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Manage Files in the Dreamweaver Files Panel

The Files panel in Dreamweaver is somewhat similar to the file management feature in your operating system (say, Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder). Big deal: When working with files that are part of your site, use the Dreamweaver Files panel instead of your OS tools (or other tools like Adobe Bridge) to rename, copy, move, or delete files from your site.

Like all panels in Dreamweaver CS6, the Files panel can be opened from the Window menu. Choose Window→Files from the main Dreamweaver menu. The Files panel has its own fairly powerful toolbar.

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  • Connect to Remote Server: Connects Dreamweaver with the remote host, so the Files panel can display both the local version of the site (on your computer) and the remote version (saved at your hosting company’s server).

  • Refresh: Updates the display to reflect recent changes in file structure.

  • View Site FTP Log: You can see a record of file transfers to and from the remote server.

  • Remote Server Log/Testing Server Log: These two buttons toggle between viewing your remote site files, and viewing connections to databases at a remote server.

  • Repository Files: Displays archived, older versions of a site if Version Control settings are defined in the Version Control tab of the Site Setup dialog box. This is a feature usually associated with complex and large-scale sites.

  • Download: Downloads selected files from the remote server to your local computer.

  • Upload: Uploads selected files from your local computer to the remote server.

  • Checkin, Checkout: Enables multiple developers working on the same site to check out files from the server, locking other developers out of editing those files while they’re checked out. You can then check files back in when the editing is complete.

  • Synchronize with Remote Server: Opens the Synchronize with Remote Server dialog box that provides automated tools for replacing older files with newer ones on either the local or remote site.

  • Expand: Splits the Files panel into two sides: one showing the remote server (generally on the left) and one showing your local files (on the right). Or, when deselected, collapses the Files panel to display only the local, or only the remote, version of the site.

Note the drop-down menu at the top of the Files panel. Here you can choose which of your defined Dreamweaver sites is visible and in use.

Use these tools when necessary to document in minute detail all changes ever made to site content.

Rename, copy, delete, and open files from the Files panel.

The easiest way to access these features is to right-click (Windows)/Control-click (Mac) a file. The flyout menu will display relevant options for your file.

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For example, if you right-click an image file — in addition to being able to cut, copy, delete, duplicate, or rename the file — Dreamweaver provides an option to open the file in any of your installed image-editing programs. When you edit the image in your image editor (like Photoshop), saved changes are reflected in the file in your site.

One of the best (or maybe better said, one of the worst) ways to corrupt a website is to mix other file management tools with Dreamweaver’s. For example, if you rename a file in Dreamweaver, Dreamweaver will examine your entire site and prompt you to update any pages that rely on that file to work properly.

That won’t happen if you rename the file using your operating system’s file management tool (Windows Explorer or Mac Finder). So, be sure to rely on Dreamweaver’s Files panel, not your operating system’s file manager, to edit filenames and locations.

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