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Using background graphics

From: Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

Video: Using background graphics

An alternate way for you to display images on your pages is through the use of CSS Background Images. Every single element on your page has the ability to display a background color or image, or both if you prefer. Now this allows you to display images on the page without using an image tag and creates the opportunity for presentation only images. Now this allows you to use images for your design without cluttering up your HTML with unnecessary image tags. In this example, we will apply a background image to the body tag to give our page a little bit more visual kick, add the Explore California logo and give our list some custom bullets and if we're looking at this page, and I have the resources.htm page open, it lacks some of the visual kick that maybe our other pages have had.

Using background graphics

An alternate way for you to display images on your pages is through the use of CSS Background Images. Every single element on your page has the ability to display a background color or image, or both if you prefer. Now this allows you to display images on the page without using an image tag and creates the opportunity for presentation only images. Now this allows you to use images for your design without cluttering up your HTML with unnecessary image tags. In this example, we will apply a background image to the body tag to give our page a little bit more visual kick, add the Explore California logo and give our list some custom bullets and if we're looking at this page, and I have the resources.htm page open, it lacks some of the visual kick that maybe our other pages have had.

Now not all the background graphics had been removed from the page but most of them have, so our image or logo that we're just seeing here, the gradient in the background is not here anymore. We're missing our links. We're missing a few things here. So what we're going to do now is we're going to go into our CSS, explore the background image property and set some of the background images for a few of these elements. Now, the first rule we want to do is our body tag. The body tag is the top most parent element and a very common technique among Web designers is to use background images to sort of create an interesting visual background for the entire page, and that's really what we're going to be doing here.

So I want to go over my CSS Styles panel, and I want to find my body tag right there. Just go ahead and double-click that. That's going to open up the CSS Rule Definition dialog box, and I want to switch from our categories from Type to the Background category. So here can see where we can establish a background color, or in the case of what we need it to do, browse to find a background image, so I'm going to go ahead and click browse, and we want to browse to the 08_11 > _images directory. Now here I'm going to switch my view to detail so I can quickly jump down to what I need to find here, and I'm going to scroll down into my graphics until I find this one right here, page_background.jpg.

Now if you select that and look over to the right-hand side, you'll see something pretty interesting about this graphic. It's very narrow. It's only 10 pixels wide, but it's 1600 pixels tall. So that's kind of curious. How is that one graphic going to give us a background for our entire page. Well let's check this out. Go ahead, and click OK, and notice that we have some other options down here for customizing what happens with those background graphics. For example, one of the options is Background-repeat. Now by default, background images just tile over and over and over and over again, right on top of each other they go from left to right, top to bottom, and that's been responsible for some really bad page designs in the past, but you can also use that to your advantage.

Because notice I can grab the pulldown menu. I can tell this graphic, "Hey "you shouldn't repeat. "You should only show up one time. Go ahead and repeat. That's what I want you to do," or repeat only along one axis. So I could have it repeated along the x axis, which would just repeat it horizontally, or it could repeat it along the y axis, which would repeat it vertically. Now, remember from looking at that thumbnail that this is a very thin image but very long. So if we repeat this along its x axis its just going to show up over and over and over again and since it's going to seamlessly blend together, it's going to give the illusion - and I'm just going to go ahead and click OK - of a single gradient in the background when in fact, all that is is just that graphic repeating over and over again.

Now, you may have noticed something else about this too, that after certain amount of scrolling that graphic kind of goes away, and I'm left with sort of a white background color. Well that's another thing that we can do for this body tag, so I'm going to double-click that, so re-open that selector. Go back to background, and in addition to having a background image, you can also have a background color. So I'm going to click right there for background color, and I'm going to type in #e1d8b9. If you hit Tab, you'll see that its kind of that sand color, and now when I click OK, this time when I scroll down, instead of seeing the bottom of that graphic because the bottom of the graphic and that sand color are the same, it's a nice seamless merging between the background image and the background color.

