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Web Design Basics how to use Dreamweaver Templates

Before you learn how to use templates in web design, you must first know exactly what a template is. Templates are the common structure given to all of the pages in a website, i.e. each web page follows the same basic structure defined by the template. Templates can contain structural objects like header bars and navigation links to all of the pages. Using a template, you can quickly update the layout for all of the pages you have created that are linked to that template simply by changing the template.

Dreamweaver allows you to design your own templates, or you can find/buy some online. Creating your own is the easier option as it is both free and you can decide exactly how you want the website to appear. Start a new HTML project in Dreamweaver and set a basic layout for your web pages, including things like navigation links and headers. Once this is done, click File, then click Save As Template. This places the file in your templates folder, and the template if now accessible to use for web pages. However, the template is not yet finished. You should now be viewing the template as a template, and so you can edit regions of the template so that they can be given unique content on each web page. To add an editable region go to Insert, then click on Template Objects, and click Editable Regions. You can name the editable region and when it is finished the name should appear in light blue on the editable region. Now you can edit this area separately for each web page.

Now you can apply this template to your web pages. If you have not yet created the web page, then do that. Open each of your web pages (if/when they are made) that will be using the structure you designed the template for. To apply the template, go to Modify, click on Template, and choose Apply Template to Page. Find the template that you saved (from earlier) and select it. If you already had content on the web page, then a window asking if you want to ‘Choose editable region for orphaned content’ should appear. Choose the editable region you want to place the content in and click Save.

You can continue to update templates, such as when you want to add new links to the navigation bar. When you have changes to make, remember to make them to the template file, and save when finished. If the template has already been applied to pages, then you will get a window asking if you want to ‘Update Templates used in the following files’. Click on Update. This will ensure that the changes you made to the template are applied to all of the web pages using the template, and can save you time instead of adding the change to page after page for a small thing.

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