1 - Introduction

 2 - Quick start

 3 - Using KompoZer

 4 - Stylesheets

 5 - Scripts

 6 - Inserts

 7 - Templates

 8 - Site Manager

 9 - Preferences

10 - Publishing


This page was composed using KompoZer

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KompoZer User Guide - Appendices 1 - 5


A1    Glossary

This Glossary defines terms as used in this document. As far as possible, when terms used also occur in the HTML or CSS specifications, they have the same meanings as in those specifications. In such cases more precise definitions may be obtained there.

American Standard Code for information Interchange. Defines a set of 95 printable characters.
Basic Multilingual plane.
A small picture, or icon, which when clicked results in an action. KompoZer buttons are of various shapes.
The CSS editor that comes with KompoZer.
Cascading Style Sheets.
The second part of a style rule. Contains format details of the style.
A feature marked as deprecated is one which is considered obsolete, and whose use is discouraged. Generally CSS provides better features. Transitional Document types allow the use of deprecated features. (The ‘Strict’ type does not.)
Equivalent to what Windows calls a ‘folder’.
Document type Declaration - see appendix 3.
Document type Definition - see appendix 3.
A small part of a web page such as a paragraph or an image which can be manipulated by a browser in ways determined by the code associated with the element.
The final section of a filename (after the dot) indicating the type of file.
File Transfer Protocol. Used to transfer files to a server.
Symbols, usually small squares, on the edges of sizing boxes which, when clicked, allow the size or position to be dragged.
HyperText Markup Language. The publishing language of the World Wide Web.
Internet Service Provider.
The open source software package available at http://kompozer.sourceforge.net/, on which this guide is based.
I use the term to refer to a number of similar browsers including Netscape 6 and later, Mozilla and Firefox.
Microsoft Internet Explorer. The browser from Microsoft Corporation.
Non-breaking space
A space character which, though invisible, acts as a normal character in that a ‘word’ which includes a non-breaking space will not be split to wrap a line.
A predecessor software package on which KompoZer is based. The final version available at http://www.nvu.com/, contains bugs which are gradually being eliminated in each new version of KompoZer.
Quirks Mode
For documents with transitional doctype MSIE offers two modes of operation — 'Standards mode' and 'Quirks mode'. In quirks mode it emulates the behaviour of MSIE5. Quirks mode is triggered when the doctype does not comply with the specification and omits the DTD.
The first part of a style rule. (May be thought of as the name of the rule.)
Sizing box
A box, denoted by small squares, (Handles) which in KompoZer appears around some items when clicked. See also ‘Handle’.
see ‘Deprecated’.
A text file, that may be a part of the page in use, that describes the position, appearance or behaviour of some or all of the html elements of which the page consists. Some terms used in developing stylesheets are explained in section 4.2.1
Tab (window)
Part of many window structures which emulate the tab on a paper filing system designed to give quick access to part of the file. If a tab is clicked a new display will appear within the same window.
Tab (key)
The keyboard key intended to emulate the action of the tab key on a typewriter.
A piece of code in a web page associated with an element. Typically each element has a start tag and an end tag. Tags include the element name and are surrounded by angle brackets. E.g. <p> and </p>.
Universal character set. A set of about 100,000 characters.
Upload (ing)
The process of transferring web files from a local computer to the computer which will host them on the web.
Uniform Resource Locator. The web address of an item.
World Wide Web Consortium http://www.w3.org/ A consortium of the 500 biggest IT corporations who got together to define specifications and recommendations so that languages like HTML or CSS can inter-operate without problems on different platforms, devices, operating systems and media.

A2     References

HTML 4.01 Specification http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/cover.html
CSS2 Specification http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/
W3C http://www.w3.org/
HTML Validator http://validator.w3.org/
CSS Validator http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/

A3 Doctypes

A 3.1    Introduction

Doctype abbreviates 'Document type Declaration' which tells a browser which 'Document type definition' (DTD) to use to interpret a page. The Doctype also includes the URL of a file containing the DTD details.

The Doctype must appear on the first line of code for a page.

Note Actually on an XHTML page an XML declaration may precede this but this can result in problems with some browsers. KompoZer does not insert this declaration. Files without an XML declaration use UTF-8 character coding.

