Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Positioning background graphics


Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

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Video: Positioning background graphics

We saw, in our previous movie, how effective background images can be in enhancing your visual design. In this movie, we'll explore how you can exert more control over your background images through positioning the images within their container element. This allows us to create images that change based on user interaction and add accents to items, such as blockquotes and lists. In this example, we'll create CSS-based rollovers for our navigation and tweak our custom bullets so that they integrate with our list a little better.
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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

Positioning background graphics

We saw, in our previous movie, how effective background images can be in enhancing your visual design. In this movie, we'll explore how you can exert more control over your background images through positioning the images within their container element. This allows us to create images that change based on user interaction and add accents to items, such as blockquotes and lists. In this example, we'll create CSS-based rollovers for our navigation and tweak our custom bullets so that they integrate with our list a little better.

So I have got the Resources file open from the 080_12 folder and something we've really didn't address in the previous movie was no navigation - where's that at? Well it's all there, but we just don't have any images filling that space so what's happened is the link that's being used for that is hiding the text. It is increased in size to allow for a background image to show up so all that's left for us to do is to choose the proper background image. Now the easiest way for us to do this is to use the CSS Styles panel.

So what I'd like to do, I'm going to just lengthen that a little bit, collapse the Files panel by double-clicking that and then scrolling through my Properties here. So what I'm looking for is this set of links right here, #baseNav. And I'm looking for the #baseNavs that apply to individual links, tours, mission, contact, resources, explores that's what I'm looking for, so you want to scroll through your list until you find ul#baseNav li a.tours, and we'll just through these in order, one at a time.

All right. The first thing I'm going to do is find the tours version and just double-click that. That's going to open it up in our CSS Rule Definition dialog box. I'm going to get a background and right over here I'm going to browse for my background image. Now I'm going to browse to the 08_12 folder and go in inside the _images directory, and we'll switch this to a Detailed view, and what I need now is the tours graphic. You may need to resize this so you can make sure you're reading these properly. What I'm looking for is tours_main.gif.

Now if you look to the right to the thumbnail of this, you're going to see in a very important clue is to what we're going to be doing here. You'll notice that even though its one long graphic, 817 pixels by 60 pixels, it actually looks like three of them. That's because there are three different states for a menu in a single graphic. We're going to use the positioning attribute of the background image to change that based on how users are interacting with it, or the current pace that we're on. So I'm going to go ahead and click OK, and I'm going to choose no-repeat because I only want to see one of these, and now we're going to take a look at Background Positioning.

Now Background Positioning can be either assigned to an x or y coordinate, and you could also think of those as horizontal or vertical. We do have some keywords that we can use, so if you grab the pulldown menu, you could choose left and top. That would align the top left-hand corner of background image with the top left- hand corner of its parent element. I'm going to go ahead and click OK, and I can see you're right there, our background image Tours is now showing up and lining up exactly where I want it to. All right. We need to go ahead and do that for the rest of those. So I'm going to go to mission, double- click that, go to our Background category and browse for the image.

Now for this one, we're looking for the mission_main.gif. I'm going to click OK. We're going to do no-repeat for the Background image and once again, left and top for the background position, Click Ok, and now Mission shows up. Next up is Contact, so I'm going to double-click that in the CSS Styles panel, I'm going to go to the Background category, and then I want to browse for this graphic. Now here we're looking for contact_main. Go ahead and just like the last two, no-repeat left and top.

Now we need to do the Recourses again. I'm going to go to my Background category, browse for this and in the _images directory this time, we are looking for resource_main.gif. Click OK, no-repeat because we only see it once, left and top. Click OK and finally, our last one down here is going to be Explorers. So we'll find explorers. Go to the Background category and here you're going to browse to explorers_main.gif, Background-repeat is going to be no-repeat, left and top. Okay, cool.

So there is our menu, and it looks fine, and it would work just fine, but we want to tweak this a little bit. You may have noticed, again, that this graphic was actually three graphics in one. Our sidebar over here is 272 pixels wide, and I'm just going to show you this opened in Photoshop really quickly and if I open up one of these in Photoshop, I think you can see this a little bit more clearly. So what we've got is for every 272 pixels, there is a new version of this. Now that means that if we change the position of this background graphic, based on some they say hovering over it, then that we can simply switch it from this one to this one by moving the graphic over to left or over to the right or whichever direction we need to do.

