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Tips & Tutorials for Web Designers

Monday, March 5, 2012

Working With Dreamweaver Templates (.dwt files)

PART 1 -- Template Creation

  1. Create a page with all the site wide elements (common header, footer, sidebar, etc..) that you will need for your project.   This requires some careful planning even for small web sites.
  2. Validate your code with the W3C code validation tools.
    CSS -
    HTML -
  3. Test your prototype page in all major browsers. 
  4. When you're completely satisfied with the page layout, SaveAs Template.   DW will save this as a .dwt file in a site folder called Templates.
  5. DW will ask you to add Editable Regions for stuff that will change from page to page.   Do this and hit SAVE (Ctrl+S).
  6. Close your Template.dwt file.

PART 2 -- Home Page Creation

  1. File > New  > Site Templates.  Select your site from panel #2.  Select your Template.dwt file from panel #3.  Hit the Create button.
  2. This is known as a child page.  You can only edit content within editable regions.  Everything else is locked or grayed out.
  3. SaveAs index.html (your domain home page) in the root of your local site folder.

PART 3  -- Creating Other Site Pages

  1. Repeat PART 2 for each additional page required.

PART 4  --  Editing Templates

  1. Open your main TEMPLATE.dwt file and add a navigation menu with links to your site pages.
  2. SAVE (Ctrl+S).
  3. DW will ask if you want to populate changes to child pages.  Hit yes.
  4. Publish all site pages to your server.


If you ever need to edit your TEMPLATE.dwt file, Repeat PART 4 and re-publish all child pages.