A 3.2    Doctypes supported

Note Where the icon occurs click it to reveal differences in the behaviour of Nvu if this interests you.

The Doctypes supported by KompoZer are
HTML Transitional
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
HTML Strict
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
XHTML Transitional
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
XHTML Strict
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">

Note For HTML Doctypes when Nvu inserts a document type declaration, it omits the URL This has the undesirable effect of triggering some versions of MSIE into the so called 'quirks mode'.

To set the Doctype for a new file:

On the menu bar click File > New and check the appropriate boxes.

A 3.3 Differences between transitional and strict DTD

In HTML 4.01 strict, elements and attributes which are dedicated to presentation are deprecated in favour of CSS. Therefore, HTML 4.01 strict is actually a trimmed version of HTML 4.01 and is likely to be supported by a larger number of user agents and media. The features which have been trimmed out can be replaced using CSS so that no functionality is lost.

The benefits of clear separation of content from presentation thanks to CSS implementation are:

Note 1: See Max Design article Why use CSS to separate content from presentation?

Note 2: "Experience has shown that separating the structure of a document from its presentational aspects reduces the cost of serving a wide range of platforms, media, etc., and facilitates document revisions." Ref HTML 4.01 specification

A 3.4 Choice of language and DTD

Beginners to web authoring often ask 'Which doctype declaration should I use?' That is a good and reasonable question.

When working on pre-existing documents KompoZer is capable of working with any of the doctypes supported and you may continue to use these if you want to avoid upgrading to a preferred format.

When creating a new document my recommendation is to use HTML 4.01 strict doctype.

I do not recommend XHTML 1.0 doctype declarations (transitional or strict) unless you know that you need to serve your web page as content type application/xhtml+xml.

Note Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7 will not serve a document as content type application/xhtml+xml when the proper content type for XHTML should be application/xhtml+xml.

Further explanation on why XHTML is not recommended – at least at present – would go beyond the scope of this User Guide.

People who want to know more on this issue are recommended to read the following resources:

Even if you are working on an existing document you may consider that it is worth whatever additional work would be required to upgrade to using the HTML 4.01 strict doctype. The benefits of using web standards (W3C recommendations and language specifications regarding web page authoring) are numerous, important, often underestimated and often misunderstood.

A 3.5 KompoZer capability

KompoZer can create pages using any of these doctypes. Pages created from Templates are always generated using HTML 4.01 Transitional doctype.

Note It may be possible to edit a template external to KompoZer and change the doctype so that pages created from it use the corresponding Doctype. I have not tested this.

HTML pages created will offer, on saving, the "html" extension. XHTML pages will also offer "xhtml" extension. Regarding XHTML pages, the choice is important as an xhtml file extension will lead browsers to serve such document as content type application/xhtml+xml. If you save your XHTML document with the "html" file extension, then your XHTML document will be served as text/html.

KompoZer can open and edit pages with any of these doctypes. The doctype is not editable but KompoZer will not change any doctype encountered.

When creating and editing documents, KompoZer will generate code which is appropriate to the doctype declared using only appropriate elements and attributes. This means that some features may be disabled or be inaccessible depending on the type of document encountered. Typically this may necessitate the use of a CSS style to obtain some effect which is not accessible using an HTML attribute.

KompoZer cannot convert from one doctype to another so, if the doctype is not consistent with the code on the page the result will be unreliable. It is because KompoZer cannot convert doctypes that I suggest that you continue with the existing doctype when working on pre-existing documents . If you do wish to convert a page it is possible to take content from one document to another with a different doctype by cutting and pasting in normal view. However, when you paste, you must use the 'Paste without formatting' option and reapply all the formats needed. Whether or not you take this option will depend on circumstances.

A 3.6 Browser responses

While browsers will render pages irrespective of the doctype, detailed differences in response occur.

Doctype switching by David Hammond has the results of some excellent research and documenting the responses of all the main current browsers.
Information for older browsers was provided by Henri Sivonen.
CSS Enhancements in Internet Explorer 6 gives fuller details for this browser.

