What is WYSIWYG?

Have you ever heard or seen the word WYSIWYG and wondered what it means?  The quick and easy explanation is that it stands for “What You See Is What You Get” and that is in reference to a website builder that shows you what your website looks like as you’re editing it.  The idea is that it is easier for a novice to edit a website in a graphical interface rather than one filled with lines of code.  Normally websites are built by writing raw HTML code that is then converted to a web page when you view that code in a browser like Internet Explorer or Safari.  Asking someone to understand HTML code is a little overwhelming so most web site building software these days offer the option to view it in this graphical WYSIWYG mode.  In the WYSIWYG view a user can see exactly what the page will look like in a browser and edit it directly from that view by changing text, adding images and building tables all with the click of a button from a menu that often resembles what you’d find in programs like Microsoft Word.

The InstantEcom WYSIWYG editor is a good example of this and can be seen in the example below.

What you might also notice in the example above, in the top right corner, is the option to “Switch to HTML Editor” and this allows you to work in the raw HTML code view for those who are comfortable doing that or when you need to make a fine adjustment.

For most people, a WYSIWYG editor is the way to go for building and managing a web site as it allows anyone to participate in the management of the content and design rather than just a webmaster or design professional.