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How to Install New Dreamweaver Extensions for Behaviors

Even with all the cool features in Dreamweaver, a day will almost certainly come when you’ll want to do things that Dreamweaver can’t do with the features that shipped with the program. Fortunately, the programmers who created Dreamweaver made it possible for other programmers to add features with Extension Manager. The result? You can add new functionality by adding extensions from a variety of third-party sources.

You can find extensions that do everything from adding highly customizable drop-down and fly-out menus to full-featured shopping cart systems. Keep in mind, however, that not all extensions are well supported and few come with good instructions. They’re not all free, either. Some cost hundreds of dollars, but most are in the $20–$50 range.

The following steps explain how you find, download, and install a free Dreamweaver extension. Although how extensions work after they’re installed can differ dramatically, the basic process of adding them to Dreamweaver is nearly the same.

  1. Visit the Dreamweaver Exchange site.

    Do one of the following to get to the Dreamweaver Exchange site:

    • Choose Get More Behaviors from the bottom of the Add Behavior drop-down list in the Behaviors panel.

    • Visit Adobe’s Exchange site and follow the link to the Dreamweaver section.

    • Click the link in the bottom right of the Dreamweaver Welcome screen.

    Note: If you launch Dreamweaver and find a link to download an update for Dreamweaver instead of the link to the Exchange site, by all means download and install the update first. After you’re finished, the update link is replaced by the link to the Exchange site.

  2. Sort through the many available extensions.

    You’ll find a wide range of extensions on the Dreamweaver Exchange site. You can search through extensions by category, keyword, and ranking options. Many extensions featured on the Exchange site include links to their creators’ sites, where you’ll often find even more extensions.

  3. Select an extension and review its features.

    When you click a link to an extension on the Exchange site, you’ll find more information about the extension, including system requirements and the version of Dreamweaver for which the extension was designed. In general, you can use extensions designed for earlier versions of Dreamweaver in more recent versions. Be aware, however, that extensions designed for later versions of Dreamweaver usually won’t work in earlier versions of the program.

    Before you leave the extension’s page, take the time to read the special instructions in the middle of the page. Some extensions include important instructions, such as where you find the new feature in the Dreamweaver interface after it’s installed and warnings that some functions of an extension will work only when previewed on a live web server (this is true for the random image extension, for example).

  4. To download an extension, click the Download button (for free extensions) or the Buy button next to the extension name and save the extension to your hard drive.

    Depending on how the extension is hosted on the exchange, you may be redirected to another page where you have to click Download again to download the extension.

  5. Choose Help→Manage Extensions to open the installation dialog box.

    Most extensions require that you close Dreamweaver before installation, and most install with the click of a button. Dreamweaver’s Extension Manager launches automatically to install most extensions.

  6. In the Extension Manager dialog box, choose File→Install Extension and then browse your drive to select the extension file you downloaded.

    After the installation is complete, Dreamweaver displays instructions for using the extension. These instructions are usually the same as the ones included in the middle of the page on the Exchange site.

    Pay special attention to the part of the instructions that tells you where you’ll find your newly installed extensions. Extensions may be added to menus, dialog boxes, and other parts of Dreamweaver depending on their functionality and how the programmer set them up. Finding them can be hard if you don’t know where to look.

  7. Launch Dreamweaver and find the new menu option, button, or other interface feature that controls your new extension.

    In many cases, all you have to do is open an existing page or create a new page in Dreamweaver and then open the newly added dialog box or select the new option from a menu.

Adobe is constantly updating the Exchange site. Visit it regularly to find new extensions you can download and install to enhance Dreamweaver’s feature set.

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