A4 Installing KompoZer and extensions

A4.1 Installing KompoZer

Note Where the icon occurs click it to reveal differences in the behaviour of Nvu if this interests you.

Installing Nvu is straightforward.

  1. Download the Windows full installer from the downloads page at http://www.nvu.com/ there is no charge for this.
  2. Save the program wherever you wish. Possibly in My Documents\Downloads.
  3. Double click the file to start the installation process.
  4. Answer the prompts. You will probably want to install to C:\Program Files\Nvu

The program may be downloaded from KompoZer's web sitehttp://kompozer.sourceforge.net/.

The site does not offer an installer but J C Steele has provided one for KompoZer 0.7.10. It is available from

With an installer available:

  1. Download the Windows full installer from the downloads page
  2. Save the program wherever you wish. Possibly in My Documents\Downloads
  3. Double click the file to start the installation process
  4. Answer the prompts. You will probably want to install to C:\Program Files\KompoZer

If no installer is available:

  1. Download the Win32 tarball
  2. Save the program wherever you wish. Possibly in My Documents\Downloads. The file will have the extension ‘zip’
  3. Decide on the folder in which you wish to install the files – probably C:\Program Files\KompoZer
  4. Double click the ‘zip’ file and extract to the required location
  5. In the same location find the file `kompozer.exe’
  6. Create a shortcut to this and place it either on the desktop or the taskbar

The program may now be run by clicking the shortcut. The first time it is run it will create a ‘profile’. (See next section.)

Note With earlier versions of KompoZer you were advised not to run Nvu and KompoZer simultaneously. This no longer applies.

A4.2 Reinstalling/updating

It is not expected that Nvu will be updated after version 1.0 but you may need to upgrade from an earlier version or possibly to repair a broken installation.

Nvu stores a number of settings in files located in the 'Profiles' folder. KompoZer does the same thing and maintains a separate, independent profiles folder.

The profile includes:

The Nvu team recommend that this folder be deleted prior to installing a new version of Nvu. This means that these settings will be lost and have to be re-entered following the new installation. It is advisable to follow this recommendation.

The default profiles folder is located at %AppData%\Nvu (i.e. Something like c:\Documents and Settings\<login settings>\Application Data\Nvu). (Similarly for KompoZer.)

The procedure for updating is therefore (applicable to Nvu only)

  1. Download the latest version of the program
  2. Make sure that you have a record of your Publishing site settings
  3. De-install the program in the usual way e.g. From Start > Settings > Control panel > Add or remove Programs.
  4. Delete the profiles folder.
  5. Install the new version of Nvu
  6. Set up Site Manager and Publishing Settings

A4.3 Installing extensions

Install extensionsThere are a small number of extensions available for KompoZer including alternative spelling dictionaries.

Extensions are installed differently from normal programs. the procedure is as follows:

If you have extensions installed you may sometimes wish to run KompoZer without the extension. For this you need to have one profile which has the extension installed and one without. Managing profiles explains how to achieve this.

A4.4 Managing profiles

Set up profiles windowIn order to manage profiles you must start KompoZer with profiles enabled.

To enable profiles:

  1. Right click the shortcut icon which you use to start the program.
  2. Click ‘Properties’.
  3. On the shortcut tab .`Target’ will show something like "C:\Program Files\Kompozer\kompozer.exe".
  4. Change this by adding a space followed by -p to read something like "C:\Program Files\Kompozer\kompozer.exe" -p

If you use more than one shortcut route you have can set others in the same way.

When you launch the program you will now get a window like that shown on the right.

You can launch the program from here but you may prefer first to add other profiles.

To add a profile:

  1. Click the ‘Create Profile’ button
  2. Answer the prompts

You will be offered the opportunity of giving the profile a more meaningful name. You will also have the opportunity of selecting where you wish to store the files for the profile. If you change this to somewhere in My Documents it may be easier to manage your routine backups.

Note You should create a dedicated folder for each profile.

You can also rename and delete profiles as shown in the second figure.

Before you add any additional profiles the ‘Default profile’ will be the profile that you were previously using. It will include all the customisations that you had prepared.

