About Dreamweaver assets and libraries

Learn how to use assets like images, movies, colors, scripts, links, and library items in Dreamweaver.

About assets

You can use Adobe Dreamweaver to keep track of and preview assets stored in your site, such as images, movies, colors, scripts, and links. You can also drag an asset directly to insert it in a page of the current document.

You obtain assets from various sources. For example, you might create assets in an application such as Adobe® Fireworks® or Adobe® Flash®, receive them from a co‑worker, or copy them from a clip-art CD or graphics website.

Dreamweaver also provides access to two special types of assets—libraries and templates. Both are linked assets: when you edit a library item or template, Dreamweaver updates all documents that use those assets. Library items generally represent small design assets, such as a site logo or copyright. To control a larger design area, use a template instead.

About library items

A library is a special Dreamweaver file containing a collection of individual assets or copies of assets that you can place in your web pages. The assets in a library are called library items. Items that you can store in a library include images, tables, sounds, and files created with Adobe Flash. You can automatically update all the pages that use a library item whenever you edit the item.

For example, suppose you’re building a large site for a company that wants a slogan to appear on every page. You can create a library item to contain the slogan and use that library item on every page. If the slogan changes, you can change the library item and automatically update every page that uses it.

Dreamweaver stores library items in a Library folder within the local root folder for each site. Each site has its own library.

You can create a library item from any element in the body section of a document, including text, tables, forms, Java applets, plug‑ins, ActiveX elements, navigation bars, and images.

For linked items such as images, the library stores only a reference to the item. The original file must remain at the specified location for the library item to work correctly.

It can still be useful to store an image in a library item, though. For example, you could store a complete img tag in a library item, which would allow you to easily change the image’s alt text, or even its src attribute, throughout the site. (Don’t use this technique to change an image’s width and height attributes, though, unless you also use an image editor to change the actual size of the image.)


If the library item contains links, the links may not work in the new site. Also, images in a library item aren’t copied to the new site.

When you use a library item, Dreamweaver inserts a link to it, rather than the item itself, in the web page. That is, Dreamweaver inserts a copy of the HTML source code for that item into the document and adds an HTML comment containing a reference to the original, external item. It is this external reference that makes automatic updating possible.

When you create a library item that includes an element with a Dreamweaver behavior attached to it, Dreamweaver copies the element and its event handler (the attribute that specifies which event triggers the action, such as onClick, onLoad, or onMouseOver, and which action to call when the event occurs) to the library item file. Dreamweaver does not copy the associated JavaScript functions into the library item. Instead, when you insert the library item into a document, Dreamweaver automatically inserts the appropriate JavaScript functions into the head section of that document (if they aren’t already there).


If you hand-code JavaScript (that is, if you create it without using Dreamweaver behaviors), you can make it part of a library item if you use the Call JavaScript behavior to execute the code. If you don’t use a Dreamweaver behavior to execute the code, the code isn’t retained as part of the library item.

There are special requirements for editing the behaviors in library items. Library items cannot contain style sheets, because the code for those elements is part of the head section.


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