Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Controlling font sizing


Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

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Video: Controlling font sizing

Embracing a Web standards-based approach to Web design means designing your pages to give as much control to the user as you can, while maintaining the integrity of your original design. Remember, your users might be using different browser Agents, hand-held devices, or they may have accessibility issues that require the default font size to be set a little higher than normal. Without a doubt, one of the challenges in Web design is anticipating how your users will be accessing your site. By using relative units of measurement when sizing text, you control how elements relate to each other relative to size, but leave the ultimate control of the text size to the user or the user agent.
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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

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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

Controlling font sizing

Embracing a Web standards-based approach to Web design means designing your pages to give as much control to the user as you can, while maintaining the integrity of your original design. Remember, your users might be using different browser Agents, hand-held devices, or they may have accessibility issues that require the default font size to be set a little higher than normal. Without a doubt, one of the challenges in Web design is anticipating how your users will be accessing your site. By using relative units of measurement when sizing text, you control how elements relate to each other relative to size, but leave the ultimate control of the text size to the user or the user agent.

This helps your site become more accessible and more readable across a wider array of devices. We'll accomplish this in our Explore California site by first sizing the body tag to a baseline size for our site, and then using ems to size our text relative to the value sent into the page from the body tag. Since the font size property of parent elements is inherited by the elements inside of it, we should be able to control the sizing of our fonts with relatively few styles. So here I have the resources.htm open.

Now, this is interesting. If I click inside my headline here, Got questions, and I bring up my Code Navigator, remember that's Alt+Click or Command+Option+Click on the Mac. If I start at the very first rule and just sort of work my way up, I notice something. Nowhere along this list is anything said about font sizing. Um-huh, Interesting! Let's try our paragraph, same thing. I am not getting any font sizing. Okay, so if we are not getting any font sizing, why are they different sizes? Why is the headline bigger than the paragraph, for example? Well, that's because every single user agent out there has its own default style sheet.

So headings already have sort of the default style sheet within a browser. Paragraphs already have a default size within a browser. That's what you are going to get if you don't explicitly set a sizing for your fonts within your page. So you need to be aware of that as well. Okay. Let's go over to our CSS Styles panel. What I am going to do is collapse my Files panel just to give myself a little bit more room. I can change these dividing lines, so that I can see more of one area versus the other if you'd like. Make sure you're in the All Styles area and select the body tag.

We are going to go ahead and add a property here, and you can do that simply by clicking that link. I find this to be the easiest and fastest way to edit your style sheets. So I am going to click right in there. I am going to type in font, so just the shorthand notation font. I am going to hit Tab. That's going to take me over to the other side. We have to do this in a specific order here. I am going to type in 100% Georgia, "Times New Roman" here. Make sure those are all capitalized the T, the N and the R.

Another Quotation Mark, Times, serif, lower case, and then just hit Return. So as you can see, I really like to hand-code. I just like to type stuff in. You certainly could have double-clicked the body selector typed 100% here, and grabbed Georgia, "Times New Roman" Times and serif from the pulldown menu. That would work just as well. Okay, so a few things changed here. Did you notice how the paragraph seems to get a little larger in relation to the headlines? So what we are doing now is we are basically telling any user agent, "Hey! "Whatever your default size is, that's what we want for all our elements inside the page.

"So make the paragraph the size you'd normally make them, make the headings the size you'd normally make them." Well, that's fine. But now we can take a more granular level of control over these elements. We are going to focus first on our headlines. So the first thing I am going to do is go over to my CSS Styles panel. Scroll down until we find # mainContent #mainArticle h1. So that's the selector you are looking for, #mainContent #mainArticle h1. That's going to target this little guy right there.

So I am going to click on that to highlight it. I am going to add a property here. Here, we are going to add font-size, so font-size. Hit Tab to move over to the Values pane. Here we are just going to type in 2em. If you want, you can just type in the number 2 and then follow directly by an em. You don't have to grab it from the unit of measurement pulldown menu to the right of it. I am going to hit Return. It's going to resize our headings. You might not notice any huge changes right now. All right. Well, if I scroll down the page, here are my h2s.

