MS FrontPage

Creating Layers

One reason layers are so popular is that creating them is a snap. It's just as easy to add content to them as well. The easiest way to create layers is in Design view, using the invaluable assistance of the Layers task pane. To open it, select Format » Layers or open the Task pane menu and select Layers.

Inserting Layers

You can create a layer in one of three ways:

  • In the Layers task pane, click the Insert Layer button.

  • In the Layers task pane, click the Draw Layer button, and then drag your cursor diagonally across the space on the page you want your layer to occupy.

  • Select Insert » Layer.

What's in a Name?

A Web maven I met says that "layer" is not a proper Web term. What's he talking about?

Technically, your friend is right. Here's the story.

In 1997, Netscape invented the layer and created a <layer> tag in the version of HTML that their browser recognized. This creation did pretty much everything you read about in the introduction to this tutorial. Meanwhile, the folks over at the Web standard-settings group, W3C, were busy tackling the same positioning issues and came up with their own solution. They decided that a <div> division tag (a tag that divides out, or partitions, a portion of a Web page), when used in combination with CSS (covered in Cascading Style Sheets), could do the same job more elegantly than an HTML layer. Since W3C's standards carried (and, in fact, still carry) more juice than Netscape's initiatives, the <layer> tag died a quick death.

To create a layer, FrontPage takes a <div> tag and gives it special positioning properties, which make it display as a pretty, blue, malleable box in your document window. While the term layer isn't technically correct, programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver still use it. As do many Web professionals, becauseface itas a term, "layer" is more apt than "division." Just don't look for any <layer> tags behind the scenes.

Once you create a layer, it appears on the page as a blue box, and it also shows up in the task pane list. FrontPage automatically gives layers such exciting monikers as layer1, layer2, and so on. To avoid confusion, give the layer a proper and descriptive namesomething like Fido, if it'll contain a picture of your dog, or Product-Menu, if it'll be part of a series of menus. To rename a layer, double-click it within the task pane, or right-click the layer in the task pane and then select Modify ID. FrontPage highlights the layer name to show it's editable. Type a new name (and remember not to include any spaces or special characters).

Adding content to a layer

Layers can contain a variety of content, such as pictures, video, or text. You add these items to a layer just as you would to a table cell. Within the document window, click inside the layer and start typing, or insert a picture (select Insert » Picture » From File or just drag a graphic into the layer). Poof! Your content appears in the layer. If you enter a lot of text or insert a picture that's larger than the layer, the layer expands to contain it. That's all there is to it. FrontPage saves changes you make to a layer whenever you save the page.

Selecting Layers

Before you can resize, move, or modify a layer, you first need to select it. Use one of the following methods:

  • In the Layers task pane, click the layer's name.

  • Run your mouse over the layer's border. When your cursor turns into a four-headed arrow, click.

  • Click the layer's label, or handle, in the document window. You'll find the label on the upper-left corner of the layer.

When eight little blue boxes appear around a layer's edge, you know you've selected it.