To create a new document based upon a template, use File New From Template and select a template to use from the Select Template dialog box shown in Figure 8-5. (You can also create a new document by choosing the New From Template option from the arrow pop-up menu in the Templates panel discussed in the next section.) Documents derived from a template file are indicated by an asterisk in the Document window's title bar.
Figure 8-5. The Select Template dialog box
From the Select Template dialog box, you have access to all templates that have been saved as a part of any web site. You can also enable the Update Page When Template Changes checkbox to ensure that the page always uses the latest version of the template.
New documents based on a template automatically include any contents stored as part of the template. Pages based on a template include comment tags within the <html> tag of the document, such as the following:
<html><!-- #BeginTemplate "/Templates/mytemplate.dwt" --> <!-- #EndTemplate --></html>
Only the editable regions can be modified. (Placeholder content from the template may appear in the editable region, but can be replaced .)
You can add text, insert images, or do anything allowed by the template. To add content to a region, select it first using one of these methods :
Figure 8-6 shows a document based on a template. The editable areas are indicated by the blue outlines. Dreamweaver prevents you from editing other areas (the cursor changes to a circle with a slash through it when you try to edit things that aren't editable.)
Figure 8-6. Editable regions in a document based on a template
You cannot add CSS styles or a behavior to a template-based document unless the style or behavior is in an external file referenced by the template. By default, only the <title> tag is editable in the head of a template-based document. Dreamweaver creates an editable region named doctitle by default.
<!-- #BeginEditable "doctitle" --> <title>document title is editable</title> <!-- #EndEditable -->
To insert a layer in an editable region, use the Insert Layer menu option (using the Draw Layer tool in the Objects panel won't work because it tries to add the tag in an uneditable portion of the document). Avoid inserting layers into table cells because NN4 doesn't support layers within tables.
8.2.1 Template Operations in the Assets Panel
The Templates category of the Assets panel (a.k.a. the Templates panel) allows you to delete, rename, duplicate, and apply templates to documents. As shown in Figure 8-7, the Templates panel lists all the templates available for the current site (any templates defined for the site are added to the Templates panel automatically). It also shows a preview of the selected template. To open the Templates panel, select Window Templates or click on the Templates icon in the Assets panel.
Figure 8-7. The Templates category of the Assets panel
You can change the template associated with a document by dragging a template from the Templates panel and dropping it onto the current document. You can perform other manipulations using the pop-up menu or icons in the Templates panel (see Figure 8-7).
8.2.2 Modifying the Template
To edit a template, open it using File Open. Select Files of Type: Template files ( .dwt ) from the drop-down list and pick a template from the Templates folder. (Double-clicking the name of a template in the Templates panel is another, much simpler way to open it.)
When editing a template, you can add new editable regions or make any other changes that you could make to a normal HTML document. Use File Save to save your changes (you'll be prompted to update documents based on the template).
To remove an editable region, use Modify Templates Remove Editable Region and choose the region's name from the list of regions in the template. Remember that when you delete an editable region, you risk deleting content on pages derived from the template. Dreamweaver gives you the option of deleting such content or moving it to a different editable region as seen in Figure 8-8.
8.2.3 Linking Templates to Documents
To change the template associated with a file, drag the new template from the Templates panel and drop it onto the document, or select Modify Templates Apply Template to Page. If the page contains content that does not fit into the fields of the new template, Dreamweaver displays the dialog box shown in Figure 8-8. You can either merge the content into an existing field or delete the content.
Figure 8-8. The Choose Editable Region for Orphaned Content dialog box
8.2.4 Detaching Templates from Documents
Templates sometimes constrain document development in undesirable ways. You can't add <meta> tags, CSS styles, behaviors, or timelines to a document based on a template because these elements insert information in the head section of a document (the head section of a document based on a template is locked, except for the document's title). Therefore, add these elements directly to the template, not to the document based on the template.
To allow greater freedom, you can remove the template's influence over the document using Modify Templates Detach from Template. Once detached from the template, the document editing is no longer constrained to editable regions, and updates made to the template do not affect the current document.
Reapplying a template to a document is best avoided. It will generally create duplicate template graphics, links, and text.