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Day 1. Getting Started > The Menu System

The Menu System

The menu system under Dreamweaver MX is very simple to understand. Most of the functionality of the tool palettes is replicated under the available menus, so you'll probably spend very little time with the menu system, and most of your time in the document and panel windows. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect to find under the menu system:

File— Open and Save HTML documents. Anything related to opening files, importing data from external sources, or saving HTML is located here. You'll notice that there are some options you probably don't immediately recognize, such as Templates and Design Notes. For now, if you aren't sure of what an item does, don't worry about it. You'll learn everything there is to know about the Dreamweaver MX features as the week progresses.

Edit— Cut, Copy, Paste, and Search objects within Document view. From within the Edit menu, you can also adjust the Dreamweaver MX preferences. Later today you'll learn about these preferences and which settings can help you during your design.

View— What optional elements are being displayed in your document design view? The View menu controls what is currently visible. As you begin to add elements to your HTML, you'll find this menu very helpful in hiding guidelines and table borders so that you can get a better feel for how the final page is going to look.

Insert— If you'd rather use a menu to add items to your page, the Insert menu can be used to add images and other elements corresponding to the tool palettes directly to your HTML. There is no difference between using this menu and the Insert panel icons.

Modify— The Modify menu enables you to change items on your page. This menu is most useful when you have selected an item on the page and want to modify it. You can use Modify to change a selection to a link and to alter the layout of certain elements, such as tables.

Text— From the Text menu, you can control the attributes of the text you are typing or the text of a selection box. These selections are similar to their word processing counterparts: Font, Size, Style, and so on. Despite the name, the Text menu also contains a number of functions, such as alignment, that can be used to adjust other onscreen elements.

Commands— The Dreamweaver MX command menu puts you in control of an easy-to-use macro-creation system. Record sequences of events and play them back to create new commands. Additionally, you can download libraries of commands free from Macromedia. Also, a few miscellaneous commands are included in this menu that can be used to clean up HTML and alter your page's color scheme, among other things. Day 5, “Creating Reusable Components,” will teach you how to make your own commands.

Site— Although Dreamweaver MX can be used to build single Web pages, its capability to manage entire Web sites makes it an extremely powerful tool for beginners and pros. The Site menu controls the definition of Web sites and their attributes. Day 6, “Introduction to Dynamic Web Applications and Database Design,” will document the site tools and explain how they can be used to manage sites of any size.

Window— Hide or show any of the windows and palettes that are discussed in this text. If the book is discussing a certain window that seems as if it should be on your screen, but isn't, this is where you should look to find it.

Help— The Dreamweaver MX Help system can be launched at any time from the Help window. The Help system is HTML and Java-based and runs from your Web browser, so it might seem a bit strange at times to switch between different applications in order to read help screens. Luckily, the online manual is quite extensive, and more than makes up for the awkward interface. You also have access to a wide variety of tutorials that can help you immediately get started with the system.



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