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Design Corner: Tinkering with Page View

FrontPage 2002's Page view is extremely useful for a number of reasons, but—like most Microsoft products today (and for that matter, most products by any software publisher)—it significantly fails to take into account that good old 14-inch monitors are still very much in use. For that matter, so are many 15-inch monitors with 800x600 resolution. FrontPage offers most productivity when used with a larger monitor—17 inches or more—at resolutions between 1024x768 and 1600x1200, and with a color depth of 256 colors and up. But not everybody has that, and even those who do often have a second computer with lesser capabilities.

If you have a smaller display, a few options are available to you. First, a significant portion of the FrontPage display is taken up by items other than the main view. When in Page view, the Folder List and Views Bar occupy the left 25% (by default) of the display. To increase your working area—that is, the main viewing pane—you can hide or shrink both of them. To hide the Folder List, uncheck the Folder List item from the View menu. To hide the Views Bar, uncheck Views Bar from the View menu. Presto! Both are gone, and your work area is enlarged.

Doing without the Views Bar isn't difficult because all the views are available from the View menu anyway. You'll want to use the Folder List quite often, though, so you'll have to toggle it on and off (by checking and unchecking from the View menu). But you don't actually have to get rid of either. Instead, you can simply shrink them. To do so, move the pointer over the vertical border that runs along the right side of the item you want to shrink until the arrow changes to a double arrow. Now drag the border to the left until it is the size you want.

In the case of the Views Bar, the icons will keep moving closer and closer to the left border, and the icon titles will abbreviate themselves. You can shrink this bar by two-thirds and still have it remain readable. Shrinking the Folder List, by contrast, simply hides an increasing amount of the folder and file information. Even so, you rarely need the full folder name or filename to work with, and when you do you can always enlarge the list again.

Although it's much smaller than the others, you also can get rid of the status bar (at the bottom of the display). To do so, select Options from the Tools menu; then uncheck the Show status bar option. To get it back, reverse the process.

Unfortunately, FrontPage does not offer the kind of Zoom feature offered in other Office XP products (why it doesn't we have absolutely no idea—it would be extremely useful). You do have, however, a few other ways to save screen real estate. First, you can minimize the number of toolbars. Select Customize from the Tools menu, and in the Toolbars tab uncheck the toolbars you don't need. In fact, start by unchecking them all and seeing whether you can get along without them permanently. The same dialog box lets you switch from small to large icons in the toolbars, which is useful if you want to minimize but not hide the toolbars. Click the Options tab and uncheck the Large icons option. Also from the Options tab, you can tell FrontPage to save you a line of screen space by having the standard and Formatting menus (the two default menus) share only one line.

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