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Select a Web Theme

A theme is a collection of colors, link graphics, and banners that gives a FrontPage Web a consistent visual identity. More than a dozen themes are included with FrontPage 2002, and many more are available on FrontPage sites on the World Wide Web.

You can apply a theme to a specific page in a Web or to the entire Web.

To use a theme, open a page for editing and choose Format, Theme (see Figure 3.1).

Figure 3.1 Using themes in a FrontPage Web.

The Themes dialog box opens (see Figure 3.2), enabling you to preview the themes that are available and choose one for the page (or for an entire Web).

Figure 3.2 Choosing a theme.

The themes in FrontPage 2002 are given short names that help describe their appearance. Expedition is a theme that looks like a wildlife safari company's brochure. Topo features graphics inspired by maps. Blank, although not actually blank, is relatively plain.

Select each theme to see a preview of it in the dialog box's Sample of Theme pane. The Poetic theme is shown in Figure 3.2.

The first choice you must make is whether to apply your chosen theme to a page or your entire Web. Apply a theme to only the current page by choosing the Selected Pages option at the top of the Themes dialog box. Apply a theme to the entire Web by choosing All Pages instead.

NOTE

Themes are one of the easiest features to experiment with in FrontPage 2002. If you apply a theme to your Web and don't like it, you can easily wipe out the change by choosing a different theme. You also can remove all themes by choosing (No theme) in the Themes dialog box.

The next decision to make is whether to select any of the following options:

  • Vivid colors

  • Active graphics

  • Background picture

  • Apply using CSS

The Vivid colors option determines whether the theme will use a variety of bright colors or a white background and darker colors.

If a theme uses vivid colors, it will have a bright background color such as light green or yellow and other colors that work well on that background.

If a theme does not use vivid colors, the background will be white and all other colors will be darker, making them easier to read.

This color choice will not be as significant if you use the theme's background image. This causes a graphic to be tiled—repeated over and over like tiles on a kitchen floor—underneath the contents of a page. The difference between vivid and darker colors is less noticeable over a background image.

Choosing Active graphics adds some animation effects to the theme. One common feature of an animated theme is a link bar with buttons that change in response to mouse movement. These are called hover buttons in FrontPage 2002, because the buttons change when a mouse hovers over them.

FrontPage creates this effect through the use of one of the scripting languages that it supports: JavaScript or VBScript. All the scripting is handled internally by FrontPage, so you don't have to be familiar with these languages to make use of them on your Webs.

CAUTION

As with all features offered through scripting, hover buttons are not supported by all browsers. Versions 3.0 and later of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator support these buttons. On browsers that don't support them, a non-animated version of the graphics will appear.

The last option you can enable with a theme is to apply it using CSSCascading Style Sheets. Style sheets are a standard for how pictures and text are presented on a Web page. They enable the basic visual elements of a page—its text, colors, fonts, and formatting—to be defined separately from the information the page contains.

Because a theme is a representation of a Web's visual appearance, it makes sense to define it through the use of Cascading Style Sheets.

However, an important thing to note about Cascading Style Sheets is that it has been inconsistently implemented by the browser developers. Although a standard for Cascading Style Sheets has existed since December 1996, Microsoft and Netscape offer different and occasionally incompatible implementations of style sheets in their browsers.

If you apply a FrontPage theme using Cascading Style Sheets, it should be fully supported by the current version of Internet Explorer. This is the first version of FrontPage that offers support for style sheets, and its implementation is most compatible with Microsoft's Web browser. You should test the Web in other browsers to make sure that their users are able to successfully view the site.

Assign a Theme to a Web

During the last hour, you created a Web using the Personal Web template. Although you might not have realized it at the time, you were using a theme. The Personal Web, like all built-in templates, has a default theme that it applies to all pages in the Web.

Depending on the person for whom you were creating that Web, the theme might not have been quite what you were looking for.

TIP

As you're selecting a theme, you might notice the (Install Additional Themes) option in the Themes dialog box. Select this to install several dozen additional themes on the CD from which you installed FrontPage 2002.

As the first project of this hour, load the personal Web that you created and apply a new theme to all of its pages.

Because it's so easy to experiment with themes, preview the Web in a browser in three different ways:

  • With active graphics

  • With non-active graphics and a background image

  • With vivid colors and no background image

Figure 3.3 shows last hour's Annie Wilkes home page with a different theme.

Figure 3.3 Trying a new theme on a personal Web.

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