So let's go take a look at doing that within our CSS. So now back in Dreamweaver all we need to do is update two of our CSS Rules. I want to point out these in particular. We have ul#baseNav li a.current and then the same thing with the hover attribute applied to it to group together. That is going to deal with any page that's been identified as the current page. We also have this one, ul#baseNav li a: hover. What that rule is going to do is it's just going to affect any of those list items as they're being hovered over, as say someone's rolling over the links, and that's the one that we are going to start with.

So I'm going to go ahead and highlight that one out. You might be tempted to go ahead and double-click this and bring it up and good to the Background category, I'm going to caution you not to do that. Okay, the reason I'm going to say that is because we don't need to modify the Background property. We need to use the very specific Background Position property. If you double-click that, go into the Background category and start making some changes, you can override the changes that we've already done we don't want that. Okay, so here's what I'd want you to do. Go right down here into this Property section Add a Property, and you want to add the background-position property. Now again, you can grab that from the pulldown menu and choose background-position if you don't feel like typing that in.

Now when you're doing a Background- Position property, you can put two values into that. The first value will be the horizontal value, left, center, right. The second value is going to be the vertical value top, center, bottom. Now, you don't have to use those keywords that I just called out. You can actually use numeric values. So we know that that graphic is 272 pixels wide for each one of its different states. So in order to move it over to the left, all we have to do is type in -272 pixels and then, again, hit Space and type in a zero because I don't want to move up or down at all so I can just say -272 and zero and hit Return.

Now that's going to work for every single one of these guys because they all are going to do the same thing. They're just going to shift over by -272 pixels. Let's do something very similar to the rule just above that. So this ul#baseNav li a.current and then ul#baseNav li a.current:hover, it takes me a long time to say that and looking at it if you're brand-new to CSS, you've got to just be going, are you kidding me? But really its really simple guys. All this is saying is "Hey. "If there is and A tag, which is your link, inside of a list item, which our main "navigation is built out of a list, if that's inside of an unordered list with the id of baseNav, which this is then I want to do something." That's all that's saying, so there is really nothing complicated about it.

It's just targeting something based on its structure. Okay. I'm going to go ahead and add the same property to this. We're going to do background-position. Again, if you feel like typing it, you can just grab that from the pulldown menu. And now what I need to do is set some values there now. I would be tempted to go ahead and multiply 272 x 3, but I'm pretty bad at math, and I've got some keywords that can help me here. What I'm going to do is I'm going to do right space top, so we're back to using keyword. Now what is that going to do for us? Well that's going to take the top right- hand corner of the image and line that up with the top right- hand corner of the element.

So that's all we really needed and hey, look, Resources has already changed. If you were to place your cursor inside of resources you would see it says a.resources current so the class current has already been applied to this link, and we're seeing that work. Cool! Now we're going to see the hover in just a moment, but I want to make one quick tweak to page before we do that. Background positioning can help you with a lot of things and not just links. Take a look at the custom bullets that we made. Do they look a little high up to you? Well, that's because the top of the graphic is lining up at the top of the image.

It's not sort of centering there, so let's go ahead and modify that slightly. What I want you to do is, again, go back to your CSS Styles panel, scroll down until you find this selector right here, #mainContent #mainArticle li. Go ahead and select that. Here we have the background image that we added earlier. Now we can certainly do this here, but there's is no harm, no foul in double-clicking that and bringing up our CSS Rule Definition dialog box again here. Click on the Background category. We can see our star bullet, no-repeat, but we didn't do anything for background positioning either x or y. So what I want to do here is zero for x because I don't want it to move right or left, but for background position y, I'm going to type in 2 pixels. What that's going to do is its going to push the image down by 2 pixels, which as we see when we click OK, sort of just moves it down a little bit and centers it a little bit better on those list items. Perfect! All right. Let's do a Save All, preview this page in our browser and one of the things that we're going to see when we roll over these links now is that you aren't swapping out image graphics when you do this. You're simply moving that graphic to the left by 272 pixels.

But it gives you the nice illusion that you're swapping images out. Isn't that cool? By learning to control background image positioning, you can become much more creative with how your background images are integrated into your visual design, and you can add compelling techniques like this CSS-based image rollover that we did. There is, of course, more to using background images and their capabilities. I would invite you to check out any of the CSS-based titles on the lynda.com Online Training Library including my Dreamweaver CS3 and CS4 with CSS essential titles, where I have complete chapters on using background images.

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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