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

Using CSS visual aids

From: Dreamweaver CS6 Essential Training

Video: Using CSS visual aids

When designing pages it's sometimes extremely helpful to note what you're looking at, or what the properties of an element are without having to resort to using one of the panels that we've been using up 'till now. Dreamweaver has several visual aids that you can use to assist you, when designing your pages with CSS. So with the programs.htm file open from the 06_09 directory, and we're just going to show off some of the visual aids here. Now, I of course had the foresight, because I'm the one writing the tutorial, right? But I'd the foresight to go in and turn all of them off.

Using CSS visual aids

When designing pages it's sometimes extremely helpful to note what you're looking at, or what the properties of an element are without having to resort to using one of the panels that we've been using up 'till now. Dreamweaver has several visual aids that you can use to assist you, when designing your pages with CSS. So with the programs.htm file open from the 06_09 directory, and we're just going to show off some of the visual aids here. Now, I of course had the foresight, because I'm the one writing the tutorial, right? But I'd the foresight to go in and turn all of them off.

So your preview screen may look a little different than mine. I just want show a couple of these visual aids off to you. So in doing that I turned them all off and I'm going to turn them on at a time. So you can see kind of what those things are. Now you'll also notice that I'm in Design view and I'm not in Live view. So I've got Live view turned off and I'm in Design view, so that I can sort of see the visual rendering on the page. Alright, so our visual aids are accessible through a couple different places. You can go upto the menu and go to View. But probably the easiest place to grab them is right here in the Document toolbar. You can see this little pull-down menu with the eye.

I'm going to grab that and I'm just going to start kind of in the bottom and work my way up. Now we have a lot of different Visual Aids, but in terms of CSS Visual Aids, we have pretty much stuff for these guys. Although, I guess you could select AP Elements Outline as being one of those as well. If you do any absolutely positioned element, it'll give you a nice outline around it. So as a matter of fact, you can see that right here, that is an absolute positioned element and that's the outline around it. Okay, I'm going to turn on the CSS Layout Outlines. Now the first thing that that does for you, you are probably used to this view by now. It gives you some dashed (-) lines around the different elements on the page.

So it's very easy for me to tell, when I'm looking at one container element versus another, and as I hover over those lines you'll see that it'll turn red indicating I can select that particular element. So a lot of times when you're dealing with more complex layouts where you have a lot of nested elements inside of elements, this is a really handy thing to turn on, because it makes it very easy to tell kind of who you're hovering over and who you're looking at. The next tool, I want to show you is a Layout Box Model, and it sort of goes hand-in-hand with these layout outlines. You'll notice now, that if I hover over one of these elements, and let's say I selected like this main article.

As soon as I select it, instead of just selecting the element now, I get this sort of these little diagonal lines inside of it. And these diagonal lines are indicating to me, the amount of padding and margins that an element has. If I hover over that area you can see, as a matter of fact, it says Padding: 16 pixels. So the more I go over an element, when I hover over an element, I'm getting some of the box model properties of that specific element. When I go over the contents of that article, I get more information about the article itself, what type of tag it is, what type of box model positioning. In this case, it's Floating to the left. The width of that applied to as well. So that's a, extremely useful feature. The next thing I am going to do, I'm going to go upto my Visual Aid menu again, and I'm going to choose the CSS Layout Backgrounds.

Now, you may find this useful or not, when you turn this on all of your background images and all of your background colors that you've assigned through CSS are going to go away, and what you're going to see, is you're going to see a semi-opaque background that's applied to the elements itself, and it's just kind of letting you know where those regions are. So you can very quickly and easily scan through the page, and tell that these headlines and these two columns are inside of an element. We can also tell that these links are inside their own regions as well.

We can also tell how these regions are being positioned, and the amount of space between them, which is really hard to do when this is turned off. If I turn these back off for example you can see that other then the outlines, I really don't have anything visually letting me know, that info. So it's a very nice quick and easy way to scan it. Now one thing you need to know about that, is as soon as I turn it on, I get a different set of colors every time. So there's a random algorithm that determines what these colors are going to be. So it would be lovely if you're like, hey, every single time you find the element named Info it would give this background color.

But they don't quite work that way. They're really for just sort of a quick visual survey if you will. I'm going to turn those off, and I'm not going to turn this on, but this option Fluid Grid Layout Guides, if you use the new Fluid Grid feature inside Dreamweaver, it's going to give you basically an overlay of columns on your page. When you resize your layout elements, it's going to help you snap to those particular column. So this is very useful if you're using Fluid Grids. Now there's one more feature that I want to show you guys, that's not really one of these contained within the menu. If I go up to View and I turn my Rulers on.

So I'm going to go down towards bottom here to Rulers, and I'm going to tell it to Show. You can see that I get rulers above this. Now this is quite common for anybody that's ever used Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, programs like that. You're used to having those rulers, and if you're used to having those rulers my guess is that you're used to being able to drag guides out from those rulers as I'm doing here, and place them on the page. Now I absolutely love the guides in Dreamweaver. I wish other programs had guides as powerful as Dreamweaver. That sounds like a ridiculous statement to make, but it's true. Notice that as I mouse over these areas, it's snapping right to the edge of those elements, and notice that as I'm dragging out the guide it tells me where I'm at, position-wise, on the page.

So as I drag these guides out, it's telling me exactly where I am and what I'm lining up with. So as I continue to drag these out, you'll notice that I'm getting really precise measurements. Now above and beyond that, check this out. This blows my mind. I love this. If I mouse over an area where I have some guides on the page, and I hold down the Ctrl Key on a PC or the Cmd Key on the Mac, look at that. I get measurements between the guides. Let's say I mouse inside this and turn this on, I can see that the height of these undergraduate degrees, all these links is 24 pixels, and I can see the width of the box, there inside of is 318 pixels.

