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In Fireworks CS5 Essential Training, author Jim Babbage gives a detailed overview of Fireworks CS5, Adobe's software for creating and optimizing web graphics and interactive prototypes. This course includes a detailed tour of the interface, the enhanced PNG format, and the image editing toolset in Fireworks. Critical concepts, such as prototyping for HTML applications and working with symbols, the heart of an efficient workflow in Fireworks, are covered in detail. Exercise files are included with this course.
When you're prototyping a design, whether it's for a Web site layout or for some kind of Internet application, the Master Page can come in very, very handy. Now each Fireworks document can contain a single Master Page. Everything that is on the Master Page automatically gets shared to all the other pages inside the design. It's a great spot to put common element that will show up in every page and exactly the same location. So we take a look here. I have got two samples. I've got an interactive application, and I have got a Web site mockup. Let's take look at the Master Page on our little application here.
You'll see I've got the Master Page selected in my Pages panel. And inside the Master Page I've really just a couple of things. I have this border that runs around the entire design. I also have this bitmap graphic. Those two elements are going to be the same on every page. They are not going to change position or anything along those lines. So as I move from each of my pages, you can see that those elements are still showing up. And everything else is basically laid on top of them. Now the main advantage to the Master Page is saving time.
Basically, these common elements are placed on every single page. So if I need to change those elements I only need to change them in one location. For example, if I decide that the text for my interactive tour needs to be in a different location, I can just select it and drag it over to the other side inside the Master Page. And as I go to my other pages, you'll see that that information is updated automatically. Now in this particular case, that wasn't such a good decision. So we are going to hop back over to our Master Page, and just reposition that text.
I am just going to press Ctrl+Z a few times, and that will take me back to the original spot. There we go. And now we are back in place with that text. So that's one of the great features of the Master Page. Edit things on that page, and they update on every single page in your design. Now while it can save you time, there are some limitations to what a Master Page can do. Because you're dealing with a specific dimension, what I've found is that elements that go on the Master Page need to be essentially elements that aren't going to be affected by changes in dimensions on other pages.
Just to give you an example of that, I am going to hop over to my mockup page here for my Web site. And if I go to my Master Page and scroll down, you'll see, the only thing on this page is the background. I have a little bit of footer text that has been placed here at the bottom of the page. That is where you normally find footer information. And if I click on my index page, you'll see that that actually works out fairly well. It's in the right general location. But as soon as I move to the mission page, which is a little bit shorter of a page. There is not as much content in this design.
So the page isn't as long. All of a sudden, the footer is way down here. It's much further down. So if the content of your pages is changing in terms of height or graphic elements are changing in terms of position, you want to be very, very aware of what you're doing with the content on the Master Page. Typically, if I'm working with a Master Page, and I know that the other pages in my design are going to change in dimensions, that I make sure the only things on the Master Page are elements that would appear basically from the top down. So things like the footer, for example, I wouldn't actually have on my Master Page, because my height of my pages may change, the content on the pages may change, and then the footer will look out of place, or it may even overlap elements that I don't wanted to overlap.
So I'll just delete that. And again, because it was on the Master Page, all the other pages now have had that footer removed from them. When you have a Master Page as part of your design, if you take a look in the Layers panel you'll notice you have a special layer down here, called the Master Page layer. And the couple things to note about this, first of all, it's locked, and you can't unlock it in the Layers panel. Anything that's on the Master Page has to be edited from the Master Page itself. So while I can't edit the Master Page on subpages, I can certainly turn it on or off on a page-by-page basis.
Now if you're tired of working with the Master Page, or you want to change your Master Page, you can select it, and you can make a couple changes right inside the options for the Pages panel. I'll go in here, and you can see I can Reset the Master Page. Now what this does is it turns your Master Page into just a regular plain old page. So if I choose that option, you'll notice that I've lost the Master Page identifier. And now if I move to my individual pages, they're no longer sharing that background anymore, because that Master Page has been removed.
And if you take a look again in the Layers panel there is no Master Page layer anymore. So you can Reset that, and then you could choose a different page, or create a brand-new page with a different background, or whatever that is you're planning to put on the Master Page, and turn that into the Master Page. If I want to convert an existing page to a Master Page, again, I just select it, and I go into my options again, and I choose Set As Master Page. And then if I move through my individual pages, you'll see as I click on them, the background gets updated on each one of them.
So it's a pretty straightforward process to work with the Master Page. You do have some limitations in terms of positioning your elements. You want to be especially careful if your pages are changing in dimensions in any way, or the content of your pages is changing, getting longer or shorter, for example. But it can be a real time-saving feature for elements that are consistently displayed throughout your entire design.
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