Thursday, September 25, 2008

Creating a Master Site Template in Dreamweaver

by Dian Chapman, MVP, MOS

In this article, I'll provide you with a bunch of cheesy sample images for a pretend web page template. But I'll also provide you with concrete, albeit basic, information regarding how to create a master template for a web site using Dreamweaver 2004 MX.

Creating a template in Dreamweaver is very similar to creating a template in Microsoft Word or other programs. You need to design and/or add all the static elements that will become part of the template...items that you want to appear on every subsequent page that will be created from this template.

The template must also be saved as a template and saved into a Template directory within the project site files. Then, whenever you need to create a new page for your web site, you just create the new page from the master template designated to that site. Furthermore, you'll save lots of time modifying your site, because if you add information to the template, it will be added to all the pages of your site. This makes updating or adding links quite simple. It also helps to ensure consistency...a sure sign of a professional site. And it also helps avoid errors because you won't forget to update one page, since all pages are tied to the template update.

There are many ways to layout a template, but one of the most common ways is to use a Layout Table. You can think of it as adding a main table to the page, and then drawing out cells within that table. These cells become your content areas.

To start laying out your framework, you need to move into the Layout Mode. Click View > Table Mode > Layout Mode, as shown below.


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