using that format will stay in its original file format—exempt from conversion to the default format.
    You can set a couple of additional options for original-format images:

  4. Check Convert 32 bit PNGs to 24 bit color to improve PNG compatibility with older browsers.

  5. Check Remove spaces from original file names to revise graphic file names accordingly—useful if you find your web server can’t handle the spaces.
    You can also use the Web Picture Properties Wizard (see below) to set a local override, forcing PagePlus to export a particular image to a particular format.

  1. Check Optimize overlapping graphics to have PagePlus analyze the publication and (where a smaller file would result) output overlapping graphics as a single graphic. Whether this option makes sense will depend on your particular layout. Rather than use this global approach, you might consider using Tools>Convert to>Picture… in specific cases.

Setting export formats and alternate text for individual graphics

The Web Export Manager lets you set the export file format for individual graphics in the publication, or for objects such as rotated text that will be converted to pictures on export. These local, picture-by-picture settings override the global settings (as set in File>Web Site Properties, see above) which PagePlus uses to determine the export format. You can run the wizard to check a single, selected picture; one or more specified pages; or the entire site. For each image, you can choose a specific format (JPG, GIF, or PNG) or defer to the global settings.

Let your own eye be the judge. Your best bet is to retain the Use global settings option for all pictures to start with. Using the original global settings, this means that GIFs and JPEGs will be exported as their original files, while any others, including QuickShapes and closed shapes, will be published as PNGs. Then preview your site and determine if you want to vary the global settings or try a different output format for specific pictures. See About web picture formats below for format details and tips.

Even if you don’t change any format settings, the wizard provides a way of entering alternate text for website visitors to read while an image is downloading. Each “tag line” you provide will appear inside the image frame during the time the image is being loaded into the visitor’s web browser. Depending on the speed of the connection, this could be either a short interval or a “World Wide Wait”! It’s good practice to enter a concise, descriptive phrase describing each picture.

To run the Web Export Manager:

  1. If you’re checking just a single picture, select it first.

  2. Choose Web Export Manager… from the Tools menu.

  3. Select which object or page(s) you want the wizard to check, then click Finish.

The wizard cycles through graphics in the specified range, and displays each one in turn along with a Web Picture Properties dialog.

  1. To specify the export format for a graphic, select the format. Otherwise, leave Use global settings selected.

  2. To enter alternate text for a graphic, type it in.

About Web picture formats

The GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) file format is universally supported in web browsers for both static and animated web graphics. It’s a lossless format (there’s no image degradation) with excellent compression but a limitation of 256 colors (the GIF export filter applies an optimized 256-color palette). Use it for low-color, non-photographic images with sharp edges and geometrics—for example buttons, bursts, decorative elements, and text or chart graphics. It’s fine for grayscale photos as well. The format also supports single-level transparency. That is, any portion of the image may be either fully opaque or fully transparent. For example, you could use this to eliminate a box-shaped frame or border around a graphic. Elements with rounded edges, such as characters or shapes, preserve their contours over any background color or pattern.

The JPG or JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) file format, like GIF, is universally supported in web browsers. Unlike GIF, it encodes 24-bit images but is a lossy format depending on the selected compression setting. JPG is clearly the format of choice for full-color photographic images. For “black and white” (256-level, 8-bit grayscale) photos, it has no particular advantages over GIF. Using the default export settings in PagePlus, graphics other than original GIFs will export as JPEGs, using a default 10% compression setting. This means high detail with relatively low compression, so you may be able to use a higher setting on a per-image basis.

The PNG format offers distinct advantages over JPEG, such as “lossless” 32-bit images and support for variable transparency. Whereas GIF supports only single-level (on-off) transparency, PNG allows up to 254 levels of partial transparency for normal images. The image file includes an “alpha channel” that directs pixels in the foreground image to merge with those in a background image. Most commonly used with 32-bit and 24-bit images, anti-aliasing creates the illusion of smooth curves by varying pixel colors—for rounded images that look good against any background, not just against a white background. It’s especially useful for the small graphics commonly used on web pages, such as bullets and fancy text. Unfortunately, many of the old browsers do not fully support transparent regions in PNGs—for example, early versions of Internet Explorer renders them as gray, but PagePlus provides a “compatibility hack” to display the PNG images more faithfully.

Setting web picture display options