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Writing global styles


Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

Video: Writing global styles

Our final movie in this chapter will focus on putting a little bit of everything we've covered so far together, while focusing on the concept of using the cascade to control styling. When creating the CSS for your sites, your focus should be on writing the cleanest and most efficient styles possible. By utilizing the cascade, you can write generic styles that handle the bulk of your styling work, leaving you to write just a few very specific selectors when styling in one area varies from the global standards that you've set.
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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

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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

Writing global styles

Our final movie in this chapter will focus on putting a little bit of everything we've covered so far together, while focusing on the concept of using the cascade to control styling. When creating the CSS for your sites, your focus should be on writing the cleanest and most efficient styles possible. By utilizing the cascade, you can write generic styles that handle the bulk of your styling work, leaving you to write just a few very specific selectors when styling in one area varies from the global standards that you've set.

This method requires that you spend a good bit of time planning a site-wide strategy for typography for your site. To be honest, that's a really good idea. It helps your site be more consistent, requires less code to achieve the desired results, and saves development time since you won't be constantly overwriting and rewriting your styles. Now, we've got opened an unstyled page here. Yes, it has some layout. Yes, it's got some graphics in it, but the typography of this page is totally unstyled at the moment. So the first thing that we're going to do, and that's what we'll be do in this movie, is to create our global styles.

And then in the next movie, we'll follow that with just a few area-specific styles that are required to finish up our desired formatting. So what we have opened is the resources.htm, and this is found in the 07_10 folder. Now, the first thing we're going to do is I'm going to switch this to a Split screen view. I want my code on the left, and I want my design on the right. Just to give us a little bit more screen real estate, I'm going to take our panels, and I'm going to collapse those panels down. So I can do that in the other upper right-hand corner of the dock. I can collapse those icons and then I can grab the separator and just sort of push them a little further over so I only have icons over there.

Now, why am I doing all that? Because we are going to do a little bit of hand-coding in this movie. Now don't panic. It's not that hard. You've had a lot of experience so far in this chapter by using the CSS Styles panel. You've had a lot of experience go-ahead and opening up the CSS Rules Definition dialog box, and entering in values there, so now it's time to do a little bit of hand coding. I promise we'll go slow. We'll get through it. It's going to be okay, and I guarantee you you're going to think to yourself after you are done with this, "Hey, that's not so bad." All right.

So what I need to do is, up here underneath the name of the file resources, I need to click on my main.css, so I have that open. So we're looking at our CSS on the left-hand side. We're looking at our design on the right-hand side, and we'll be able to kind of focus back and forth between the two in order to do what it is that we need to do. So the first thing we need to do - I'm going to scroll down - is around line 55 I'm going to place my cursor right there, and I'm going to do our limited-scale reset. Now remember, earlier we take a look at this, and that's basically zeroing out all the margins in the paddings, so that instead of the default margins of paddings that the browser might give our elements, we are in-charge of writing those.

So it sort of resets everything so that we're in control of it. So the first line I'm going to type in h1,h2. Now I want to talk about that comma for just a moment. Spaces between selectors mean that you're looking for one selector inside of another one, but the commas are way of grouping selectors together, so that comma is a way of saying, both the h1 and the h2. All right. So we're going to do another comma. We're going to do h3,h4,h5 so it's a pattern, ,h6. There we go ,p,address,blockquote,div,ul,li and if it breaks on you don't worry. It's okay. All right.

So we're good there. Now, I'm going to open up a curly brace. Now, where do I found those? Well, on your keyboard, just at the right of the P key, you have your opening and your closing curly braces, and you have to hold down the Shift key to get them. So I want to open in curly brace. Now as soon as you do that, Dreamweaver is trying to help you out. It's giving you a full list of properties that you can set for this particular selector that we've just created. I'm going to hit Return, so that we go down in the next line, just in keeping with the formatting options that they've already been doing. Here I'm going to type an m. It will jump down to margin, and that's exactly what I want. So this is a process called code- hinting, and it helps you rapidly write code.

By just hitting m, I jumped down this list to margin, and now when I hit Return, Dreamweaver finishes it for me. It not only finishes typing it, but notice that it typed in a colon for me as well, so it's helping me with the syntax too, which is really cool. Now, I'm going to type in 0 and then a semicolon. Semicolons are used to say "Okay, this property is over. Let's move on to the next one." Go down to the next line, and here you want to type in padding, or actually you can just type in p. It's going to jump down the padding. You can hit Return, and once again, I can type in 0 and the semicolon.

