Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Basic table styling


Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

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Video: Basic table styling

In the past few exercises, we've added considerable structure to our table. Before we move forward for styling our new structural elements, we need to take a step back and talk about styling the basic elements of our table. As you're creating your tables, you need to have a clear idea as to the parts of your table you plan on controlling through visual styling, versus what you'll be controlling with the table properties. In the case of our table, we are going to control padding, table width, and borders through our styles, eliminating the need to stay these properties in our code. Although you can control cell padding through styles, it's still a good idea to pass a value of zero for cell padding.
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  1. 2m 57s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 49s
  2. 7m 50s
    1. What is Dreamweaver?
      3m 16s
    2. Learning web design
      2m 22s
    3. Current web standards
      2m 12s
  3. 43m 9s
    1. The Welcome screen
      4m 5s
    2. Windows and Mac interface differences
      2m 23s
    3. The Application toolbar
      4m 7s
    4. The Document toolbar
      4m 40s
    5. Arranging panels
      8m 19s
    6. Managing workspaces
      7m 32s
    7. The Properties Inspector
      5m 54s
    8. The Insert panel
      6m 9s
  4. 25m 45s
    1. Basic site structure
      3m 11s
    2. File naming conventions
      1m 49s
    3. Defining a new site
      4m 35s
    4. Managing sites
      4m 51s
    5. Managing files and folders
      6m 36s
    6. Working with browsers
      4m 43s
  5. 27m 21s
    1. Creating new documents
      5m 16s
    2. New document preferences
      3m 6s
    3. Setting accessibility preferences
      4m 56s
    4. Working with starter pages
      3m 46s
    5. Managing starter pages
      10m 17s
  6. 30m 2s
    1. Basic tag structure
      2m 15s
    2. Adding structure to text
      8m 20s
    3. Creating lists
      9m 59s
    4. Getting text into Dreamweaver
      5m 59s
    5. Importing Word documents
      3m 29s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding style sheets
      2m 16s
    2. The anatomy of a CSS rule
      1m 48s
    3. Setting CSS preferences
      6m 36s
    4. The CSS Styles panel
      10m 2s
    5. Controlling CSS through the Properties Inspector
      5m 14s
    6. Using the Code Navigator
      7m 21s
    7. Using CSS Enable
      6m 45s
    8. Understanding element selectors
      8m 11s
    9. Understanding class selectors
      8m 49s
    10. Understanding ID selectors
      5m 59s
    11. Understanding descendant selectors
      6m 51s
    12. Attaching external style sheets
      7m 44s
  8. 1h 47m
    1. Working with units of measurement
      7m 11s
    2. Declaring font families
      9m 39s
    3. Controlling font sizing
      9m 9s
    4. Controlling weight and style
      8m 0s
    5. Controlling line height
      8m 29s
    6. Controlling vertical spacing with margins
      12m 3s
    7. Controlling spacing with padding
      5m 39s
    8. Aligning text
      8m 26s
    9. Transforming text
      5m 36s
    10. Writing global styles
      15m 42s
    11. Writing targeted styles
      17m 37s
  9. 1h 32m
    1. Understanding image types
      5m 3s
    2. Managing assets in Dreamweaver
      12m 51s
    3. Setting image accessibility preferences
      4m 20s
    4. Setting external image editing preferences
      3m 52s
    5. Placing images on the page
      7m 37s
    6. Photoshop integration
      5m 54s
    7. Modifying Smart Objects
      5m 51s
    8. Alternate Photoshop workflows
      8m 8s
    9. Modifying image properties
      11m 14s
    10. Styling images with CSS
      7m 11s
    11. Using background graphics
      9m 3s
    12. Positioning background graphics
      11m 6s
  10. 55m 16s
    1. Link basics
      3m 37s
    2. Setting site linking preferences
      2m 14s
    3. Creating links in Dreamweaver
      11m 1s
    4. Absolute links
      5m 8s
    5. Using named anchors
      11m 19s
    6. Linking to named anchors in external files
      2m 44s
    7. Creating an email link
      5m 24s
    8. Creating CSS-based rollovers
      13m 49s
  11. 1h 34m
    1. CSS structuring basics
      2m 56s
    2. The Box Model
      13m 21s
    3. Understanding floats
      6m 53s
    4. Clearing and containing floats
      8m 56s
    5. Using relative positioning
      4m 8s
    6. Using absolute positioning
      7m 18s
    7. Creating structure with div tags
      12m 7s
    8. Styling basic structure
      10m 34s
    9. Creating a two-column layout
      10m 37s
    10. Using Live View and CSS Inspect
      7m 51s
    11. Using Browser Lab
      9m 39s
  12. 56m 22s
    1. Reviewing table structure
      7m 41s
    2. Importing tabular data
      5m 13s
    3. Creating accessible tables
      9m 56s
    4. Using thead and tbody tags
      4m 0s
    5. Basic table styling
      8m 45s
    6. Styling table headers
      7m 52s
    7. Styling column groups
      4m 22s
    8. Creating custom table borders
      5m 1s
    9. Styling table captions
      3m 32s
  13. 1h 43m
    1. How forms work
      3m 0s
    2. Reviewing form design
      3m 2s
    3. Creating accessible forms
      7m 33s
    4. Setting form properties
      4m 6s
    5. The fieldset and legend tags
      4m 32s
    6. Inserting text fields
      5m 58s
    7. Inserting list menu items
      5m 26s
    8. Inserting checkboxes
      7m 50s
    9. Inserting radio button groups
      6m 22s
    10. Inserting text areas
      4m 12s
    11. Inserting submit buttons
      3m 37s
    12. Basic form styling
      12m 0s
    13. Form element styling
      8m 52s
    14. Styling form layout
      11m 49s
    15. Adding form interactivity
      2m 47s
    16. Using Spry validation widgets
      12m 49s
  14. 1h 23m
    1. Planning for templates
      10m 51s
    2. Creating a new template
      10m 37s
    3. Using editable attributes
      13m 43s
    4. Creating optional regions
      6m 23s
    5. Creating new pages from a template
      9m 17s
    6. Applying templates to existing pages
      6m 9s
    7. Working with nested templates
      7m 56s
    8. Working with repeating regions
      12m 58s
    9. Modifying templates
      5m 41s
  15. 40m 14s
    1. Behaviors overview
      3m 47s
    2. Hiding and showing elements
      9m 18s
    3. Spry overview
      4m 4s
    4. Using Spry widgets
      11m 36s
    5. Adding Spry effects
      3m 6s
    6. Using the Widget Browser
      8m 23s
  16. 28m 18s
    1. Inserting Flash files
      5m 4s
    2. Setting properties for Flash
      6m 27s
    3. Dreamweaver and Flash integration
      6m 6s
    4. Encoding Flash video
      6m 10s
    5. Adding Flash video
      4m 31s
  17. 45m 28s
    1. Running site-wide reports
      6m 33s
    2. Checking for broken links
      5m 41s
    3. Checking for browser compatibility
      8m 3s
    4. Adding remote servers
      8m 0s
    5. Uploading files
      7m 20s
    6. Managing remote sites
      9m 51s
  18. 34s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
15h 22m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