Just underneath the selector that we just set, we will find the #mainContent #mainArticle h2. Go ahead and highlight that. We are going to add font-size to that as well, so, font-size. Yes, you can grab that from the pulldown menu if you don't feel like typing that in. Then I am going to do on 1.6ems, hit Return. It got a little larger. I mean I don't know if you can't see that, but it got a little bit bigger. Then finally, I am going to find that #mainContent #mainArticle h3, add a Property to it, and change its font size to 1.3ems.

It definitely got a little bigger there. Perfect. Now, what about our paragraphs? Well, I would like our paragraphs to be the normal size of a paragraph within that user agent. Now, I could go ahead and set that explicitly to say 1em or even 100%. But truth be told, because I told my body tag to be 100%, that's going to be inherited by everybody, and that tells my paragraphs, "Hey! Just go ahead and been a default size." In that instance, we really don't need to set any type of sizing for the paragraph at all. So what we did on the body tag has saved us a little bit of time.

Okay, now if we were to preview this in a browser, and I think we'll go ahead and do that. So I am just going to do Save All, Preview in our browser. All of our headlines and paragraphs are relating to each other based on that sizing information. Now, you know that we can increase or decrease the size of the text within our browser. As a matter of fact, for Firefox, if we go into the Zoom, notice that we have Ctrl+Plus and Ctrl+Minus. We can even set it to Only Zoom The Text. I am going to do that. I am just going to say OK. I just want you to Zoom Text Only.

Now, if I do a Ctrl+Plus or Command+ Plus on the Mac, you'll notice my text goes up or goes down. But did you notice how the sizing remains relative? They have the same relation to each other, even as they are larger or smaller. That's because of the fact that we are using those relative units of measurement. Now, you don't need to preview that within your browser. In CS5, we can now actually preview this directly within Dreamweaver. Let me show you what I mean. I am going to go back in the Dreamweaver, and I am going to right-click my Document toolbar.

There is a little toolbar called the Style Rendering toolbar. I am going to go ahead and open that up. This has gotten a little beefier in CS5. You'll notice on the PC, I am moving this around, but you can't move this around on the Mac. Okay, so what does this toolbar allow us to do? Well, the first section in the toolbar allows us to turn on specific media styles. So if you want to look at your Print Style Sheets, which we really don't have any, but if you had some defined, you can click on that and you would see those instead of your Screen Media Type. We'll also have a very quick way right here to toggle your styles on and off.

So just clicking that will disable them. Clicking on that again will turn that back on again, so that you can preview them. We'll also have pseudo-selectors like Length, Visit, Hover and Active. Very useful, if you have links that have different selectors based on whether somebody is these hovering over them. We will be doing that a little bit later on. Then we have this selection. I want you guys to pay close attention to this. This is new as well. I like this. We can Increase the Text Size or Decrease the Text Size directly here in Dreamweaver. So if you really want to see what this is going to look like when somebody increases the text size or decreases the text size, you can just sort of click these buttons until you get what you are looking for, which is really cool.

Now, this doesn't work with Live View turned on. So if you turn Live View on, this is all going to be disabled. This needs to work within the context of your regular Design view. Now, you are also going to notice there is a little button right in the middle that says Reset Text Size. So let's say you have increased and decreased a little bit, and you can't remember what the size actually is supposed to look like. You can just click that and say Reset Text Size, and it will take you back to where you are supposed to be. If it's grayed out, that should mean that your font sizing is at 100%, but I've noticed that to be a little buggy here and there.

So sometimes it will appear grayed out, sometime it won't, but just click that, and it will reset your text right back to 100%. Now, one more thing: While we have used the resources.htm page to help us format our font-sizes, we know that because we are using an External Style Sheet, that our styles are now being used throughout the site. If we've planned properly and structured our pages well, the rest of our site should use these rules without us having to do any modifications. So there you have it. Our site's font-sizing is well defined.

It draws its initial value from the user's default font size, and then any scaling is done in relation to that value.

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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