Here is the tricky part of handwriting CSS. Usually where people get themselves in trouble they just sort of forget to do something. In this case, we've opened up our curly brace, but we haven't closed it yet. So right after padding, I'm going to hit Return, and then I'm going to close my curly brace. There we go. So every single CSS selector and rule needs to have that opening and closing curly brace. Don't forget those. Okay, so if I save my file, I can just do a Save All, and if I click over in Design view, everything sort of shifts and get closer together. So that's us removing all that default spacing, so there we go.

Now remember, we're writing our global styles here. We're not targeting any one specific area. We're writing the styles that are going to pertain to the entire site globally. So we're going to be writing a lot of element selectors, a lot of really basic selectors that are going to be driving the look and feel of our site. So I'm going to go down on just a little bit further in my code and just below my scale reset that we just did on our blank line there, I'm going to type in p. That is an element selector that targets the paragraph tags. So the first thing we're going to do is we're going to tell our browsers what we want our paragraphs to look like.

Again, I'm going to open my curly brace and hit Return, and now I'm going to start styling my paragraph. The first thing I want to do is change the color of my paragraphs. The default color is black. I want something a little bit different. So I'm going to type in co, and it jumps right down to color. So sometimes you have to type almost the whole word, sometimes a single letter will do it, but I'm going to get right down the color and hit Return. And now I'm going to type in that #333. Notice that even here in Code View the color picker comes up. And if we wanted to, we could have gone right there to find #333, and select it from the Swatch panel that comes up.

So now I'm going to type in a semicolon, hit Return to go down to the next line, and here I'm going to do line-height. I'm letting code hinting finish a lot of this stuff for me, so line-height: 1.8. Now, you'll notice that I'm going to type in a semicolon and not pick any unit of measurement, no percentages here, no ems. Now, the reason for that is because for line-heights we're using a multiple and multiples don't require any type of unit a measurement after it. Remember, the only property that we can do that with is line-height. I'm going to go down to the next line, and here I'm going to type in margin-bottom.

So margin-b, and you should be able to just hit Return and let Dreamweaver finish that for you. Margin-bottom:1 em; Once again, don't forget to close your curly brace and when you see the rule below you turn magenta again, you know you have done the right thing. Now if I click over in Design view, you can see that our paragraphs are formatting. They get their line spacing. They get the color we want - looking pretty good. Okay, we have a few links to write. And this time you're going to be exposed to something that you haven't seen before, and that is what we call a pseudo-selector.

Now CSS can respond to user interactions, so when somebody hovers over a link, when they click on that link, if it's an active link, you can actually style different settings based on that. That's how a lot of people will create rollover effects based on their links, and that's how we're going to do that. So right underneath your paragraph rule, I want you to type in a:, so no space here just a and a colon and then word link. Then a comma, a:visited. Now, what are we doing there? Well, we're making sure that our active links and our visited links look exactly the same.

Normally, with the link if you click on it, and you go back to that page again, instead of an underlined blue text, you see sort of that purple text indicating that you've been there before. Well, for our site we don't want to show anything visually different for visited links, so we're just going to group those two together. Once again, I'm going to open our curly brace, hit Return to go down in the next line, and now we need to go ahead and style these. We're going to change their color, so I'm going to type in color, and here I'm going to type in pound, so I'm going to get my little hash mark here, 952, which is an orange color.

I'm going to hit Return to go down in the next line, and here I'm going to type in text-decoration: none. As soon as you're done with that, you can hit Return and close your curly brace. So this is the only two properties we're setting there. So what is text-decoration: none? Well, watch my links over here, right here, once I click on Design view. You notice what goes away? So that underline that you have under your links is going to go away if you tell it text-decoration: none. Now, most people just assume that I do that because I hate the underline. I don't really. I mean underline text lets you users know, "Hey, click on me. I'm a link." But there are other things that you can do to let people know.

In this case, the color is significantly different from the surrounding text. So it does kind of leave the user to say "Hey. I can probably click on that." We can reinforce that concept by changing the styling if somebody hovers over that link, and let's do that now. Now, I'm going to click back in the Code View right after the last selector I just wrote. I'm going to hit Return, and here I'm going to do a:hover, a:active. So just like our link in visited, hover and active are going to look the same as well. What's an active link? Well, that's one that you're currently clicking on or that you focused on.

So I'm going to open up my curly brace, hit Return, and here we're not going to do a whole lot. I'm going to change the color, so I'm going to do color and here I'm going to do #cb7d20. It's a lighter orange. So cb7d20 and the semicolon, go down in the next line. And I'm going to add an underline, but I'm not going to do it through text-decoration. I'm going to do it through my border property, which gives me a little bit more control over this. So I'm going to type in border-bottom, border-bottom and here we can do some short annotation.

