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Plotting the Grid

When you are designing with absolute positioned <div> tags—known as Layers in Dreamweaver—or even just absolute positioned elements in general, you will find that the grid can come in very handy. Choose View > Grid > Show Grid or press Ctrl+Alt+G (Command+Option+G) to toggle the grid on and off. The default grid is set to 50-pixel increments in a tan color. This default setting may not be useful for your particular design, especially if you’ll be taking advantage of the Snap to Grid feature (also enabled via the View > Grid submenu).

By now, you should have noticed there is a third entry in the View > Grid submenu: Grid Settings. Grid Settings lets you alternately enable and disable the grid itself or the snapping feature; create your grid in the color you want; use pixels, centimeters, or inches; and display the grid as lines or dots. I have found that when the increment is smaller than the default—for example, 20 pixels or less—lines tend to be a better choice because they are easier on the eyes than a bunch of tiny little dots. When I need a larger grid, I like to use dots so that I’m not distracted by the solid lines. If you’re using inches, you can even enter decimal values, such as .75 for a 3/4-inch measurement. Don’t forget to click the Apply button to see your choices in action, and after you’re satisfied, click OK.


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