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Creating links in Dreamweaver


Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

Video: Creating links in Dreamweaver

By far, one of the easiest things to do in Dreamweaver is to create links. Well, that's a good thing too because you're going to be creating them so often. I can think of at least six ways to create links in Dreamweaver, right off the top of my head, and I'm sure I'm probably missing a few. Honestly though, no matter how many different techniques there are, you'll probably, like most designers, just use a few favorite core techniques when creating links on the page. In this movie, we are going to explore a few of those core techniques and talk about their pros and cons. So here I have the resources.htm file opened, from the 09_03 Folder, and there are a lot of things on the page here that need to link to other pages throughout our site.
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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

Creating links in Dreamweaver

By far, one of the easiest things to do in Dreamweaver is to create links. Well, that's a good thing too because you're going to be creating them so often. I can think of at least six ways to create links in Dreamweaver, right off the top of my head, and I'm sure I'm probably missing a few. Honestly though, no matter how many different techniques there are, you'll probably, like most designers, just use a few favorite core techniques when creating links on the page. In this movie, we are going to explore a few of those core techniques and talk about their pros and cons. So here I have the resources.htm file opened, from the 09_03 Folder, and there are a lot of things on the page here that need to link to other pages throughout our site.

So this is a perfect page for us to be experimenting with. All right! So one of the first things I want to do is insert a link by using either the menu or my common objects. Now for this link, it's actually better if you don't already have the text on the page. For the majority of the links that you're going to be working with, those techniques work great if the text is already on the page, but for this one, not so much. So if you read the first paragraph, you're going to see one sentence that looks a little odd. For example, this bit of text right here, and some that can help you. It seems like something is missing there, right? So I'm going to place my cursor right after the word "some" and hit Space, and that is where we're going to be inserting our link.

So what we want to do is we want to go up to our Insert menu and notice that when you go up to Insert, one of the objects that you can insert on the page is a Hyperlink. So you'll often hear links referred to as Hyperlink, and that would insert the link on the page. Now, that's going to give us a dialog box that has a few options that some of the other techniques that I'm about to show you don't have. So sometimes, this is actually the preferred way of doing this. Now the exact same type of link could be inserted on the page by using the Insert panel. So let's go over to our Common Objects, and to show you how common they are, it's the very first object in Common Objects.

So right there, that little Link icon, you want to hover over that, and just click it one time. So it doesn't matter whether you go from the menu, or you go here, you're going to get a dialog box that comes up, that, again, it's going to give you some options that some of the other links don't give you. So the first thing it wants to know is well what text would you like for this link? We're going to type in additional resources. Then next thing it wants to know is the link itself, and this is going to be what page do you want to go to? You can type it in yourself if you happen to know the exact path to that, or you can browse.

I'm going to go ahead and browse here and by browsing, if I'm working on a dynamic site, I can browse to a data source as well. So if you have a link being generated by a database, you can use this particular technique to look at that as well. Well, I'm going to go down into the 09_03 Folder. I'm going to find my Resources folder, open that up and inside that I'm going to highlight this links.htm. That's the file that I want. I'm going to go ahead and click OK, and now we can see that that is resolving right there inside my Link dialog box.

The next thing that this is asking me is Target. As you grab the pulldown menu, you can see that there are a few sort of reserved keywords for this, blank, new, parent, self, and top. Now for the most part, those are referring to frames, and very few sites are using frames these days. However, you are going to occasionally want to use _blank. As we'll see later on when we're doing some of our absolute links, _blank will open up your link in either a new page, or a new tab depending upon the browser that you're using. Since we're linking internally to our site, we don't really want to do that, so I'm going to leave that blank.

Here's my favorite part of this particular technique. Notice that we get to title our link right off the bat. So what is a link title? Well, think back to the chapter where we were working on images. When you place an image on the page you need to give it Alt Text. That is alternate text that allows browsers and other user agents to sort of describe the image. Well, that's what Titles do for us in links. When a link has a title, browser agents, screen readers, things like that, can give some feedback about what the link is. So, this actually becomes sort of descriptive text.

So for this title, for example, I could type in links to additional resources. What's really nice about this is when somebody hovers over this link, a little tooltip that says exactly that will come up. We also have some Accessibility options here. We could give an Access key and a Tab index to that. Not all pages require that amount of accessibility, and that's really a personal decision based off of the site you're working on. For the site we're doing, we don't really need to do those, so I'm just going to go ahead and click OK.

Now, notice what this method did for me. It went ahead and placed the text on the page, resolved the link for me, added a title to it, and it did that all at once. So that's actually a really efficient way of putting a link on the page. You'll hear some people say, "Well, I don't like going up to the menu. I don't like going up to the Insert panel," but frankly, that method is going to give you some options that some of the other methods that we're about to do don't give you. So I really like that. All right! The next thing I want to do is, towards the top of this paragraph, you're going to see, Here you'll find FAQ's for each of our tour packages.

