Installing New Dreamweaver Extensions

Even with all the cool features already included in Dreamweaver CS3, the Extension Manager enables you to add new functionality by adding extensions from a variety of third-party sources.

You can find extensions that add everything from Flash buttons to fly-out menus to full-featured shopping cart systems. Keep in mind that not all extensions are well supported. They're not all free, either. Some cost hundreds of dollars, but most are in the $20 to $50 range. When you visit the Dreamweaver Exchange site, you'll find reviews and rankings to help you sort through the best options.

In the following steps, you walk through the process of finding, downloading, and installing a free extension. Although how extensions work after they are installed can differ dramatically, the basic process of adding them to Dreamweaver is nearly the same.

1. Visit the Dreamweaver Exchange Site.

You can get to the Dreamweaver Exchange site by clicking the link in the bottom right of the Dreamweaver launch screen, or you can get there by visiting Adobe Exchange and following the link to the Dreamweaver section.

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 will be 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.

Also note that many of the extensions featured on the Exchange site include links back 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 that the extension was designed for. 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'll find the new feature in the Dreamweaver interface after it's installed or warnings that some of the functionality of an extension will work only when previewed on a live Web server.

4. To download an extension, click the Download button near the top of the page and save the extension to your hard drive.

5. Install the new extension after it's downloaded by choosing 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.

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 are usually the same as the instructions included in the middle of the page on the Exchange site.

Pay special attention to the part of the instruction 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, and it can be hard to find them if you don't know where to look.

7. Put your new extensions to work by launching Dreamweaver and finding the new menu option, button, or other interface feature that controls your new extension.

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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