That is really cool. Again I wish other programs will allow us to do that. Now the one really big downer to using these really cool CSS Visual Aids is that as soon as I go up and turn Live view on, they all go away. So while those ruler guides are amazing, and they're very powerful. Since the Design view does such a poor job of showing you what the layout's actually looking like of the large part, unless you're using extremely simple CSS you probably won't find a whole lot of usage in them. You will find usage out of things like these CSS Layout Elements though in the box model properties.

That's really useful, but unfortunately for the most part I don't use the guides a whole lot, because well, it's not an accurate representation of what my layout's going to be. So while the CSS Visual Aids in Dreamweaver are powerful, that lack of support for them in Live View means they're not as effective as you'd want to them to be when planning and testing your layouts. Thankfully Dreamweaver does have a few more tricks up its sleeve when dealing with Live view and we're going to explore that in our next movie, as we use the CSS Inspect feature.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Dreamweaver CS6 Essential Training
Dreamweaver CS6 Essential Training

90 video lessons · 56082 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 4s
    1. What is Dreamweaver?
      1m 4s
  2. 5m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 17s
    3. Learning web design
      2m 23s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Looking at the Welcome screen
      5m 9s
    2. Exploring Windows and Mac interface differences
      5m 6s
    3. Arranging panels
      8m 44s
    4. Managing workspaces
      10m 14s
    5. Exploring the Application toolbar
      6m 21s
    6. Exploring the Document toolbar
      8m 47s
    7. Working with the Property inspector
      9m 30s
    8. Using the Insert panel
      6m 30s
  4. 53m 3s
    1. Understanding basic site structure
      3m 46s
    2. Exploring file naming conventions
      2m 10s
    3. Defining a new site
      5m 23s
    4. Managing files and folders
      7m 57s
    5. Adding remote servers
      7m 4s
    6. Uploading files
      12m 46s
    7. Previewing in browsers
      9m 11s
    8. Managing multiple sites
      4m 46s
  5. 36m 41s
    1. Creating new documents
      6m 49s
    2. Setting up new document preferences
      5m 30s
    3. Setting accessibility preferences
      6m 49s
    4. Working with starter pages
      4m 32s
    5. Managing starter pages
      13m 1s
  6. 37m 23s
    1. Getting text into Dreamweaver
      8m 43s
    2. Importing Word documents
      4m 6s
    3. Adding structure to text
      7m 35s
    4. Creating lists
      4m 35s
    5. Creating definition lists
      4m 0s
    6. Using the Quick Tag Editor
      8m 24s
  7. 44m 41s
    1. Exploring the Code toolbar
      5m 41s
    2. Setting code preferences
      7m 19s
    3. Using code hints
      8m 8s
    4. Wrapping tags
      5m 7s
    5. Adding comments
      6m 29s
    6. Using snippets
      7m 32s
    7. Formatting source code
      4m 25s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Setting CSS preferences
      9m 32s
    2. An overview of the CSS Styles panel
      9m 23s
    3. Creating a new CSS rule
      6m 42s
    4. Using the CSS Rule Definition dialog
      7m 25s
    5. Organizing styles
      7m 22s
    6. Modifying style properties
      6m 17s
    7. Controlling CSS through the Property inspector
      6m 37s
    8. Attaching external style sheets
      5m 54s
    9. Using CSS visual aids
      7m 3s
    10. Using CSS Inspect
      6m 48s
    11. Using the Code Navigator
      6m 39s
  9. 1h 11m
    1. Managing assets in Dreamweaver
      7m 30s
    2. Setting external image editing preferences
      4m 26s
    3. Placing images on the page
      10m 12s
    4. Exploring Photoshop integration
      7m 17s
    5. Modifying Smart Objects
      9m 42s
    6. Modifying image properties
      8m 4s
    7. Styling images with CSS
      6m 45s
    8. Using background graphics
      7m 28s
    9. Positioning background graphics
      10m 10s
  10. 36m 23s
    1. Link basics
      3m 17s
    2. Setting site linking preferences
      2m 19s
    3. Creating links in Dreamweaver
      9m 17s
    4. Using absolute links
      3m 43s
    5. Using named anchors
      6m 41s
    6. Creating an email link
      5m 25s
    7. Creating CSS-based rollovers
      5m 41s
  11. 44m 30s
    1. Reviewing table structure
      5m 20s
    2. Importing tabular data
      6m 46s
    3. Creating accessible tables
      6m 11s
    4. Exploring basic table styling
      9m 42s
    5. Styling alternate rows
      8m 57s
    6. Creating custom table borders
      7m 34s
  12. 59m 15s
    1. Understanding how forms work
      2m 45s
    2. Reviewing form design
      3m 44s
    3. Creating accessible forms
      5m 16s
    4. Setting form properties
      2m 39s
    5. Using the fieldset and legend tags
      2m 52s
    6. Inserting text fields
      6m 56s
    7. Inserting list menu items
      7m 54s
    8. Inserting checkboxes
      4m 14s
    9. Inserting radio button groups
      3m 52s
    10. Inserting submit buttons
      2m 25s
    11. Exploring basic form styling
      8m 2s
    12. Exploring form element styling
      8m 36s
  13. 33m 25s
    1. Adding CSS3 transitions
      8m 29s
    2. Spry overview
      2m 44s
    3. Using Spry widgets
      3m 57s
    4. Adding Spry effects
      8m 1s
    5. Using the Widget Browser
      7m 4s
    6. Extending Dreamweaver
      3m 10s
  14. 1m 2s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 2s

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 CS6 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 preferences from 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.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

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.