As I've already mentioned in this chapter, there are a number of possibilities in terms of skinning software. In Chapter 6, we will look more closely at three of the most popular skinning packages. In addition, trial shareware versions of these packages are available, allowing you to test each skinning software possibility yourself.
When you are ready to download a particular trial version (or purchase a downloadable full-blown version) of a particular skinning software package, download it to a folder on your computer. Downloaded software typically comes in the form of either a compressed Zip file or an executable file. Figure 5.8 shows examples of both.
Figure 5.8. Downloaded software can be in the form of an executable file or a Zipped file.
In the case of a Zip file, double-click the file; then in the Explorer window, click Extract All Files (it is a command listed in the Folder Tasks box on the left side of the Explorer window). This opens the Extraction Wizard. Use the wizard to place the contents of the Zip file (typically multiple files) into an appropriate folder.
After the extraction, open the folder that holds the files and locate the executable file that installs the software. Double-click that file and your skinning software will be installed.
In the case of downloads in the form of an executable file, they are either install files or compressed executables. In the former case, double-clicking the file installs the software. In the latter case, when you double-click the executable, the files are unzipped to a temporary folder and then the installation runs.
After you have the software installed, you can put it through its paces and become familiar with the user interface it provides. You can also explore the themes and skins provided with the software and the additional themes and skins you can download to use with the software (the subject of the next section).
If you purchase the software online (rather than use the shareware version), the procedure for downloading and installing the software can vary. In some cases, a key is provided that allows you to activate the shareware version into the full-blown product. In other cases, an account is established on the manufacturer's website that allows you to access a special buyer's page where you can also periodically download updates for your product.