Web Design Basics: What Are Dreamweaver Templates?

A Dreamweaver template can help jumpstart your web page design process, saving you time and money!

A Dreamweaver template is a pre-made web page (or entire site) that contains very little content, but all of the page design elements needed to begin the design process. Starting from a template makes it easier for someone with little or no design background to create a professional looking website without having to invest in a professional website designer. Using Dreamweaver you can customize a template, adding text and pages as necessary.

You can use the basic pre-designed pages that come with the Dreamweaver program as templates, or you can purchase and download Dreamweaver templates over the Internet. If you have the ability, you can choose to create your own Dreamweaver templates.

Using Pre-designed Dreamweaver Pages

Dreamweaver comes with basic page templates that you can use to jumpstart your web page development process. In Dreamweaver, choose File > New. The New Document dialog box opens, with the General tab already selected by default. Under the Category heading, the CSS Style Sheets, Framesets, Pages Designs, Pages Designs (CSS), and Pages Designs (Accessible) categories offer pre-designed pages you can use as a basis for your own pages.

Click on a category and then on a page design to preview the layout associated with that page. Be sure to read the description below the preview area for additional information. For help with this dialog box, click on the Help button.

Once you have selected the page design template you want to use, click the Create button. The new document (and any related documents, if necessary) will open in the Document window where you can then edit and save your work.

Finding Dreamweaver Templates to Purchase and Download

Thousands of professionally-designed Dreamweaver templates are available for purchase on the Internet. Depending on the complexity of the design, prices can range from as little as ten dollars to several hundred dollars.

Using your favorite search engine, do a search on "Dreamweaver templates" (include the quotation marks to search on the entire phrase). You will undoubtedly find hundreds of websites offering templates for sale. Plan on investing a good amount of time exploring the sites and choosing a template that is just right for you.

Before buying and downloading a template, be sure to read everything you can about what is being offered. For example, you might want to investigate the following:

* Does the template come with step-by-step directions for modifying it?

* Can the graphics be changed?

* Can you add or remove pages?

* Can you change the template colors?

* What type of support does the site offer if you encounter problems downloading or using the template?

* Will you need any software other than Dreamweaver to modify the template?

Create Your Own Dreamweaver Template

If you have the expertise, you can create a Dreamweaver template yourself, either from an existing HTML document or from a new, blank document.

To create a template from an existing HTML document, first open the document in Dreamweaver. Choose File > Save as Template. In the Save As Template dialog box, select a site from the Site dropdown list and type a name for the template in the Save as edit box. (If you need help with any aspect of this dialog box, click the Help button.) Click on Save to save the template.

To create a template from a new, blank document, choose File > New. In the New Document dialog box, select Template page from the Category list, and then click on the type of page you want to work with. Click on the Create button to open the template document. If you are in Design mode, the page will appear blank. Click on the Coding tab to view the coding for the template thus far.

Dreamweaver stores a saved template file with a .dwt filename extension in the site's Template folder (located in the local root folder of the site). If necessary, Dreamweaver will create the Templates folder for you within the site, if it didn't already exit.

Dreamweaver is a well appointed program and its template feature is quite rich. While this article is enough to get you started with Dreamweaver templates, you will probably want to read through the Dreamweaver Help files on this topic. See the topic titled "About Dreamweaver templates" to get started.

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