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Composer Tips

ON THE HORIZON   Horizontal lines are nice things to add to Web pages because they add form to the page and can break up blocks of text and images. It couldn't be easier to add a line in Composer. Click on the on H. Line icon from the Composition toolbar, and a thin line appears spanning the  width of the page. If you want to make the line larger or smaller, grab an edge (top, bottom,
left, or right) with the mouse and drag it until you reach the size you want. If you want to set
the line properties, click on the line to select it (a black bar appears inside the line), then click on the H. Line icon. This opens the Horizontal Line Properties box.


Composer includes two toolbars that let you execute menu commands without going to the
menus. One is the Composition toolbar, which controls actions for the Web page, such as creating, opening, or saving, uploading files to a remote server (publish), viewing the page in the browser, editing the page, creating links and targets, inserting images and tables, and checking spelling. The other is the Formatting toolbar, which you use to execute text commands, such as paragraph formatting; setting font type, style and size; setting color; and aligning the text. You can hide or display each toolbar by clicking on the tab on the extreme left.


Use the Composer's Find feature to locate text on the Web page your working on. You can click the Find icon from the composition toolbar, or choose Edit|Find In Page, which opens the Find dialog box. Enter the characters you want to search for, set the direction of the search (up or down), then click on Find Next. You can also specify a case-sensitive search.


If you want a standard look for all the Web pages you create, you can set Composer to use
the same background image and colors for every page you create. To set this, choose
Format|Page Colors And Properties from the Composer menu. In the Page Properties dialog
box, click the Colors And Background tab. Choose the settings you want, check the box
marked Save these settings for new pages, and click OK. Now each new page you create
uses these settings.


Need a table in your Web page? Open the page in Composer, and then place the cursor on
the page where you want the table to appear. Click on the Table icon from the Composition
toolbar and the New Table Properties dialog box opens. Set the table criteria, such as number
of rows and columns, alignment, color, and background, then click on OK. The new table
appears in the page.

  If you have a text link on a Web page that you'd like to include in a document you're creating  in Composer, you can drag it from the browser into Composer. Watch out--this can get a  little tricky; you must click and hold the mouse button on the link. If you let go, Netscape  follows the link. Now just drag it from Navigator into Composer. The cursor shows an icon  that looks like a chain link with a plus sign (+) if the drag is going as it should. When you let go  of the mouse button, the link and associated text are out in Composer.

  You can use the drag-and-drop method to create links in any HTML file. Just drag the file  from your desktop or Windows Explorer right onto the page you're creating in Composer. If  you drag a file from a folder other than the one containing the current page, Composer  automatically copies it into the same directory as the current HTML file. This means your links  work correctly when you send the file to a Web server.


What would a Web page be without images, right? The easiest and quickest way to get the  right image onto your Web page is through Composer. Just copy the image you want to your  clipboard, open the page in Composer, place the cursor on the spot where you want the  image, then choose Edit|Paste from the menu. The image is immediately inserted onto the  page.

  Why spend all your time online? Composer allows you to save entire Web pages, including  text, graphics, and everything, on your computer to be viewed whenever you want. To do  this, go to the site in Navigator, then choose File|Edit Page from the main menu. Composer  opens with the page in the window. Choose File|Save As from the Composer menu, then  select where you want to save the page and click on Save. The entire page copies to your  computer. When you want to view the page later, open Composer and choose File|Open  Page, which opens the Open Page dialog box. Click on Choose File and select the saved file.  Double-click on Open, and the page opens in the Composer window.


Once you've inserted an image in the Web page you're working on in Composer, you can set  some properties. To do this, click on the image once to select it, and then press the  right-mouse button and select Image Properties from the floating menu. Here you can set the  size, alignment, and more. If you want to edit the image, click on Edit Image. However, you  must have the image saved to your computer's hard drive before you can do this. You can't  edit an image that's stored on a remote server (although you can resize it, or move it around  the page, etc.).


  Netscape Communicator's Composer component is one of the best and easiest ways for you  to create, edit, and publish online documents. Forget messing with HTML code--Composer is  a full WYSIWYG environment, that uses features like drag and drop to allow you to create  those pages in no time.   To get started, all you have to do is select Communicator|Page Composer from the Netscape  menu or click the Composer icon from the Component bar. The Composer window opens  with a blank page. The Composer window is separate from the browser window, which  remains open behind.

 So, you don't want to use a template to create that page, but you're not too comfortable with  a blank page either. No problem; Composer includes a Page Wizard to help you along. To  use it, select File|New from the Composer menu, then click on Page From Wizard from the  floating menu box. A new Navigator window (half-size) opens with the Page Wizard. This is a  page on the Netscape site that takes you through page creation step by step.


        Creating Web pages is easy enough in Composer, but in order to get you going even more  quickly, Composer allows you to use template pages as the basis of your new page. From the  Composer window, choose File|New, then click on Page From Template from the floating  menu box that appears. This brings up a dialog box that allows you to select the template file  to be used. You can select either a local or remote file, or choose a template file from the  Netscape Template File site. Once you've selected the template, you can make it your own.  To do this, choose File|Edit Page, and away you go.

Remember to make judicious use of the right-mouse button in Composer. When you click the  right-mouse button once in Composer, a floating menu appears with certain commands, based  on where you are or what you're doing.

  You look at the slickest site on the Web and say to yourself, "There's no way I could create  the same thing." Not necessarily so. Composer makes it very easy for you to see the structure  of Web pages and use what you can from them. To do this, open that favorite page in  Navigator, then choose File|Edit Page from the main menu. This opens Composer with the  page displayed in the window. From here you can see the page's underlying structure, save it  to your computer's hard drive, or edit it (though you won't be able to post your changes back  to the original site's server unless that server is actually yours).


       Yesterday's tip showed you how easy Composer makes it for you to look at the structure of  your favorite Web page. This is a great way to get ideas about things you want for your own  pages, but tread on careful legal ground. No one can copyright a basic page design, but text,  graphics, and even HTML code can and often are copyrighted. Make sure you get written  permission before using any of these in your own pages. Even if the site says you can use the  images or text, some of these sites may not have proper permission to give you the  permission. Bottom line: be very careful.


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