We can tell it 1 pixel and then a space, dashed, for a dashed line instead of a solid line, and then another space, and then we need to give it the color. So here we're going to do #cb7d20, a little semicolon there, close your curly brace. And now we can't see that right now unless we turn on Live View, so I'm going to turn on Live View, and now when I hover one links, I can see that underline text and little dashed line. We get enough of a color change to make a slight difference, but it's nice and subtle.

Okay. I'm going to turn Live View off again, and let's finish up by doing our headings. So I'm going to scroll down in our code a little bit, just underneath all of our accents and things like that to about line 79, and then I'm going to create an empty line here that I can create my first heading. So here I'm going to do h1, so a big global element selector, open up your curly brace, and after that I'm going to choose font-size, so font-size of 2 ems. Hit Return, and I'm going to do color: #193742.

So again, 193742. Type in a semicolon, and then one last little thing. We're going to increase the spacing. We're going to do margin-bottom of .4 ems. Again, I'm going to close my curly brace on the next line, and I can see the styling changed here. We get a little bit more spacing between that margin and the paragraph, color changes. The font-size changes a little bit. There we go. Let's continue on with our headings. Now we're going to do an h2 heading, open our upper curly brace, and here we're going to do font-size, so font-size 1.6 em. Notice there's no space between the unit of measurement and the type of measurement.

So you want to keep that consistent. Do a semicolon there. For color, we're going to do #51341a, so #51341a. Now you might be wondering, "How does he remember all these colors?" I don't have to memorize. I have it written down them, and I am reading them off the sheet, but I'm going to show you guys a way to maybe make those a little bit easier to remember here in just a moment. Let's go down to the next line and here I'm going to type in font-weight: normal. So remember that's going to remove the bold off of that heading, and it's going to make it a little bit more normal.

And then I'm going to do a margin property. And I'm going to do a top-margin of 1.2 ems, and then a space, 0 for right and left, and then another space, and then from our bottom-margin I'm going to do 1 em. So we're doing some shorthand notation there just to make that a little bit easier to write. And if I click in Design view and maybe scroll down a little bit, I should be able to see a heading 2, and I can see it format, so that's looking pretty good. Two more selectors to write, guys. I hope your hands aren't cramping on you. We're moving along right along. We're going to do h3, open up a curly brace, and below that, we're going to do font-size: 1.3 ems;.

For color, we're, again, going to do #51341a. Again, we're going to do font-weight: normal, so font-weight: normal. And then after that we're going to a margin of 1.25 ems for the top-margin, 0 for right and left, and this time .5 ems for bottom, so that's a little different. And then I'm going to click, and we can see our styling. So you might have notice that, hey, h2 and h3 was very similar.

They are using the same color, same font-weight, margins almost the same and font-sizes almost the same. What if they were both exactly the same? Well, if they were exactly the same, we could have grouped them together the same way we did our CSS reset. However, I'm going to show you a grouped selector here that's going to allow us to do something else. We're using floats throughout our layout. Now, we cover floats in the chapter on layout a little bit later on, but what floats really do is they move objects to the left, or to the right of an object. Well, we don't want that to ever happen to one of our headings.

We always want our headings to be on their own line and not have anything aligned to the left or to the right of them. It's sort of allows them to stand apart, if you will. So we do have our property called Clear that allows us to do just that. So I'm going to go down on the next line, and I'm going to write a selector that says, h1,h2,h3. So it's grouping all of those main headings h1, h2 and h3 together. I'm going to open up my curly brace, and then I'm going to type in clear both. That says, "Don't allow anything to float to my left, don't allow anything to float to my right," and again, make sure that you have your opening and your closing curly braces.

You probably won't notice a change if you click into the Design view, because we don't really have anything like that going on in this page. Now, I promised that I would show you one of the tricks I use for making sure I remember what colors I'm using. If I go all the way up to the top of my stylesheet, notice that right up top I have a color guide. So here I tell which colors I'm going to be using for the site, what colors those are, and often I'll just copy and paste those colors wherever I need them. So it's a quick and handy way to do that. So our global styles are now fairly complete.

Now the page's typography is not finished, but the global styles that we've written have completed much of the work for us. Now more importantly, they are going to provide the foundation for the entire site's typography for every single page. In our next movie, we're going to expand on these global styles by writing targeted styles for specific regions.

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 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
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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.

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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

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Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

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Exercise files

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