The place where Independent working men and women work

Help - Convert from Front Page to Expression Web or other software

We can help you convert your Front Page Web to Expression Web please use the contact page. 

Update 2013:  Expression Web 4 is now Free see our review pageAlso see Why I should use Expression Web at the end of that review page

We were unable to find steps to help us get started in moving from FrontPage 2003 to Microsoft Expression Web.  Here it is now.

These steps are to help the uninitiated.  We wished we had this information when we started.  It will save you time.

You can see videos for beginners in EW on our Small Town Web Site under EW Videos

New: Windows 8 Review   Why we hate Windows 8 Best Buy Return Policy Review  We've just became aware that a government ID is now required for ALL Best Buy returns and the ID is RECORDED by Best Buy read our review

New: Windows 8 Review   Why we hate Windows 8 Best Buy Return Policy Review 
overnment ID is now required for ALL Best Buy returns and the ID is RECORDED by Best Buy read our review

This page has the following segments: Background; Summary; Preparation; Conversion Steps; Steps Summary, Editorial, DreamWeaver  and Linux postscript, about Expression Web 4. 

Note - See our review of Expression Web and Expression Studio Here - Note: Expression Blend 4 Ultimate and Expression Web 4 Released June 2010 and several service packs have followed in 2011


  • We have helped managed over 100 web sites using Microsoft FrontPage since 1999
  • Microsoft discontinued FrontPage in about 2007.  Front Page is no longer sold in retail.  The last full version was FrontPage 2003 with service packs issued in later years
  • FrontPage has been split into two products: Microsoft SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Expression Web (EW is sold separately and as part of the Microsoft Expression Studio Ultimate suite)
  • SharePoint designer requires Microsoft server side software which is expensive and not widely available with Web Hosting companies
  • Expression Web 4 is 'industry standard' and can be used with almost all Web Hosting Companies and servers.  It does not require server side FrontPage extensions to work and publishes well over FTP
  • The user friendly FrontPage forms and other easy web components are gone in the Expression product - you will have to find other alternatives
  • FrontPage worked well for most users without them having to know Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) formatting and without having to know HTML. 
  • You will need to become familiar with CSS and HTML as you rebuild your sites in Expression Web 4.
  • There are no form wizards or other component wizards in Microsoft Expression Web 4.
  • Various Microsoft sites advise that Expression Web 4 / Expression Studio 4 may be / is a free upgrade for purchases of Expression 3 - because every copy has its own terms of service (TOS) we are not an authority on this  - check out Microsoft sites for terms on upgrading your version
  • Our version of Expression Web 3 was upgraded to Expression Web 4, free, as promised when the software was released in June 2010.  Make sure you also get the 2010 and 2011 service packs


  • FrontPage does not produce 'industry standard' web page code.  The code of your FrontPage pages are full of junk that is Microsoft proprietary and will  not be supported once your host's server does not use FrontPage extensions  - don't panic this will take many months to several years to transition with most web hosting companies but it is happening more and more in 2011 as hosts upgrade their servers. 
  • There is no direct conversion path for your FrontPage pages to clean code for Microsoft Expression or any other 'Industry Standard' web page editor
  • Microsoft FrontPage Forms are not supported in Microsoft Expression Web.  You will have to rebuild you forms using java, visual basic, C#, PHP or other technologies
  • You CAN gradually rebuild your site in Expression Web. You CAN transition and edit your current pages and build new ones in EW 3 / EW 4 while still maintaining and editing forms in FrontPage
  • Expression Web 4 and FrontPage seem to work concurrently ok in editing the same web.  (Based on our three years experience doing just that) We edit and publish most pages in EW4 and edit the forms in Front Page.
  • See steps below as you convert from FrontPage to Expression Web
  • This page was originally written when Expression Web 3 was the most up-to-date version  but there seems to be not much in Expression Web 4 that will change these steps
  • Service Pack 2 for Expression Web 4 (SP2) was released in July 2011 and it improves stability and seems to eliminate crashes.

Conversion Steps - FrontPage to Expression Web.  We started by going 'whole hog' - into Expression Web screwing up a FrontPage web or two before we realized we had these things to learn:


