Playing with Panels

[ LiB ]

It's a fact of life that there are lots of panels out there. They're all handy at one time or another, but boy they sure get in the way when you're not using them, and it's always hard to find just the one you want when you want it. Many Dreamweaver tasks involve accessing panels for some reason. Both the Dreamweaver integrated workspace ( Windows ) and the semi-integrated workspace (Mac) use a system of docking, grouping, expanding, and contracting panels to help you streamline your daily panel use.

Panels and Panel Groups

Any panel can be opened or expanded by choosing it from the Window menu, which also lists the shortcut keys for opening and closing them. Most of the Dreamweaver panels live in panel groups, with each panel available under a tab in the group window. (Well, technically, all of the panels live in groups, but some panels, such as the CSS Styles panel, live in groups of one.) The groups are logical, to help you intuitively figure out which panel goes where. The panel/ group title bar includes an options menu for performing panel- related tasks. Figure 2.6 shows a typical panel group with its features highlighted.

Figure 2.6. The Code panel group and how it works

To expand or contract a panel group, click the expand/contract arrow in the panel group's title bar. If necessary, the panel window stretches out to accommodate expanded panels. To expand a panel group and resize it to be as tall as possible, access its options menu and choose Maximize Panel Group.

To adjust the relative height of two panel groups within the window, position the cursor between the two. The cursor turns into a two-headed arrow. Drag up or down to resize.

To close a panel group, access its options menu and choose Close Panel Group. You can open the panel group again by choosing any of its panels from the Window menu.

Showing and Hiding

Sometimes expanding and contracting and resizing isn't enough. You just want things out of the way so you can get a good unencumbered view of your document.

To adjust the amount of space the side panel dock takes up (Windows integrated workspace only), drag the vertical bar that separates it from the rest of the workspace. To toggle the side panel on and off completely, click the triangle in that vertical bar (see Figure 2.7).

Figure 2.7. Adjusting the side panel dock in the Windows integrated workspace.

To toggle all panels on and off (Mac and Windows), choose Window > Hide Panels and Window > Show Panels, or just press F4 to toggle back and forth.

Docking and Undocking

Sometimes you just don't want to work with a docked panel. Maybe you find a particular panel (such as the Reference panel) a bit hard to read in its packed-up, docked state. Maybe you have two monitors and want all of your panels spread out across monitor 2 while monitor 1 shows the Document window. Or maybe you're just accustomed to free-standing panels. You're not stuck in the dock!

The grabber edge at the left of the panel's title bar (see Figure 2.6) lets you undock and dock the group. To undock , grab the grabber edge and drag the group out of the panel window. To resize the panel window in its undocked state, drag its lower-right corner (see Figure 2.8).

Figure 2.8. An undocked panel window.

When you undock, you run the risk of losing panel windows. They scoot off the edge of your monitor or tuck themselves away behind things. To get yourself out of this particular pickle , choose Window > Arrange Panels.

To redock, grab the grabber edge and drag the group over other docked panels until a thick black line appears to indicate where you'll be docking. You can even redock the group in an entirely different place from where it started. For Windows users, you can even dock horizontal panels (such as the Results window) in the side dock or move vertically oriented panels (such as the Code group) to the top or bottom of the Document window.

Grouping and Regrouping

Dreamweaver panel groups are supposed to be logical and intuitive, but what if they're not? Or what if you find yourself using only three or four panels, and you get tired of opening and closing three or four panel groups to go back and forth? You can group, ungroup, and even create your own panel groups to create the best panel setup for your working style. And it's all done with the panel window's options menu (refer to Figure 2.6).

To move a particular panel into another group, go to the options menu for the original panel window and choose Group Panel With > [whatever group you like!].

Unfortunately, the Tag Inspector can't be grouped with anything else.

To put a panel in a window by itself, go to its options menu and choose Group Panel With > New Group.

To create your own group of favorite panels, just combine the previous steps:

  1. Find the first panel that you want in your personalized group, and detach it from its group by going to its options menu and choosing Group Panel With > New Group.

  2. In the new panel window you've just created, go to the options menu and choose Rename Panel Group. Call the group anything you likeFavorites, My Panels, you name it.

  3. Now, one at a time, find the rest of the panels you want in your group and, for each one, go to its options menu and choose Group Panel With > [whatever you called your panel group]. Note that the Tag Inspector panel cannot be grouped.

You're now free to close or contract all other panel groups and know that you'll always have your favorites at your fingertips (see Figure 2.9).

Figure 2.9. Creating a custom panel group.

The Insert Bar and Property Inspector

The Insert bar and Property Inspector are unique panels with their own set of rules. In the Windows integrated workspace, they are docked at the top and bottom of the Document window. They can be undocked, but not grouped with other panels. In the Mac workspace, they are free-standing and can't be docked.

The Insert bar can be viewed in one of two modes: menu mode (the default) or tabbed mode (Dreamweaver MX-style). To switch between modes, choose Show as Tabs from the object category drop-down menu (in menu mode); or choose Show as Menus from the panel options menu (in tabbed mode). Figure 2.10 shows the two styles of viewing the Insert bar.

Figure 2.10. Switching between menu and tabbed modes in the Insert bar.

In the Windows workspace, the Property Inspector can be contracted like any other panel. In Mac and Windows workspaces, the Property Inspector can also be semicontracted to show only its top half by clicking the triangle icon in its lower-right corner (see Figure 2.11).

Figure 2.11. Changing the Property Inspector from full to abbreviated states (Windows only).

[ LiB ]

Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 Demystified
Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 Demystified
ISBN: 0735713847
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 188
Authors: Laura Gutman © 2008-2017.
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