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Using the Code Navigator

From: Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

Video: Using the Code Navigator

The creation and modification of CSS is central to almost everything you do when designing Web pages. We see this focus reflected in the number of panels and tools that Dreamweaver provides us to work with our CSS. Of those tools, I count the Code Navigator as one of the most important. The Code Navigator gives you an easy way to access and modify your styles from anywhere in your document, without having to know exactly which rule is controlling the element from within your styles. As your site gets more complicated, it's not unusual to have styles in various places throughout your site all coming together at runtime to determine final rendering.

Using the Code Navigator

The creation and modification of CSS is central to almost everything you do when designing Web pages. We see this focus reflected in the number of panels and tools that Dreamweaver provides us to work with our CSS. Of those tools, I count the Code Navigator as one of the most important. The Code Navigator gives you an easy way to access and modify your styles from anywhere in your document, without having to know exactly which rule is controlling the element from within your styles. As your site gets more complicated, it's not unusual to have styles in various places throughout your site all coming together at runtime to determine final rendering.

Because of this, it can often be difficult to know exactly which rule to modify to achieve the desired results. Let's take a moment and explore the Code Navigator and how it can help you quickly assess and access your styles. So here I have the tours.htm open. If I scroll down to the page, I can see something is a little amiss. So here we have our tour description text, and the font size is a little large, and the line spacing is a little large as well. I would like this text to be a little smaller, so that it would fit a little bit more neatly right beside each of the graphics there.

So right now, we are having some text sort of flow down there and break, and it's a little too big, so I want to change that up a little bit. Now, if you look over in our CSS Styles panel, you can see how many selectors we have driving this page. There's a tremendous amount of selectors. So it would probably take us a fair amount of time to comb through all those selectors to figure out exactly which one is driving this text. Now, knowing the structure of what you are working with really helps. If I click inside this text, I notice that it's inside of a div with the class, tour description.

So that is probably a nice indicator of exactly what's controlling this. Now, this is where the Code Navigator can really help us. If you click inside of an element, if you just wait for a second or two, you are going to see this little icon come up. It looks kind of like the steering wheel of a ship. If you hover over that icon, it will tell you that this is the Code Navigator. Clicking on that is going to open up another window, sort of like a tooltip. You are going to see this listing of all the styles that are affecting this element. So what we are looking at right now is a list of all of the selectors in our CSS, that is, in some way or another, styling that particular element.

This means that every time you click on an element, you are going to see a totally different list, based off of that element and the styles driving it. These styles are arranged in the order of farthest from the element to the closest of the element. Now, what that means is any property at the bottom of the list that conflicts with the property above it, bottom property wins. So if you are wondering, "What size is this? What line-height?" you can just start at the bottom, hover over the rule. You will see a summary of that rule's properties, and you can just go sort of all the way up to determine exactly which rules are controlling which properties.

So in this case, we have this #mainContent .tourDescription p, very descriptive, very specific rule, and all its doing is setting font-size to 1 em. The rule just above that, #mainContent p, is giving us both font-size and line-height, and then finally, the rule just above that is giving us our color. So you might think to yourself, "Well, I probably should modify this one for line-height and this one for size, and if I wanted to change color, maybe refine that one," but here's the problem with that. #mainContent p is going to be controlling all paragraphs found within the mainContent.

We need to be a little bit more specific, because remember, we only want to change this text. So really the rule that we are going to be changing is the targeted rule at that very bottom of the list. Now, before we get into how to use the Code Navigator to make changes to your CSS, I want to talk a little bit more about the Code Navigator's functionality. You will notice that every time you click on an element, that icon comes up. Well, if you are not in the mood to work with a Code Navigator or that's not the task at hand, that can be more than a little annoying. So I know a lot of people out there that don't like the Code Navigator, just because it seems to always get in the way.

Well, notice, in the lower right-hand corner of this dialog box, we have a little checkmark that says Disable. I am going to go ahead and check that. Now, that also might bring up the question, well, if you disable it, then how in the world do you use it? Well, just to the left of that you will see a keyboard shortcut indicating how to bring up the Code Navigator. On the PC, you will Alt+ Click an item and on the Mac, you will Option+Command+Click an item. So now with that disabled, let me click off of my element again, and now no matter where I click, or how long I pause, the Code Navigator icon doesn't come up anymore.

So if we are not actually trying to use it, it's not going to get in the way. I like that. But now, to bring it up, all I have to do is hold down my Alt key and click on the element. Remember, if you are on a Mac, you are going to hold down your Command and your Option key while you click. That brings up the exact same dialog box, and now you control when the Code Navigator appears, and for me, that's a lot more efficient. Okay. Well, let's see how we can actually change this selector so that the text is doing what we want it to do. I am going to go all the way down and find that last rule, # mainContent tourDescription p. I will hover over that, and I am just going to click it.

You will notice, as soon as you hover over it, that it becomes a link. I am just going to go ahead and click that. Now, that's going to take me to this rule in two separate locations. On the left-hand side, it takes me directly into my CSS Code. So if you prefer hand-coding, it's going to jump you right to your CSS Code. It's going to jump to that specific spot, and you can just begin adding properties or modifying the ones that you already have there. If hand-coding is not your cup of tea, you will notice on the right-hand side that if I look at my CSS Styles panel, that rule is highlighted right there.

So it's very easy for me to go ahead and select that. So that's a pretty nice way of just sort of jumping to that particular rule in the CSS Styles panel without having to browse all the way through it. Now, to give myself a little bit more room here, I am going to go ahead and close my Files panel. I can do that by double-clicking the tab here. And now I can go in and modify the properties for this particular rule. Now, remember, I wanted to do two things here, make the text a little smaller. So I am going to change font size from 1 em to 0.9 ems. The next thing I wanted to do is adjust the line height so that the lines were a little closer together.

So I am going to click here to add a property. Now, I can either type in the line height property, or I can grab the pulldown menu, scroll through the list and find line height. So if you are not exactly sure how that's written out, feel free to use that list. Next, I am going to type in 1.5 for my line height. That's a little shorter than 1.8, which is what it was before. And I am going to go ahead and make sure we are doing a multiple there, rather than a unit of measurement. We will talk about line height in the chapter on Typography, so we are going to go into that in more detail a little bit later on. I am going to go ahead and hit Return or Enter to make sure I make that change.

And if I switch over to Design view, now we can see that our text is a lot closer together, and it fits within that space nicely. I am going to go ahead and do a Save All, so that my CSS is saved as well. And there we go. We have used the Code Navigator to target a specific element on the page and modify its styles in order to achieve the styling that we were looking for. So as you can see, when working with really complex sites, the Code Navigator can greatly speed up the process of identifying where a property is being set, which properties from other rules are being applied, and then targeting and modifying the proper rule for the desired change.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

135 video lessons · 89038 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

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