  • Do not start your conversion with an Expression Web version less than 3 or 4 - there are too many changes in version 3 / 4, and too many weaknesses and bugs in the earlier versions of Expression Web / Expression Studio
  • If you have Expression Web 2 / Expression Studio 2 or earlier, uninstall it.  These versions will interfere with Expression Web 4 / Expression Studio 4
  • Don't do it! The installation of Expression Studio 4 / Expression Web 4 allows you to simply enter the purchased license key to make an expired trial version accessible.  Don't!
  • If you have a trial version of Expression Studio 3 or 4 / Expression Web 3 or 4 - uninstall it - Microsoft did not clean up some of the beta software in the Expression trial version (for example, Microsoft Expression Media Encoder from the trial version will prevent you from saving some video formats.  You will get this error: This functionality is only available in the full version of Encoder),
  • Install Expression Web 4 (or Expression Studio 4)
  • If you already have a NON-TRIAL installed version of Expression Web 3 / Studio 3, the upgrade to Expression Web 4 / Studio 4  works - both 3 and 4 versions will be ok on your PC at the same
  • If you have Expression Web 3 installed and you want to keep it, get the service packs 1 and 2 before you install Expression Web 4.  The service packs improves publishing and cleans up some bugs.  Expression web 3 SP 2 was released April 2010.  Expression Web 4 SP 2 was released July 2011
  • Expression Web 4 did not transfer our "publishing settings" or our "Manage Site List" from Expression Web 3.  You will need to recreate them. 
  • Be aware that there are still bugs in Expression Web 4.
  • Expression Web 4 is not perfect but it gets the job done (our pet peeve - the html code is still junky when we use the table functions) 
    - The only one we found (that impacts us) is in encoding a .wmv movie to a Silverlight movie - the output result works fine in Internet Explorer but not in Firefox (IE Silverlight works because of ActiveX but FireFox does not support this technology). 
    - The Expression Web 4 Silverlight Movie output code will  work in Firefox when this line has its comma at the end of it as follows: object data="data: application/x-silverlight-2,"  EW output misses the comma after the 2
  • Expression Web 4 sp2 is more stable.  We have not experienced a crash in over 60 hours of use.

We assume you have FrontPage still installed on your machine. (FrontPage works well for both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows Vista and Windows 7 ).  You can open FrontPage webs in Expression web and edit and publish your pages if you do not have FrontPage.  More information below.

Further, these steps will let you make a gradual transition to Expression Web. If you do not have FP software installed you will have to start from your forms scratch; there will be no wizard help for you.  These steps assume that your new site is constructed on your local PC before you publish to the web

These steps work for us as we are rebuilding over 50 sites

  • Create a permanent backup of your whole FrontPage Web before you touch a thing in the old web
  • Create a new web site in Expression Web 4 (in a new folder location) for the rebuild of your FrontPage web.  We suggest you start with one of the included site templates that come with Expression Web 4
  • In the NEW EW 4 site we delete all the folders except images and one other because our navigation structure differs from the templates - for example  - we keep only the 'about' folder and about page  - our beginning EW4 webs from templates only have the default.html, master.dwt (dynamic web template), the styles folder, and the about folder
  • You CAN edit and publish your old FrontPage pages in Expression Web but beware of problems on old pages using Forms, FP navigation and other web bot components.  Editing FP pages in Expression web DOES NOT clean up the junk code. EW creates ok HTML code on your FP pages but CSS is another matter
  • From here on, there is a significant learning curve for those inexperienced with CSS, HTML etc.  You'll need to digest these technologies to support things that FrontPage did for you more automatically
  • Edit the new EW 4 master.DWT to suit your needs
  • When your new EW 4 web site is ready with your default . html page, master.dwt and about folder files as you want them, open your existing disk based FrontPage Web in Expression Web 4
  • Import your files into FrontPage Web from your new Expression Web default.html, master.dwt.  Import your folders: about and styles from the Expression Web site
  • DO NOT edit your old FrontPage pages with Expression Web.  Create new pages in EW to replace your old ones (this is were we first goofed the most when we began with Expression Web - we edited FrontPage pages and expected them to continue functioning the same 
  • During your site conversion, if you need to edit your old pages continue to use FP until they are replaced with the new ones created in EW
  • Begin creating your new pages based on the Expression Web DWT. Until you are experienced and confident, do NOT over write your existing FrontPage files -
  • Our convention: old FP web files extensions were .htm; our new pages are .html.  Also, all our main files were in the root, we put our new main files in folders.
  • Your convention will vary but DO NOT move the location of your old files or change their names - it will confuse the search engines and cause you to miss traffic over the months it might take to get the search engines to fully index your site - you will forward the old page to the new page when it is published - see steps later in this list
  • Once Again, DO NOT move the location of your old files or change their names - other sites linking to those pages will result in browser errors
  • Do not change your home page to the new default.html (mark it as 'don't publish' until you are fully ready with all old and new pages linked correctly. )
  • Rebuild one page at a time / test, test again, publish and test again until you are confident that it works.  For example - we start with a new folder for links - create our new link page using the Expression Web DWT then forward our old links age to the new links page
  • Once you complete the created new page, add its link on the master.dwt page
  • DO NOT JUST COPY TEXT from FrontPage to your new pages - simply copying the text will carry with it some of junk FrontPage code.  As you become experienced with copying - view your page in split view (we use copy | paste | special to get the text without the FrontPage junk - even "paste special" sometimes carries along MS code you don't need - check your HTML).  Using paste | special will require that that your apply CSS code to the new text.
  • When you do copy page | text, you will have to make sure text  links are correct - Expression does not do this correctly when you copy links from your old FrontPage page to your new page (the links get copied as absolute , not relative(they will point to your c: drive, even after you publish))
  • When the page is ready: make sure your have a BACKUP of old page.  We want our old pages easily available if we screw something up, so we create an archive folder, save a copy of our old files to it and mark them as not to publish.  Once we know the new page is right and the old page is forwarded correctly, we delete the archive copy of the old page.
  • We forward our old pages to our new pages - see below
  • Edit your old page to be forwarded automatically to the new page (search engines may take months to find your new page: still sending users to your old pages until the site is re-indexed - we actually found an indexed page on a Bing search that hasn't existed for one, two and even three years)
  • We over write our old page with a blank page that just has text.  You can test how this works on our Augusta Wisconsin site.

