Fan Fiction
Converting MS Word Documents
to Plain Text or HTML

Microsoft Word has become more and more the choice of fanfic writers all over for creating their works, thanks to its plethora of features (and to Microsoft's marketing muscle). Unfortunately, Word documents (DOC files) are not web-friendly, not to mention the fact that they're susceptible to viruses (embedded in the document as macros, usually without the user's knowledge). These two are the main reasons why Outpost Daria Reborn does not accept fanfic submissions in DOC format.

Never fear; there is a solution! Word has always had the ability to save documents as a plain text file (TXT), and starting with Word 95, as an HTML-format file (HTM). It's a simple process, and best of all, your original DOC file can be kept intact for future changes; all you need to do is distribute your TXT or HTM file!

Note: these instructions pertain to the Windows version of Microsoft Word, and will work (with slight variations) with Word 95 and later. Users of previous versions (like Word 6.0) or the Mac version of Word, or users of other word processing programs, should be able to adapt these instructions to your software without too much trouble.

Also note that these instructions were valid as of Microsoft Word 97. Later versions (2000, XP, 2003, etc.) may vary slightly in the methods used, but they should be similar enough to the procedure shown here.

  1. Fire up Word and load your document (i.e. the DOC file).
  2. Select Save as... from the File menu. Don't select Save because the intent here is to save the document in a new file.
  3. When the dialog box comes up, there should be a pull-down list at the bottom called Save as type. This allows you to select the format in which the document will be saved.
  4. Click on the little down-arrow on the right edge of the box to pull the list down.
  5. Scroll the list and select the format in which you want to save the document. MS-DOS Text with Line Breaks will save it as a TXT file, while HTML Document will save it as an HTML file.
  6. Note that, for the above step, Word 2000 and later may have these file types listed as Plain Text and Web Page. Furthermore, if you're saving as HTML, and the Web Page, Filtered type is listed, use it instead of Web Page (the filtered version removes Word-specific keywords from the HTML file).
  7. Enter the filename into the File name field. You don't need to add .TXT or .HTM or anything; Word will do that automatically.
  8. Click the Save button.

That's it! Your document is now saved in a format suitable for sending to Outpost Daria Reborn and other websites. That wasn't so painful, was it? :-)

What's the better choice, TXT or HTML? That's a good question, and the answer is usually "whatever you prefer." However, keep in mind that HTML will generally preserve any special formatting -- fonts, boldface, underlining, italics, etc. -- you may use in your document. Food for thought.