Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Managing starter pages

From: Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

Video: Managing starter pages

While starter pages can do a great job of giving new designers a head start on controlling page layout with CSS. They are, by nature, designed to be individual pages. Using the CSS within a starter page to control an entire site can be a bit of a challenge to somebody who is not familiar with CSS. In this movie, I want to show a workflow based on creating sites through starter pages. By no means is it the only way you starter pages, nor am I suggesting that this is the preferred way of establishing site layout.

Managing starter pages

While starter pages can do a great job of giving new designers a head start on controlling page layout with CSS. They are, by nature, designed to be individual pages. Using the CSS within a starter page to control an entire site can be a bit of a challenge to somebody who is not familiar with CSS. In this movie, I want to show a workflow based on creating sites through starter pages. By no means is it the only way you starter pages, nor am I suggesting that this is the preferred way of establishing site layout.

It does, however, offer somebody new to Web design a way to quickly establish a solid site-wide layout and introduces new designers to the concepts of controlling sites through external styles. So the first thing I am going to do is create a brand-new page using one of Dreamweaver's starter pages. So I am going to File and choose New, and I am going to choose from a blank page HTML, and I want choose this 2 column fixed, left sidebar, header and footer. Now unlike we did in the last movie, this time I want to change where the Layout CSS is going to be located.

Instead of adding it to the head of the document, I want to place it in a new external cascading stylesheets file. Externalizing your CSS is a really great way of controlling your site, because now every single HTML page can link to that CSS file. And any change that you need to make to your site's typography, layout, colors, can be done by modifying a single file. So it's a really nice way of working. Okay, now I am going to choose Create and when I do that, because of the fact that I've told Dreamweaver to create a new file for the CSS, I'm going to be prompted to create a brand-new CSS file.

Now within my 04_05 folder, I am going to create a brand-new folder for my CSS. It's always a good idea to keep all of your styles in a single folder. So I am going to name this folder _CSS. The underscore identifies it as an asset folder instead of subdirectory and makes sure that it displays towards the top of any directory list. Now inside that, I am going to save this file, not as twoCol FixLtHdr, which is nice and descriptive, but I just want to call it main.css. Now, you are free to name your style sheets anything you want to name them.

I usually use main, because, well, it's the main styles of the page, but really, you can come up with your own naming conventions. You don't have to follow what I've done here. So I going to choose Save, and now I have my brand-new starter page - I am going to switch over to Design view - and it is being driven by this external style sheet. Now I can prove that by going over here to my CSS Styles panel, clicking on the All Styles and sure enough, there is my external main.css. So this time if I go into Code View, you'll notice that in the head of the document there are no styles whatsoever.

They are all in this external main.css, and you can click right up here in the document toolbar, and you could see they're all now been externalized in that one file and they are being linked to the page. Now if you're wondering how that works, notice that here in the source code of our HTML file, on line number six, we have this link, right here, that's linking to this file. Now this is a weird link right now, because it's pointing to some place on my computer instead of a document-relative link. The reason for that, we haven't saved our file yet, so let's go ahead and do that.

I am going to File and choose Save. I am going to save this into my root directory, and I am going to save it as index.htm. Now notice that that link tag resolves itself to something that's a little bit more manageable. Now, as I've mentioned before, you're free to tweak these layouts and do anything you want to them. So let's say that while we agreed that this is a great place to start, maybe it wasn't exactly the layout or the color scheme that we want. So what we are going to do is make some quick changes to our CSS to affect the width of the page, maybe width of some columns, things like that.

Now in order to do that, it's very important that you understand the structure of the page. And Dreamweaver can help you do that as well. Notice, for example, if I click inside this heading called Instructions, right down here underneath, our document window, we have what is known as the tag selector. Now if you've never used the tag selector before, I really want to encourage you to take a closer look at this. Your tag selector is going to tell you the structure of exactly the area that you are in. So for example, by clicking in here, I see that that I am inside of an H1 Tag, which is inside of a div with a class of content, which is inside another div with a class of container, which is inside the body tag.

Now if I click on Code View, I can see that very clearly. There is my div for content, there is a div for a sidebar, there is my container div, and there is my body tag. So there we were seeing the tag structure that the tag selector was telling us. Now why is that important? Well, if you don't understand what the name or the ID or the class of that element is, you won't know which rule in your CSS to change. Now we are going to be talking a lot more about CSS later in this title, so for right now, if some of this is confusing for you, that's okay.