     "This page has moved.  Click HERE if you are not taken automatically to the new page".

    the HERE has link to the new page and the header has the automatic forward meta code:

    meta http-equiv="refresh" content="2;url=[new-page-name.html] "/ which forwards the page in 2 seconds
  • We also add the line on each old page

    meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX, FOLLOW"/

    so the search engines no longer indexes the old page but goes on to find the new page
  • Change the links in all your still active old pages as required to point to new pages you create
  • Convert the next page(s) as you complete your new web
  • Forms:  if you have a front page form that your want to have the format of your new web site, do this:
    - create a new form folder from Expression Web
    - create a new page from your DWT and save it in the form folder - you need this page with the editable section
    - Close Expression Web - open the web in front page - edit the new form page using FrontPage form controls etc.
    - Publish the new form page folder and page in FP
    - Open your published folder on the web site editing the email address, etc. and test
  • Complete your new web: After your gradual transition to Expression Web 4.  Make sure you have a backup of your published old web - delete your published web site completely  and republish - this will clean up the web side Front Page Junk such as themes, web bots etc. - if you retain some FrontPage forms, make sure you follow the forms advice above

Step Summary:

Before you touch your Front Page Web

  1. Backup your Front Page Web
  2. Create a new Expression Web 4 web from an Expression Web Template
  3. Delete all but: default.html, master.dwt, the about folder, the styles folder in the new Expression Web because your new navigation structure will vary.
  4. Edit the DWT and styles to create your new web look, feel and layout

Begin working in the Front Page web

  1. Import the files / folders in item 3 above into your Front Page Web.
  2. Create new page file(s) / folder(s) from DWT one page at a time
  3. Add the links to your DWT to include the new pages you create
  4. Edit navigation structure links on your still existing and in use old pages as your new pages are completed
  5. Edit your old page to forward to the new page - maintain the old page location and file name
  6. Test, publish, test again and continue recreating your web


Over the last 10 years we have created and managed over 100 web sites using Microsoft FrontPage for personal, mom and pop, and small businesses (up to 100 employees).  It should be noted that site owners in this group had purchased a copy or many of FrontPage software

Microsoft FrontPage has helped these business owners create and / or manage websites without significant professional web designer / developer participation

The discontinuation of FrontPage has left these owners needing more professional help to support the same sites .  Expression Web and SharePoint Designer, the replacement products, are good products.  However, Microsoft has seemingly abandoned this market segment that can create and manage sites themselves

Expression Web technology uses industry standards and does not require Microsoft servers.  However, it is still true that Microsoft servers incorporate technology such as ASP.NET.  Support for .NET  is built into, and is a reason for, Expression Web.  With this being true, it seems to us that Microsoft Expression Web should have wizards that could create java, visual basic or C# forms and other web components based on Microsoft's own ASP.NET server technology.

Most of the owners of the 50 sites have not purchased Microsoft Expression Web software to replace their FrontPage software.  This has helped us with our services offerings but we think Microsoft has shot themselves in the foot because they have eliminated some this market of small business owners from Expression Web

Post Script

We know that our Expression web publishing and local editing of sites works on Window Server 2008 and Linux servers.  We have not used Expression Web for Dreamweaver, Apple, or Adobe sites and others.  We assume that as industry standard, that is does.  Caveats about cleaning up the code and other recommendations apply


Expression, Web, 3, 2, Ultimate, Studio, FrontPage, Front, Page, 2003, 2002, 2011, 2010 Microsoft, sites, small, business, CrystalTech, asp, net, SharePoint, designer, Linux, server, proprietor, 法輪功, Falungong, 李洪志, June 4, 6月4日, 天安门广场, Tiananmen Square, 1989 , Linux, Dreamweaver, version, Adobe, Microsoft

Get Money Out

Money has bought our government. Sign the online petition to Get Money Out of our politics

Talk about it, tell your friends


Expression Web 4 replaces Front Page


- There is no direct conversion path from Front Page to  Expression Web

- The cleanest and most  efficient path to convert is to rebuild you site one page at a time

- You FrontPage pages can coexist with your new Expression Web pages as you rebuild your site over time

- If you live in NYC area we can help - pleases fill out a contact form


- Check out our New Reviews Pages

- New PhotoImpact Review

Get Firefox Browser.

It's faster, safer, and more secure than Internet Explorer

Get Firefox

Firefox can block Advertisements, cookies, Flash cookies and more with  the  "Adblocker Plus" and "Better Privacy " add-ons

Firefox will not affect the way you use your computer and can be used simultaneously with Internet Explorer