How to Use Design Notes in Dreamweaver

If you sometimes forget the details of your work or neglect to tell colleagues about updates to pages in your website, the Dreamweaver Design Notes feature may be useful. If you’re the only person working on a website, you probably don’t need these features because they're intended for use on sites developed by a team of people who need to communicate and make sure they don’t overwrite each other’s work.

Design Notes are ideal if you want to hide sensitive information from visitors, such as pricing structures or creative strategies, but make that information available to members of your development team. Comments, instructions, and other text saved as a Design Note in Dreamweaver can travel with any HTML file or image, even if the file transfers from one website to another or from Fireworks to Dreamweaver.

Essentially, Design Notes enable you to record information (such as a message to another designer on your team) and associate it with a file or folder. Design Notes work a lot like the comment tag (HTML code that enables you to embed in a page text that won’t appear in a browser) but with a bit more privacy.

Unlike the comment tag, which is embedded directly in the HTML code of a page (and can be seen if someone views the source code behind a page on the web), Design Notes are never visible to your visitors. The only way for a visitor to view Design Notes is to deliberately type the path to your notes subdirectory and view the notes files directly.

You can even explicitly block someone from accessing your files directly, but only if you have administrative access to your server. To be even more secure, you can keep the notes on your hard drive and prevent them from ever being uploaded to your server — though, of course, then your team members won't see your witty remarks.

To access the Design Notes page, choose Design Notes in the Category list in the Site Setup dialog box. The settings on this page enable you to control how Dreamweaver uses Design Notes:

  • Maintain Design Notes: Select this option to ensure that the Design Note remains attached to the file when you upload, copy, or move it.

  • Enable Upload Design Notes for Sharing: Choose this option to include Design Notes when you send files to the server by using FTP.

  • Clean Up Design Notes: Use the Clean Up Design Notes button to delete Design Notes that are not associated with any files in the site.

When you create graphics in Adobe Fireworks, you can save a Design Note for each image file that is also available in Dreamweaver. To use this integrated feature, create a Design Note in Fireworks and associate it with the image. Then when you save the Fireworks image to your local website folder, the Design Note goes with it.

When you open the file in Dreamweaver, the Design Note appears when you right-click the image (Control+click on the Mac). This feature is a great way for graphic designers to communicate with other members of the web development team.

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