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In Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training, Adobe Certified Instructor James Williamson explores the tools and techniques of Dreamweaver CS5, Adobe's web design and development software. This course covers both the ins and outs of Dreamweaver, as well as recommended best practices for crafting new web sites and files, the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, and how to ensure clean and accessible code. The course also includes how to use tools in Dreamweaver to create and style web pages, manage multiple sites, and add user interactivity with widgets and scripting. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Defining and structuring a new site
  • Creating new web documents from scratch or from templates
  • Adding and formatting text
  • Understanding style sheet basics
  • Placing and styling images
  • Creating links to internal pages and external web sites
  • Controlling page layout with CSS
  • Building and styling forms
  • Reusing web content with templates
  • Adding interactivity
  • Working with Flash and video
James Williamson

Basic table styling

In the past few exercises, we've added considerable structure to our table. Before we move forward for styling our new structural elements, we need to take a step back and talk about styling the basic elements of our table. As you're creating your tables, you need to have a clear idea as to the parts of your table you plan on controlling through visual styling, versus what you'll be controlling with the table properties. In the case of our table, we are going to control padding, table width, and borders through our styles, eliminating the need to stay these properties in our code. Although you can control cell padding through styles, it's still a good idea to pass a value of zero for cell padding.

Some browsers will add default padding to the table if no value is passed. Another thing to note when planning styles is that cell spacing remains one property that we can control through table attributes but not through styles. We'll set that value manually as well and then write the styles to control our basic table formatting. So again here we have the bigsur_trails file open, so pretty much our structured table is sitting there on the page just waiting for something to happen to it so that it doesn't have to look quite so boring.

