Use visual aids for layout in Dreamweaver, including setting rulers, setting layout guides, using guides with templates, using a layout grid, and using a tracing image.

Set rulers

Rulers help you measure, organize, and plan your layout. They can appear on the left and top borders of the page, marked in pixels, inches, or centimeters.

  • To toggle rulers on and off, select View > Design View Options > Rules > Show/Hide.
  • To change the origin, drag the ruler-origin icon  (at the upper-left corner of the Design view of the Document window) anywhere on the page.
  • To reset the origin to its default position, select View > Design View Options >Rulers > Reset Origin.
  • To change the unit of measure, select View > Rulers, and then select Pixels, Inches, or Centimeters.

Set layout guides

Guides are lines that you drag onto the document from the rulers. They help you place and align objects more precisely. You can also use guides to measure the size of page elements, or emulate the folds (visible areas) of web browsers.

To help you align elements, you can snap elements to guides, and snap guides to elements. (Elements must be absolutely positioned in order for the snap feature to work.) You can also lock guides to prevent them from being accidentally moved by another user.

Create a horizontal or vertical guide

  1. Drag from the corresponding ruler.
  2. Position the guide in the Document window and release the mouse button (reposition the guide by dragging it again).

    Note:

    By default, guides are recorded as absolute pixel measurements from the top or left side of the document, and are shown relative to the origin of the ruler. To record the guide as a percentage, press the Shift key while you create or move the guide.

Show or hide guides

  • Select View > Guides > Show Guides.

Snap elements to guides

  • To snap elements to guides, select View > Design View Options > Guides > Snap to Guides.
  • To snap guides to elements, select View > Design View Options > Guides > Guides Snap to Elements.

Note:

When you resize elements, such as absolutely-positioned elements (AP elements), tables, and images, the resized elements snap to guides.

Lock or unlock all guides

Select View > Design View Options > Guides > Lock Guides.

View and move a guide to a specific position

  1. Hold the mouse pointer over the guide to view its position.
  2. Double-click the guide.
  3. Enter the new position in the Move Guide dialog box and click OK.

View the distance between guides

Press Control (Windows) or Command (Macintosh) and hold the mouse pointer anywhere between the two guides.

Note:

The unit of measure is the same as the unit of measure used for the rulers.

Emulate the fold (visible area) of a web browser

Select View > Design View Options > Guides, and then select a preset browser size from the menu.

Remove a guide

Drag the guide off the document.

Change guide settings

  • Select View > Design View Options > Guides > Edit Guides, set the following options, and click OK.

    Guide color

    Specifies the color of the guide lines. Click the color swatch and select a color from the color picker, or type a hexadecimal number in the text box.

    Distance Color

    Specifies the color of the lines that appear as distance indicators when you hold the mouse pointer between guides. Click the color swatch and select a color from the color picker, or type a hexadecimal number in the text box.

    Show Guides

    Makes guides visible in Design view.

    Snap to Guides

    Makes page elements snap to guides as you move elements around the page.

    Lock Guides

    Locks guides in place.

    Guides Snap to Elements

    Snaps guides to elements on the page as you drag guides.

    Clear All

    Clears all guides from the page.

Use guides with templates

When guides are added to a Dreamweaver template, all instances of the template inherit the guides. Guides in template instances, however, are treated as editable regions, so users can modify them. Modified guides in template instances are restored to their original location whenever the instance is updated with the master template.

You can also add your own guides to instances of a template. Guides added in this manner are not overwritten when the template instance is updated with the master template.

Use the layout grid

The grid displays a system of horizontal and vertical lines in the Document window. It is useful for placing objects precisely. You can make absolutely-positioned page elements automatically snap to the grid as you move them, and change the grid or control the snapping behavior by specifying grid settings. Snapping works whether or not the grid is visible.

Show or hide the grid

Select View > Design View Options > Grid > Show Grid.

Enable or disable snapping

Select View > Design View Options > Grid > Snap to Grid.

Change grid settings

  1. Select View > Design View Options > Grid > Grid Settings.

  2. Set the options and click OK to apply the changes.

    Color

    Specifies the color of the grid lines. Click the color swatch and select a color from the color picker, or type a hexadecimal number in the text box.

    Show Grid

    Makes the grid visible in Design view.

    Snap to Grid

    Makes page elements snap to the lines of the grid.

    Spacing

    Controls how far apart the grid lines are. Enter a number and select Pixels, Inches, or Centimeters from the menu.

    Display

    Specifies whether the grid lines appear as lines or dots.

    Note:

    If Show Grid is not selected, the grid does not appear in the document and no changes are visible.

Use a tracing image

You can use a tracing image as a guide to re‑create a page design that was created in a graphics application such as Adobe Freehand or Fireworks.

A tracing image is a JPEG, GIF, or PNG image that is placed in the background of the Document window. You can hide the image, set its opacity, and change its position.

The tracing image is visible only in Dreamweaver; it is not visible when you view the page in a browser. When the tracing image is visible, the page’s real background image and color are not visible in the Document window; however, the background image and color will be visible when the page is viewed in a browser.

Place a tracing image in the Document window

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Select View > Design View Options > Tracing Image > Load.

    • Select File > Page Properties, then in the Tracing Image category, click Browse (next to the Tracing Image text box).

  2. Navigate to your image file and click OK.

  3. In the Page Properties dialog box, specify the transparency for the image by dragging the Image Transparency slider, then click OK.

    To switch to another tracing image or change the transparency of the current tracing image at any time, select File > Page Properties.

Show or hide the tracing image

Select View > Design View Options >Tracing Image > Show.

Change the position of a tracing image

  • Select View > Design View Options > Tracing Image > Adjust Position.

    • To precisely specify the position of the tracing image, enter coordinate values in the X and Y text boxes.

    • To move the image 1 pixel at a time, use the arrow keys.

    • To move the image 5 pixels at a time, press Shift and an arrow key.

Reset the position of the tracing image

  • Select View > Design View Options > Tracing Image > Reset Position.

    The tracing image returns to the upper-left corner of the Document window (0,0).

Align the tracing image to a selected element

  1. Select an element in the Document window.
  2. Select View > Design View Options > Tracing Image > Align with Selection.

    The upper-left corner of the tracing image is aligned with the upper-left corner of the selected element.

Set tracing image properties

Set properties for a tracing image (which is an image file to use as a guide in designing your page).

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Click File > Page Properties
    • Click Window > Properties, and click Page Properties in the text Property inspector.
  2. From the Page Properties dialog box, select Tracing Image. You can configure the following options from this panel:

    • Tracing Image: Specifies an image to use as a guide for copying a design. This image is for reference only, and does not appear when the document is displayed in a browser.
    • Transparency: Determines the opacity of the tracing image, from completely transparent to completely opaque.

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