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Saving Ebooks with Internet Explorer


HILE Internet Explorer displays the HTML ebooks on this site as well as any browser, it has a peculiar quirk which can cause problems with internal navigation links when the ebooks are saved for off-line reading.

When saving a web page, IE gives users several choices for how to save it—“Web Page, complete,” “Web Archive, single file,” “Web Page, HTML only,” and “Text File”—with “complete” and “HTML only” probably being used most often. When a file is saved as “HTML only,” IE saves the text and markup perfectly, but none of the images on the page. To save those too, most people use “Web Page, complete,” which is the default option. Then IE saves all the images in a sub-folder and modifies the image links in the HTML file to point to where the images were saved.

That’s what it’s supposed to do. Unfortunately, when files are saved using the default option, IE also changes internal navigation links, such as in a clickable table of contents, so that they no longer work properly. For example, a link in a table of contents might be written like this:

<a href="#I">CHAPTER I</a>

When you click on it, the browser will jump down to where a bookmark like this is located:

<a name="I">CHAPTER I</a>

When IE saves a file as “Web Page, complete,” for some strange reason it inserts the URL for where the file is located on the web into all the internal links. In the case of a file named “ebook” saved from this site, it would change

<a href="#I">CHAPTER I</a>

into something like this:

<a href="http://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/ebook.htm#I">CHAPTER I</a>

So whenever you clicked on one of those internal links to move around the ebook, IE would try to connect to the original file on the web instead of going to the correct spot in the copy you saved on your computer.

Of course, ebooks with no illustrations can be saved as “Web Page, HTML only” without any problem. For the ones with illustrations, an easy way to get around this quirk is to download the zip file that’s available for every illustrated ebook. Unzipped, it will put the HTML file and all the images in their own sub-folder to keep them together.

For anyone who doesn’t want to download the zip file for whatever reason, e.g. lack of software for unzipping them, another way is to save the ebook as “Web Page, complete” in order to save the images. Then save the file again as “HTML only,” but save it in the sub-folder that was created for the images. Then all the images will load properly when it’s opened in the browser, and all the internal links will work.

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