Join Jim Babbage for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the improved Preferences panel, part of Fireworks CS4 New Features.
Rather than having some preferences scattered through different menus and submenus, Fireworks CS4 has consolidated all the preferences into an updated and much improved Preferences panel. If you take a look on the screen right now you'll see a design that's got essentially a guided grid jungle showing up. We've got a green guide, we've got red guides, we've got a grey grids and if I decide I want a 9-slice scale that little pod shape that's there, we got more guides, blue ones this time. Pulling all this stuff together into one central location really helps speed up your process. If you need to change colors or you need to lock guides or show them or hide them, whatever it happens to be, we can now do it through one spot.
Previously to CS4 we had to go into the View menu and go into different individual guide or grid submenus to change or edit these settings. So let's take a look at how this is going to help us work faster. We'll go to the Edit menu and choose Preferences. If you're on the Mac go to Fireworks CS4 and choose Preferences. So here's the new Preferences panel. We're only going to look at certain elements here, the new elements to the Preferences panel, which are the Guides and Grids area, the Type category area and the enhanced Photoshop Import and Open Preferences panel. So let's start off with Guides and Grids because that's where we started this movie.
And you see here we've got a whole bunch of different choices for changing colors, for the guides, for the grids. Slice guides. Those were all features that were in earlier versions of Fireworks. Smart guides and 9-slice scaling, much newer and Smart guides specifically brand new to CS4. You've got a lot of control in there. So just to give you an example of how easy it is to make a change, I'm going to grab my Guides color here and I'm going to change that to a bright yellow. And if I click OK on the menu, I'll drag over here, and as soon as I drag a new guide into the interface all the guides shift to that new color.
It's much easier to see in this case. I've got a green background so it stands up much nicer. I can drag that back out again. And I can always go back into the Preferences panel and change that color to the way I wanted that before. And we'll hop back into that Preferences panel again and we'll take a look at the Type category. Again, this is a brand-new preferences setting for our Preferences panel for Fireworks. We've got the ability here, primarily the most important thing here, you can now set to the default font to replace missing fonts if you bring in a design that someone else has sent you. Again, saves you a lot of time. It doesn't start you off with a dialog box to find and sort of hunt and peck for a font that you want to replace other fonts with.
Really just speeds up the process. You've also got the ability here to change the number of recent fonts so that if you are one of those people who likes to go a little font crazy when you're designing and that list of recent fonts gets longer and longer, now you've got the control within the interface to actually change this to either one recent font or more than one. So it gives you a lot more flexibility in how the font list displays. I'm going to open up a Photoshop document here and we'll take a look and see, in terms of preferences, first thing you'll notice when we open up a Photoshop document we get this neat little dialog box. It gives us some control over this specific file, file size, pixel dimensions, resolution, layer comps, things along those lines.
Maintaining editability over the file. These are all things we can set on a document by document basis if we want, which is really handy, but how do we get this dialog box in the first place? Well we'll take a look at that in just one second. I'm going to click OK to open up this file, and there's my little Vegas file and I'll zoom in on that a few times just so we see it bigger and with the Pointer tool I can click on any of these objects. This was, as I mentioned, a Photoshop document, it's a PSD file. All these different elements are selectable, they're editable. And if we click on some of them, like this little icon in the little image up in the upper left corner, and if I take a look down the Properties inspector, you'll see it's had a Photoshop Live Effect applied to it. As opposed to a standard Fireworks Live Filter, we've got a Photoshop Live Effect going on.
How does all this happen and how do we get this kind of flexibility and editability here? Well, it's through the Preferences panel. we're going to hop over to the Edit menu again or Fireworks menu on the Mac and choose Preferences and we'll hop over to the Photoshop Import and Open dialog. For those of you using CS3, we've got quite a few new features in here. That open box that we saw earlier when I opened up that Photoshop file, there it is there. We can tell Fireworks whether to display that box or not right off the bat. If we uncheck it, it won't show up. Fireworks will just import the file based on the settings that are in this Preferences area.
We can also show a similar box when you try to import a file into an existing document. Down below we've got our custom conversion settings, image layers, text, shape layers, layer effects, clipping path masks. This gives us control over editability of the various aspects or objects within the file. We can choose to make things as editable as possible or we can choose to essentially guarantee the result, to make it look exactly like the Photoshop document, but in those cases we'll probably be flattening the effects or filters or images into flattened bitmap images. The default settings here, if you want to maintain editability with the file, the default settings that we see here are a good way to go because it gives you as much flexibility as possible.
If you would rather just have a Photoshop document look just like the Photoshop document or want to work with a simple image that doesn't have a lot of layers, you can certainly change the radio buttons to flatten out things like text or image layers and so on and give yourself some control over that. And lastly, just one more point here, the layer effects- we were talking about this in that one particular example that we had here in the image file off to the left hand side. You can determine whether you want Fireworks to open the Photoshop document using Photoshop Live Effects or what are often referred to as layer styles or whether you want to open it and use Fireworks Live Filters rather than the Photoshop version.
So in a nutshell we've got a lot more centralized control over how Fireworks handles its tools, it handles documents coming in, all through the Preferences panel. You've got one place to go, you don't have to search over to find settings and controls and this should help you work faster and quicker as you move through your design process.
- Using the enhanced vector tools and the 9-Slice Scaling tool Editing symbols Rendering and wrapping text Using Live Styles and the Styles panel Creating interactive PDFs