So the first thing we're going to do is take a look at its attributes. So I am going to click inside the table, find my table tag in the Tag Selector and click on that, and then go down to the Properties Inspector and verify that cell padding, cell spacing and the border or all set to zero. They are, and that is a good thing. Now we are free to go in and style those ourselves. So what I am going to do now is open up my CSS Styles panel. I am going to collapse the Files panel by double-clicking that tab and that's going to give me a little bit more room to come in here and adjust my styles.

So what I am going to do now is scroll down through my styles and I am just looking for these mainContent styles. I am just going to scroll down and find the last of my mainContent styles, right there above spotlight. Now the reason I am highlighting it there is because we have to create some new rules and this is going to help me control placement of where those rules are going to be in our external style sheet. So the next rule that we create will be created directly underneath the one that we have highlighted here. So again, down to my CSS Styles panel. I am going to go down and create a brand new CSS rule.

Now at this point we want to do a compound selector and there is a lot of stuff going on here in my selector name, so I think it probably easier if I just typed this in myself. So let's do #mainContent. Motice that that is all one word, capital C, lower case m. Space, table.data. So let's talk about what that selector is saying. That selector is saying. go find a table that has the class of data applied to it, that's inside of an element with an ID of mainContent.

So it's a very specific rule but it's targeting that table based upon the fact that it is a data table. We are going to define that in main.css and go ahead and click OK. All right, let's go down to our Box category and for Box we are going to inner in a width for our table. Let's make our table 95% wide. So it's going to take up the majority of the mainContent region. There is not going to be anything to the left of it. There is not going to be anything to the right of it. So we really don't need to leave a lot of space on either side.

For a margin deselect Same for all. Let's do 0 margins for the top, 30 margins for the bottom and for the right and for the left we'll do auto. So the remaining 5% of the available width will be split on the right-side and the left-side and that's going to center the table within that region. The 30 pixels worth of margin on the bottom are just going to help keep our table away from any content that might be below it. Now just like when you're writing your CSS for your page, you can place styles on the top parent tag and they'll inherit down to any nested elements inside of this.

We are going to take advantage of that by applying some typography to our table tag knowing that all of our table headers and table cells will inherit these values. So for font family choose Arial, Helvetica and sans serif. For font size choose .9ems. So we are going to make it just a tidbit smaller than the text around this and we're going to make the font- family Arial, Helvetica and sans serif. When I click OK my table re-styles.

So it shrunk in a little bit. It's centered within the mainContent region, the font for the text changed, and the text size changed, and those changes were exactly what we wanted. Okay now in addition to styling just the main table tag, we're also going to style the table data tags and the table header tags. So we'll start by doing our table data tags. Once again I am going to come over to the CSS Styles panel, I am going to choose New CSS Rule, again we are going to do a compound selector, and this time we're going to do #mainContent table.data. So that's exactly the selector we had last time, but this time also type in a space td.

So now we are saying a table cell found within this data table, found within the mainContent. Go ahead and click OK and here w're just going to do a slight variation on the information that we had on our table. For font-size type in .8ems. Now that means that the text inside the table cells will be smaller than the text within the table headers, and the table headers will be a little bit larger. Also go to your Box category and here's what we are going to style our cell padding. So for padding deselect Same for all. We're going to do zero for top, zero for bottom and then for right and left, let's do 10 pixels worth of padding.

So, this going to give us an equal amount of space on the right and left and not give us any padding at all on the top and the bottom. I am going to go ahead and click OK, and I could see our table cells have a little bit of extra padding in them. Now you may have wondered, why didn't we do any padding top to bottom? Now the text is still butting right up against the top edge of the table cell. Why not? Sometimes you only have to write a style once and later on we are going to control the height of the table cells by writing a line height for our table headers. That will drive the entire row, so we don't necessarily need to worry about a top-level padding for our table cells. In fact that can be problematic because it can add to the spacing or overwrite some of the other values we want.

So if we don't explicitly need it, we're simply not going to add it. All right, one more rule here. So let's go down and create a new CSS rule and this time we're going to type in #mainContent table.data th. So in this time instead of the table data cells we're affecting the table header cells. Go ahead and click OK. Here for font-size we're going to type in 1em, so they are going to be larger than individual table data cells themselves.

Font-weight is going to be normal. Sometimes we just want to overwrite a browser's default styling. Most browsers will render table header cells as center aligned, bold, and some even go so far as to make them italic. So we are going to do font-weight of normal. We are going to go to our Block category and choose text-align left. We are going to go to our Box category and for padding we are going to do the same as the table cells themselves. Zero for top and bottom, 10 pixels for a right and left.

