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Before we get started building pages, we should take a closer look at the Dreamweaver interface. Being comfortable with the interface and knowing where things are located will make it easier to concentrate on the concepts and workflows being presented, rather than trying to find a specific toolbar or icon. Now, first, I want to take a look at the Welcome Screen. When you open up Dreamweaver for the first time, the Welcome Screen is the first thing you see, showing up right in the middle of the screen, where you would normally see an open file. You can think of the Welcome Screen as Dreamweaver's homepage, as it gives you quick access to a lot of common tasks that you will be performing in Dreamweaver.
Now, opening a file will replace the Welcome Screen, but it will appear again as soon as there are no remaining open files. So as soon as you close all your files, it comes right back again. Let's take a closer look at the Welcome Screen and some of the things that we can do with it. As you just saw, one of the best things about the Welcome Screen is its ability to open up recent files. The first column, right here on the left-hand side, is Open a Recent Item. Any files that you have been working on will be listed here, and a single click is going to take you right to that file. Now, of course, the first time you open up Dreamweaver, that list is probably going to be empty.
But as you start working on a project, that list is going to fill up. It's going to give you quick access to the files in your current project. There is also a folder just underneath that called Open. If you really do need to browse to find a file, clicking that will allow you to browse to any place within your current site to open up a file. In the middle column, we have Create New. This gives us a list of all sorts of different pages: HTML, PHP pages - if you are building a dynamic Web site, XML, CSS, there is a ton of different file types here.
So if you click on that, it will create a brand new page using the default settings. Now, in a little while, we will go into Dreamweaver's Preferences, and we will show how to set those, but just know that when you click that, you are going to get the default settings for that particular type of file. Now, we also have very quick access to creating a new Dreamweaver Site. That's probably the first thing that you need to do whenever starting a new project in Dreamweaver. Again, in just a little bit, we will be talking about how to define sites in Dreamweaver as well. Now, just like opening a recent item, there is a folder down here called More. If you need more options when creating a new file type, you can simply click that.
That will give you the New Document dialog box, which has considerably more options than just your default settings. On the right-hand side, we see a column called Top Features. Now, notice that these are all videos. Clicking on one of these will take you out to Adobe TV, where you can watch a video on that new feature. They have highlighted some of the top new features in Dreamweaver CS5. So if you want to learn a little bit more about BrowserLab or CSS Enable, this is a nice way to do that. In the lower left-hand corner, we have a set of links that will take you to some online documentation, documentation about Getting Stated within Dreamweaver, highlighting some of the New Features, or Resources, if you need more detailed help information.
Just underneath that, there is a link to Dreamweaver Exchange. The Dreamweaver Exchange will allow you to download widgets and resources to make Dreamweaver a little bit more powerful and extend some of the functionality within the program. Now, if for some reason, you don't want to show the Welcome Screen, and I really can't think of why you wouldn't, but if you don't, there is a little check box right down here that says Don't show again. Now, if you click that - let me just say OK to the warning message that comes up from Dreamweaver - but if you click it, the next time you will launch Dreamweaver, you won't see the Welcome Screen. So what happens if somebody plays a prank on you, and you really use the Welcome Screen a lot? Well, it's easy to get it back.
If you go to your Preferences, and you can go to Edit > Preferences, or if you are on the Mac, you can go to Dreamweaver > Preferences. Just go to the General Category, and it's the very first setting, Show Welcome Screen. Just click that again, click OK, and the next time you will launch Dreamweaver, the Welcome Screen will come right back to where it was before. Now, I love how the Welcome Screen unobtrusively gives me access to recently opened files, allows me to create new files with a single click, and gives me a way to explore some of the new features found in CS5. Now, although some people tend to let the Welcome Screen sort of blend into the background, I think you will find that if you begin to use it regularly, it really speeds up the process of opening up current files, creating new ones, or a lot of the common tasks that you will be performing within Dreamweaver.
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