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Chapter 4. Working with Text > Using Images as Text

Using Images as Text

HTML text is one of the “lightest” components of any web site; a page can contain more than 5,000 words and still “weigh” only 40 KB. Text also flows easily with differences in the size of the browser window, and can be edited very quickly. Because of these major advantages of text over images, it is almost always best to use straight HTML text whenever possible, instead of using images containing text.

Exceptions apply, however. As discussed earlier in this chapter, HTML text can display only in a font face installed on the user’s computer; this greatly limits the designer’s options with regard to typefaces. This is usually acceptable for body text, where fancier typefaces are usually a detriment anyway. For titles and headings, however, it is sometimes desirable to use an unusual typeface. GIF and JPEG images and Flash text enable you to achieve this, and merit a mention here.

Using Images for Titles

With a graphics program such as Fireworks, it is a fairly simple matter to create an image containing text in any font face installed on your computer. Of course, almost limitless choices of size and color are available, as well as special effects such as drop shadows and bevels. This type of graphic can usually be saved as a GIF file with a fairly small file size, and can easily be added to a Dreamweaver document using the Image object found on the Common tab of the Insert bar.

Flash Text

The Dreamweaver Flash Text object enables you create and insert a Flash movie that contains text only. This enables you to create a small, vector-graphic movie with the designer fonts and the text of your choice (see Figure 4.16).

Figure 4.16. The Insert Flash Text dialog box.

In addition to their small file size, a major advantage of using the Flash Text object over a GIF or JPEG image is that the Flash Text object enables you to provide a mouseover effect without using multiple images, as is necessary with ordinary graphic rollovers.

A potential disadvantage to using Flash for titles and other text is that visitors must have the Flash Player plugin installed in their browser to see it.

For a full discussion of Flash text, see Chapter 20, “Building Web Pages with Flash.” For a discussion of plugin issues, see Chapter 19, “Plugins, ActiveX, and Java.”

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