Any additional profiles added will be created in a ‘virgin’ state with none of your history included. You will therefore have to add any site manager and publishing settings that you wish. Because of this you may prefer to set up additional profiles for specific purposes and retain others for more basic functions.

[I am grateful to Neil Parks on the Wysi Forum for some of the above information.]

A5 Revision History


Section Definition lists added.


PDF download page (kz-pdf.htm)  - Warning against excessive download added.


Appendix 4.1 - Change link to installer file


Minor changes to Index and Postscript
Clarification in 10.2.3


Minor changes to Sections 4.2.3,, 4.3


Sections  3.6.1 - Amended, A4.1 Installer - Added,  A7.3.3. - Added, Minor changes throughout.
pdf version of KompoZer User Guide added.

29- Sept-2007

Updated to reflect KompoZer 0.7.10 which involves changes to the way CaScadeS works. Main changes to section 4 but references to Nvu now mainly hidden to make KompoZer methods clearer.


Revised throughout.
Now incorporates KompoZer
Pages are printable
Appendices 6 (Character encoding) and 7 (Printing pages) added.
Profiles explained and more details of spelling.
Links to translations of each page
Many minor changes throughout.


Section 3.7.2 - Amended


A3.2 - Note amended


A number of minor corrections throughout


Minor changes 3.6,,, 6, 3.3.2,,,,,, 4.2.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.5.1, 4.5.2, A3.4
Rewrite 3.6.5 (subject change), 9
Corrections 3.10.7,,
Revisions 3.10.5,,, 4.2.1,,,, 4.5


Section 3.7.2 - Rewritten (was completely wrong), Minor addition 3.4.2


Minor corrections - Clarification in 3.7.2, Formatting error section 4.5.2, Wrong figure and associated text Section 7


Based on Nvu 1.0

Section 3.2.1 - Document types -- rewritten.
Section 3.4.2 - Notes reorganised, 2 & 3 added.
Section 3.4.4 - Lists – rewritten
Section 3.4.7 - Special characters – enhanced.
Section 3.4.8 - Spelling – rewritten
Section 3.5.2 - Positioning images -- revised
Minor changes. 3.6.1,, 3.16, 9.1.
Warnings no longer applicable deleted – Sections 3.4.4, 3.5.2


Based on Nvu 1.0PR

Using different doctypes incorporated - mainly section 3.2
Guide uses Strict doctype.
Top menu and linked pages added.
Section 3.10 - Forms - rewritten.
Section 3.13 - Table of Contents - added.
Section 4.2.5 - Style selectors - added.
Section 7 - Templates - largely rewritten.
Appendix 3 - Doctypes - added.
Appendix 4 - Updating Nvu - added.
As a result of above some renumbering has occurred.
Throughout, smaller editorial and styling improvements have been incorporated.


First version available directly via nvudev.org.
Translations into French and Japanese commenced.
Section 9.2 on Toolbar Buttons added.
Section 4.6 on Styles Special Cases (Links, Class selectors) added.


Based on Nvu 0.9

Nvu 0.9 new or changed features: Border Button (section 3.11), email link (, <div> element 4.5, set Icon size (9.1), Table properties (, HTML Source view renamed.
Previously omitted items added: Printing (3.3.3), Position grid (3.10.4), CaScadeS Beginners mode (, Image sizing using Property window (3.5.2).
Clarifications or corrections to: Drag and drop (3.3), Comments (6), Sizing boxes refer to ‘Handles’, other minor items.


Based on Nvu 0.81

HTML version unframed. Optimised for Mozilla-type browsers.
Section 3.6 on tables rewritten.
Section 3.10 Layers (previously Absolute positioning) expanded.
Section 7 Templates corrected and expanded.
Throughout - extensive re-work, minor corrections, clarifications and expansions.
Warnings differentiated from notes.
The writing style of the guide is being altered progressively but still incomplete.


Based on Nvu 0.7

First version available in both HTML and pdf formats
HTML version based on frames
Footnotes incorporated into main text
Major rewrites Sections 8 (Site Manager), 10 (Publishing)
Additional material Sections 3.4.6-7 (Text), 3.6.2 (Tables), 3.10 (Absolute positioning), 3.14 (HTML Editing).
Minor editorial changes throughout.