So those two things can be used in conjunction with each other to form some pretty compelling effects. Well, we need get our logo on the page, and our logo is going to go right here in this header region, so what I want to do now is go over to my CSS Styles panel, scroll down and find the header region. There it is. Double-click that and go to my Background property. Once again, I need to browse to find an image, and in this case, I want to find the logo graphc, so I'm going to scroll down until I find logo.gif. You can see the Image preview right here. Perfect! We'd go ahead and click OK. Now in this particular instance, I don't want that to repeat at all.

I don't want to ever see more than just one of these graphics, so what I'm going to do now is for my Background- repeat, I'm going to tell it no-repeat. Now I also want to point out something out that's very important about this. So if you want to see the entire image, you need set both a width and a height for that as well. Now that is already been done on this rule, and I'll show you that just in a moment. So I am going to go ahead and click OK. Notice that we're just seeing one copy of the logo showing up in that space. Just to show you that whole width and height property that I was talking about, I'm going to bring up my code navigator, and I want you to notice that right up here for this particular header selector, I have a width of 192, and I have a height of 237.

Not by coincidence, that is the exact same size as my image. So that's why we're seeing the entire graphic, and it fits in there very, very nicely. Now, I'm going to scroll down a little bit further, and I want to show you this list we've got down here. So this is a bulleted or unordered list, but you may notice that we are not seeing any bullets. The reason for that is, in one of the other selectors, we're setting the list Style property of our URL to none. That tells any browser or user agent: Don't display numbers or bullets depending upon what type of list this is.

This is a really easy way for you to do custom bullets for your lists. You can tell the list not to display as a list, and then you can use a background graphic for the individual list items and use that as a bullet. So that's what we're going to do here. So what I want to do is go over to CSS Styles, scroll down a little bit, and I want to find the #mainContent # mainArticle li. Go ahead and double-click that and once again, go to your Background property. Here I'm going to browse for a background image.

I'll go into our images directory again, and what I'm looking for here is the star_bullet.gif, and you'll notice that this is a very small graphic, 16x16 pixels, and it's very, very subtle it's just that little star. Anytime that you're going to do custom bullets, my advice to you is to keep them small and to keep them simple. Most of the times when I see them and they weren't executed properly, the bullets themselves were either too large or somebody tried to put too complex of a graphic there. So I'm going to go ahead and click OK. We have some very important choices to make here.

Number one, we don't want to see those stars repeating all the way through our list item. We only want to see it on the left-hand side. So I'm just going to tell Background-repeat no-repeat. That is only going to show one star and then click OK. There is our stars. Now the reason that the stars aren't showing up underneath the text, you might be wondering about that. I want to go ahead and point out the reason for that. The reason for that is there are 24 pixels worth of padding on the left-hand side that's keeping the text away from the edge of the element, so if I turn on my CSS Inspect feature, which we'll learn a little bit more about later on, when I browse over these, you can see that that sort of purple magenta area right there, that's the padding giving enough space between the edge of the list item and the text so that the graphic can display.

If that padding was not there, the H and the A and the D, all those first letters would be showing up right on top of that star. Okay, so in just three short additions through our CSS, we have made a dramatic impact. All without modifying the original HTML of our file at all, or using any image tags. Background images can add a lot to your site's Visual design without adding additional weight to your HTML code. Now often, I'm asked the question of when you should use a background image versus adding an image tag to the page.

Well, my answer to that is that, for me if the image needs to be encountered by other user agents or Alt text needs to be passed on for that image, well I'll go ahead and use an Image tag. Otherwise, almost all of the other images on my pages are displayed using CSS Background Images. For every rule, there is an exception, and I've tried to define clear-cut rules for background images at the start of building my sites. Now we're almost done with our background images, but in our next movie, I want to explore using the positioning attribute of background images to further enhance the design.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

135 video lessons · 88918 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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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
      34s

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