That's going to link out to a page, so go ahead and highlight the FAQ portion of that. Now down in your Properties Inspector, you're going to find a little area right down here for any link that you want to make. Now, you want to make sure you're looking at the HTML properties and not the CSS properties. So make sure you're on the HTML tab. Out beside that Link dialog box, there are two symbols. One looks like a little target and if you hover over it, it says, Point to File. The other one is a folder, and it allows you to browse for a file, and that's the one we're going to do here.

So I'm going to click Browse for File, and that is going to jump me right in the Resources directory. So I didn't even have to browse because that's where we went last time. But if you need to, just browse to the 09_03 Resources folder, and you want to highlight the faq.htm file. Once again, here you get a chance to resolve this document relative to either the Document or the Site Root. So if you ever need to change it based off of what is already defined in your site definition, this is one of the methods that will allow you to do that. I'm going to go ahead and click OK, and there it went ahead and resolved my link for me.

Notice that it did not do a title for me. It did not prompt me for that. So if I wanted to title this like just say, frequently asked questions, I have to do that manually. So it's okay. It's another step that I can do, but if you forget that step and you meant to have a title there, that method doesn't prompt you for that. Okay, so the next thing we want to do is use the Point to File icon, and it's one of my favorites. So I'm going to go right down here at the bottom of the paragraph and highlight the word Contact. When you're looking to create a quick and easy link, there is nothing better than the Point to File icon.

So with the text Contact highlighted, I'm going to go down to my Properties Inspector, once again, making sure I'm on HTML properties, and I'm going to click and hold the mouse down on that Point to File target. Now, once your mouse is held down, all you have to do is drag over to your Files panel. So for this technique, you want to make sure that your Files panel is visible. I'm just going to mouse over with the mouse held down, and I'm going to go right here to Contact. Now what happens if it's in a subdirectory and you forgot to open up the subdirectory? Well, that's not really a problem. If you hover over a subdirectory, that subdirectory will automatically open and give you access to anything inside of it.

So this operation allows you to get whatever you like. I'm going to go right here to Contact, hover over it, let go, and Dreamweaver finishes the link for me right there, contact.htm. Once again, there is no title, so if you want a title, you've got to remember to do that manually. The last method I'm going to show you guys requires a little bit more manual labor. I'm going to go right here to the word Privacy, just above terms, and we want to link to our Privacy Page. Now our Privacy Page will be in our Resources directory. We don't have one there right now just because we haven't created it.

Just because you don't have a page over in your Files panel doesn't mean that you can't create a link to it, especially if it's a page that you know you're going to be creating later on. The only problem with that is you can't browse to it because it's not already there. You can't use the Point to File icon because it's not already there. So what you need to do is resolve that link manually. So knowing that the page that we are in right now, Resources, is in the Root directory, and knowing that privacy is eventually going to be in the Resources subdirectory, then it's pretty easy for me to know how to resolve this link, even if the page doesn't exist.

I'm going to place my cursor right there in the Link dialog box. I'm going to type in resources/privacy.htm. The link is created and even though that page doesn't exist just yet, that will eventually link to that page when we build it. So you can create links manually if you want to. You just have to remember to type them in. Spelling counts, and you are in charge of resolving that link. So you've got to make sure that you know the path from where you are right now to where that page is going to be, and then you can go ahead and type that link in.

Now, there is one more way to quickly create links that I want to show you before we finish this exercise. Let's scroll all the way down towards the bottom of the page, and we want to go right down to this section, Trip planning. Here, we can see that we're referencing the Frequently Asked Questions page again. Well, we've already made a link for that. If you've already made a link once in this page, you don't have to keep doing it. I'm going to highlight the text FAQ there. I'm going to go down to my Properties Inspector, and right where the Link dialog box is, you can see that's actually a dropdown menu.

So I am going to go ahead and click that dropdown menu, and here are all the links that you've been working on in your site. So each and every page, every time you create a link it's going to store it. And then every time you need a new link, if you've already created it, you can just grab that pulldown menu. So at this point the only problem we're having is figuring out exactly where that is. In this case, it's right here, resources/faq.htm. All I have to do is click there, and it's going to resolve that link for me. Now, it won't remember any of the other settings that you've done.

So if you've already created a title for it, no, you're going to need to create that title again here, because it's not going to retain that. It's just going to retain the path to the image itself. So there you go. I think it's pretty easy to see why there are so many different ways to create links in Dreamweaver. Some are designed to allow fast and accurate link creation when simple links are required. Now other methods are designed to accept more input based on the current needs of that particular link. You will find yourself using multiple techniques based on your link requirements and frankly, your personal preferences.

Be sure to practice creating links with each of these techniques, so that you'll know which method to use based on the current situation.

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 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
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