Join Jim Babbage for an in-depth discussion in this video Navigating the new Adobe interface, part of Fireworks CS4 New Features.
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Fireworks CS4 now shares a common interface with Photoshop, Flash and Illustrator. For old hands at Fireworks the new UI will probably come as a bit of a surprise. Hopefully a pleasant one. The advantage to this common interfaces is it's easier for you to move for application to application without having to learn everything over and over again. We're going to cover off quite a few different points here, starting with the overall look and feel of the Fireworks interface. You can see that we've got a much more modern look to the application and we're going to look at how we can manage with reconfiguring or adjusting panels. We're also going to take a look at the Property inspector and see what's new going on there and finally before we're done we'll see how we can create our own custom workspace and save it.
So let's take a quick look here. As I said earlier, the overall look and feel, much more updated. New icons and things like that, but really the key thing here is making life more flexible, much easier for you as a user. So if we hop over here to the panels on the right side, one of the first things I want to point out is the ability to free up real estate really quickly just by clicking that top title bar. You can shrink down the panels to a much smaller area, which frees up a lot more Canvas area for you to work on your design. Click on it again, you've expanded it back out. So a very nice quick feature there.
As always, you can still click and drag between the dividers of the Canvas and the panels to change their width as well. But another really nice component of the update in the UI is how you can work with the tabs in these different panel groups. For example, down here, midway down I've got a panel group for Pages, States and Layers. This is the default panel group that starts with Fireworks. Now me personally, I like to see my layers up front so I'm going to click on my Layers tab. That makes it active and not only that, but not only can I see it as just like I could in previous versions, but it's so easy to take it and reposition it to the front of the list, basically, and you see how the other tabs just sort of slide out of the way, which is very nice.
The other thing I like to do, especially when my designs become more complex and I've got maybe a multipage mockup that I'm working on, I like to have the Pages panel separate from everything else. This is my own working preference. So I can grab that panel, and I can drag it away from the others and I can move it and you'll see a little blue highlight bar show up between the Canvas and the panels and if I let go, I now have a brand-new workspace component just like that. Gets a little wide in that sense. So, fine. That's too much space it's taking up. I'm going to grab it and rather than have it in its own column, I'm going to put it in between two different panels.
So now I've got a really easy way to subdivide my panel groups, create new panel groups nice and easily and really customize the look of the tools so that I'm working the way I want to work: faster and better. Now we're going to take a look at the Properties panel and not so much the Properties itself but there's some added flexibility here which we never had before. We can now dock additional panels to the Property inspector area, which we could never do before, which means you were stuffing them into the right-hand side where they were too small or you were having to constantly open and close them from the Window menu. Makes life a lot easier again. And finally, I'm going to go back up to the top here. We've got this little button call Expanded Mode.
Now this is something that was in some ways available in earlier versions, but it was buried inside the Window menu. What we've got here is the ability to choose from three different preset views, Expanded Mode, which we're currently in, Iconic Mode, which really shrinks things down just to basic icons, and we've also got Iconic Mode with Panel Names, which is very similar to collapsing the full mode. We've got lastly in there the ability to save a workspace with our own workflow in mind. So I'm going to just quickly show you what I did earlier.
You choose my workspace called Jim, and that repositions everything to the way I like to work. So no matter where you've been and what you've changed, you always get back to the way you want to work very quickly. Saving these workspaces is really easy. Just click on that button and choose Save Current and you'll be asked to give it a name. It doesn't get any easier than that and that actually hasn't changed really from earlier versions, but it is nice on the way they've made it sort of tie in inside the main interface. So there you have some of the basic elements to working with the new user interface. One last thing is that when we're dealing with these collapsed panels is that not only have you the ability to reduce the panels, but when they're in a collapsed mode like this, you can click on them to bring them out and show them up inside the interface. When you're done, you can click away. They'll disappear or if you find the fact that the panels keep hiding on you to be annoying, you can change the options with inside the panel groups by right-clicking or Control-clicking with the Mac and changing things such as Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels. Now if I uncheck that box, I grab a panel to expand it.
Now when I click away from it, it stays open. So rather than having to constantly go back-and-forth to open and close the panel from a collapsed view, I've got the ability to make them sticky, as it were, and stay in place. And there you have it. That's in a nutshell an overview of the new Fireworks CS4 interface. So with this updated UI, Fireworks users new and old should find life a little bit easier as your working through different applications. You've got the ability to change your panels easily, reconfigure them and group them the way you want. You've got the ability to add panels or remove panels from the Property inspector area.
You can save your preferred workspace or multiple workspaces so you can quickly change from the different modes of working and on top of all that you've got a nice fresh look for the new Fireworks CS4.
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