Intermediate Dreamweaver

Basic HTML | Site management | Assets | Library of Page Elements| Find and Replace | Templates | Style Sheets | Forms | Imagemaps | Mouseovers | Flash buttons & text | Frames | Tables: Formatting & Sorting | Preview Browsers | Font Lists | Colors | Automating Tasks | Pasting in a Script


Dreamweaver has the ability to help you create and edit framed sites: sites in which different documents appear in different sections of the same browser window.

Framed documents consist of one main document, the frameset, which defines the sizes, positions, and names of the 'frames' (window sections). The frameset specifies which documents shall be initially displayed in each frame, but these are generally separate documents.

To set up a framed site in Dreamweaver, begin with a blank page (choose New from the File menu). From the Modify menu, choose Frameset, then choose the kind of frame layout you are interested in:

[insert frames menu]

Then, from the Window menu, choose Frames.

The properties of the Frameset will appear in the properties window

By clicking on a frame in the Frames window, you can see its properties in the Properties window.

Each frame needs to have a name, even if they are only 'top' and 'main' or whatever, so set the frame names first, by selecting each frame in turn (in the frames panel ) and typing the name in the Frame Name in the properties panel:

The Src field in the frame properties is the filename of the page to go in that frame. You can use the yellow folder icon to insert a pre-created page in the frame:[insert frame src]

Or create a new page by editing the text in the frame and then using Save to save it as a specific page. The filename you use to save the frame content will appear in the Src field of the frame properties.

Frames can be resized by clicking on the boundaries of the frame (in the document window) and dragging.

Once you have gotten documents into each frame, save the Frameset by clicking in the frame panel and choosing Save Frameset from the File menu in the document window. The filename you use for the frameset is the one you will link to, when you want to view these framed pages.

Other properties you can set for each frame include:

  • Scroll: does the frame have a scroll bar or not. Auto is usually the safest way to go with this, as it will insert a scroll bar if the content is too long or wide to fit in the frame.
  • Borders: whether the borders of the frame are visible. To have 'seamless' frames, choose 'no'.
  • Border color changes the color of the border around that frame.
  • No resize means that the frame will stay the same size, and that users can't expand or shrink it by dragging on the frame borders in the browser. Leaving it off gives them more flexibility.
  • Margin Width and Height set the amount of padding inside the frame between the frame border and the content.

Linking between frames

When the user clicks a link in a frame, by default the document being linked to will display in the frame the link is in.

To make a link in one frame that causes a document to be displayed in another frame (generally the major purpose of using frames), you will have to set the 'target' to the link. Go to the link properties and click on target to choose which frame to display the link in:

  • Choose the name you gave to the frame you want to display the document in from the bottom of the list.
  • _blank displays it in a new browser window.
  • _parent displays it in the parent frameset, replacing the frames-- if there are more than two frames, you will still get some of the frames in the resulting display because the frames are nested.
  • _self displays it in the same frame or window as the link. This is the default.
  • _top displays it in the full browser window, getting rid of all the frames.

If you want to change more the contents of more than one frame when you click on a link, it's best to set up the page as you want it to be linked to as another frameset with the new frames in it, and link to the frameset.

Borders and Scrolling

By default, the borders between frames are visible. To turn them off, click on the border so that the frameset properties are displayed, then choose "No" from the Borders drop-down menu:

The properties of the frames control whether scroll bars will appear on the frame. In general, having the scroll bars automatically appear if the content will not fit in the page is safest, but you can also set the scroll bars to be available all the time, or to never be available:


When you are finished editing and want to save the framed document, choose 'Save All'. You will be asked whether to save the various frames, especially if you have edited them. If you typed directly into the framed document, you will need to save your work in new file names.

To save JUST the frameset, click on the border between frames and choose "Save Frameset" from the file menu.


February 10, 2004