We'll be talking a lot more about classes, IDs and these selectors as we go. Okay, so what I want to do is I want to change the overall width of my page, and the best way to do that is find the top level parent tag, which in this case is the div with the class of container, and then go find the selector that drives that. So I am going to go over to my CSS Styles panel. There it is right there, .container. Now if collapse my Files panel by double -clicking on the tab, I get to see all those properties currently for my container. Notice that right now the width is 960 pixels. Well, maybe I want it to be shorter than that, so I could click right here for the value, and just type in 920 pixels, and when I do that it shirks the page size down.

I also notice that I don't see my main content region anymore. Well, the reason for that is the main content region is now too wide to fit in this area. The width of the sidebar plus the width of the main content region need to add up till 920. So I am going to go and find that content region. Once again, I am going down the list of my selectors until I find content. I notice that the width given for this is 780 pixels. I am going to change that to 740. There we go. My content is back again. So now we have a much narrower page that fits what we want for our site.

We can continue to make changes here. For example, we could change color. We could change typography. We could change the width of the sidebar and the main content region so that the sidebar was a little wider, and it's entirely up to us. Okay, so I'm pretty happy with what we have done here. So I am just going to go ahead and do a Save All, and close my index file. Now once again, as I mentioned before, CSS starter pages are typically designed to be single pages, but what if we want to create an entirely new page for our site using all those modifications that we just made? Well, let's see how we would do that.

So I am going to go to File, and choose New. Once again, I am going to choose this 2 column fixed, left sidebar, header and footer. I can go ahead and click Create, but before I do that, I want to verify something. Notice, again, that Layout CSS is saying, "Okay, create the New file." Well, that wouldn't be very efficient. You'd be creating a new external stylesheet for every single page in your site. It's not really what you want to do. So instead of that option, I am just going to say Link to an existing file. After all, I want to use that style sheet that we just created.

Now when you do that, you have to go over here and tell Dreamweaver which stylesheet you want to use. Some sites have multiple stylesheets, so don't assume that it's just going to go ahead and pick up the stylesheet that you just did. So I am going to click that little link to Browse, and again, I am going to Browse out to the 04_05 CSS folder that we created earlier, choose main.css. And that little warning that you got is just Dreamweaver saying, "Hey, make sure you save this file." Next thing we are going to do is we are going to add that head of the document as a Link.

And we'll talk more about the difference between Link and Import in the later movies. For right now, we just want to use Link, so I'll click OK, and I'll click Create. Now I am going to go ahead and save this file, and I am going to save this as about.htm. Perfect. Now we are getting the proper width, and we're using the styles that we modified earlier. So we didn't have to create a whole new section of files, but because of the fact that we use the same starter page, the structure of HTML was the same, and that means that the styles we had earlier can drive this page. Now if I choose a one-column layout or a three-column layout, it probably wouldn't have been as effective because those styles are designed for this particular layout.

So if you are going to use a one column, a two column, and a three column within your site, you may need to have separate external style sheets to drive those. Now, I want to take just one last moment here and prove to you that those external styles are driving both pages. I am going to go right over here to our CSS Styles, and I'm going to choose the header selector. The header is this top region. I can see that I have background color for that, so I am going to highlight these hex values here, and I am going to change it to a different color, maybe one for more Explore California site.

So I am going to choose #193742. When I Return, I can see that the header is now sort of that dark blue. Now if I do a Save All, go over to my Files panel, and open up the index file, I can see that it's using that same exact blue color. So both of those are getting their layout, their color, their typography, all of that from that external stylesheet that we created when we first created our first starter page. Now this workflow is going to allow newer Web designers to quickly establish a basic page structure and an external CSS file that can be used to control the entire site.

The CSS is lightweight. It can be modified as much as the site requires. It's also a great way to learn CSS, as you can experiment with the styles to see how it affects multiple pages and add rules to the CSS to control additional elements within the page. Of course, there are other ways to achieve the same results, but this is one of the quickest and easiest ways for you new users to adopt. And one last thing: this in no way lessens the need for new designers to learn CSS as quickly as possible. CSS is used to control almost all modern Web sites, and without understanding how it works, and how to control it, your Web design skills will always be needlessly limited.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

135 video lessons · 88919 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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
      34s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.