Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003 review: Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.7
  • Setup and interface: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Service and support: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Microsoft FrontPage 2003 offers an easy-to-use WYSIWYG interface, tight integration with Office, a bountiful assortment of templates and fonts, and a helpful code editor.

The Bad Microsoft FrontPage 2003 lacks a manual, and some sites may not display properly in browsers other than Internet Explorer. ISPs must have FrontPage extensions to enable some features.

The Bottom Line If you need a midlevel Web site design app, Microsoft FrontPage 2003 is a good choice, but professionals should use Macromedia Dreamweaver instead.

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Microsoft FrontPage 2003

Microsoft FrontPage 2003 is a Web site design and management application that ships with some versions of the Microsoft Office 2003 suite and is also available as a stand-alone program. It's easy to work with FrontPage, thanks to its visual WYSIWYG editor, wizards, drag-and-drop editing, and generous assortment of templates, clip art, and fonts. As part of the Microsoft Office family, FrontPage 2003 has an interface that will look familiar to users of other Microsoft products. FrontPage's excellent hooks to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Photo Editor will allow you to painlessly integrate snippets from other programs. But bear in mind that some of the features, such as form processing, themes, hit counters, database features, bulletin boards, security, search forms, and subwebs, will work only if your host ISP offers FrontPage extensions. And if you want the latest in cutting-edge Web technology, Macromedia Dreamweaver MX is a better but pricier choice.

The working area of FrontPage 2003 is a central display braced by panels on either side. A folder list on the left lets you choose the pages you wish to edit. The multifunctional panel on the right presents themes, help, clip art, behaviors, table design, and other items that you can insert onto a page. The central area features a Split view that simultaneously displays windows for design and code. Changes made in one window are automatically reflected in the other, providing an excellent way to check the effects of design tweaks and coding. Tabs at the top of the display allow you to navigate through the entire site or individual pages. Crafting tabbed pages is easy with FrontPage. Two panels help with this task: the "Layout tables and cells" panel lets you insert and format new tables, while the Cell Formatting panel adjusts the appearance of individual cells.




FrontPage's interface is compact and efficient and a pleasure to work with.

If you need an easy introduction to Web site creation, Microsoft FrontPage 2003 will suffice. While the friendly wizard-and-template approach is fine for simpler Web sites, this app is neither easily customizable nor adaptable to more complex site creation. That said, FrontPage 2003 allows you to insert Web components such as MSN maps, Java and ActiveX elements, and hit counters. You can drag and drop Macromedia Flash content directly into the work space. You can also preview pages in multiple browsers, check a range of resolutions, and edit your list of preview browsers.




Table layout is especially easy to tinker with in FrontPage 2003.

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Where to Buy See All

Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003

Part Number: 392-02321 Released: Jan. 27, 2006
MSRP: $199.00 Low Price: $185.68 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jan. 27, 2006
  • Category creativity application
  • Compatibility PC
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