So that will give us the same amount of spacing on other side of our table header cells as our table cells themselves. One last thing. Let's get back to our Type category and remember a minute ago when I talked about a table header's line-height controlling the height of the actual table cell itself? Well let's make the line-height 2.6 ems. Now when we click OK, notice that these table cells have gotten a lot taller. Our headers don't look quite as different as it did before, so they are not bold and centered anymore, and we've got that 10 pixels worth of space on either side through each one of our table cells.

So our table does look a lot more presentable, if not fully designed quite yet. We've laid down the foundation for our more decorative styling. By placing the global fundamental styles on the basic structural tags like we've done here, it allows us to use additional structural elements such as the thead, the tbody, for more decorative or unique effects. Note also that we have achieved our height, width and table alignment through styles and not the HTML table properties.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: After creating a website following the instructions in the course, the header background graphic appears correctly in all browsers except Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7.  The graphic works properly in IE 8. What can be done to make the graphics appear in IE 6 and IE 7?
A: To make the header background graphic appear, wrap the header div tag in another div tag and give it an ID like “mainHeader.” The problem stems from a bug in Internet Explorer that prevents the browser from dealing with absolutely positioned elements that are right next to relatively positioned elements.  Following the steps above should solve the problem.
Q: In the tutorial, the author links the Tool Tip to the word "More" at the bottom of the thumbnail photo field. I can't figure out how to place the <a> "More" on the thumbnail photo field.
A: In the example, there is a paragraph that wraps an <img> tag and the word "More," which is surrounded by an anchor tag (<a>). The author uses CSS to make sure the parent div tag of the thumbs floats to the left, and is only wide enough for the image. This causes the link text to break down onto another line. Then, the instructor uses CSS to align the link text to the right of the <img>. The link itself is a void JavaScript function, ( javascript();). This gives you a "dummy" link without returning you to the top of the page as the "#" dummy link tends to do.
If you were manually typing the text in, you could select the image, hit the right arrow button, and begin typing. The text should then appear on screen.
Q: In this movie, you are making changes to the HTML in order to customize the text layout on your page (i.e. h1, h2, and h3 tags as well as strong and em tags). I'm wondering why you are not using CSS to do this (i.e. font-size, font-weight). Do you typically use one method, or is it customary to do use both in a layout, and if so, what guidelines would you suggest to determine which to use when?
A: We modify the page's structure through the use of h1, h2, and other heading tags. So when we are choosing heading levels, we're not concerning ourselves with typography; we're establishing page structure. A heading is chosen to denote the level of importance for the heading, not typography.
CSS should always be used for presentation, not HTML.
Q: In the “Understanding ID selectors” movie, the author states that only one ID tag can be used per page, but then he adds two ID tags. Can you please clarify this for me?
A: You can use as many IDs per page as you wish. They just must all use a unique name. Therefore if you assign an element the ID of "header" no other element on THAT page may use the same ID.
Q: I noticed that in this course, the instructor uses this code on his CSS external sheet: @charset "UTF-8"; I was under the impression that this code wasn't necessary. The W3.org site is unclear on the matter. Is it necessary? Is it a best practice? Is it an older form of CSS?
A: The characterset attribute is added automatically by Dreamweaver, and there’s no practical reason to remove it. While it's not needed (the HTML page should indicate which encoding to use for the page) it is helpful if the CSS file is ever imported or used on a page where the characterset isn't specified. Think of it as a safety net for characterset encoding. Not necessary, but not harmful either.
Q: I need to add captions below images that I insert in pages of text. I played all the lessons in Chapter 5 (Adding Text and Structure) but none dealt with captions. I hope the author has an answer or can refer me to a source.
A: In HTML 4 and XHTML 1 (which is what Dreamweaver CS5 uses by default), there wasn't really a way to add captions below your photos. Most web authors would "fake" captions by having paragraphs of text below their images and using CSS to position and style the captions in the desired manner. Many would use a class such as .imgCaption to control the styling. To do this you would essentially position the text underneath the image through CSS (often by grouping the image and the paragraph in a div tag) and italicizing the text.

However in HTML5, there are new elements that allow us to associate images and their captions, the figure and figcaption element. Our author James Williamson just finished a course on HTML5: Syntax, Structure, and Semantics which details how to use it.

HTML5 Doctor also has a nice article on the figure and figcaption elements at http://html5doctor.com/the-figure-figcaption-elements/.
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