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Navigating Within Documents

Creating art, whether on traditional canvas or on a computer, can be painstaking work. Oftentimes you want a closer look than what you get at the default view setting (usually 100%, though it is often lower if a given document cannot fit on your screen at 100%). Fireworks enables you to zoom in to a whopping 6400%, for some precise detail work. But getting there is only part of the task. Navigating around (and getting back to 100%) is equally important.

In Fireworks, the Zoom (magnifying glass) tool is used to navigate along the Z axis (in and out), whereas the Hand tool is used to navigate the X and Y axes (right/left and up/down). Both tools are available in the Tools panel, as shown in Figure 3.8. There are a host of ways to navigate around your document, beyond using these two tools.

Figure 3.8 Document navigation tools are grouped together in the Tools panel.

Note that navigating documents does not actually change them in any way. All you are doing with these tools is changing how closely or exactly where you are looking at them. Some people get confused when an image is huge and blurry, thinking that the picture has become gigantic. In fact, the culprit is usually just a high zoom amount.

Also note when you zoom in that vector graphics look pixilated (see Figure 3.9). Because vector graphics are resolution-independent, you might wonder why. If you zoom in on a vector graphic in Flash or FreeHand, it doesn't become pixilated. Fireworks, however, displays what your vector graphics would look like if they were rasterized at the selected resolution—which they most likely will be upon export. If you were to change your resolution from 72 to 300dpi, you would notice that your vector graphics are suddenly even smoother. This "as-if" preview is especially helpful when you are doing detail work because you can see what the file will really look like upon output. I appreciate this preview when I am deciding whether and how much anti-aliasing to apply.

Figure 3.9 Though vector art and text are both resolution-independent, they still appear pixilated when viewed closely.

Using Zoom to Change View Settings

To zoom in on a document in Fireworks, do one of the following:

  • Select the Zoom tool from the Tools panel and click anywhere on the document to zoom in.

  • Choose View, Zoom in (Command-=/Ctrl+=).

  • Select a zoom setting from the View, Magnification pop-up menu along the bottom of the document window.

  • Zoom to a custom area by using the Zoom tool to drag out a region.

Zooming out works similarly, with a couple minor changes:

  • Choose View, Zoom out (or Command--/Ctrl+-).

  • Select a smaller zoom setting from the Magnification pop-up menu along the bottom of the document window.

  • Hold down the Option or Alt key and then click with the Zoom tool to zoom back out.

To return to 100% size, double-click the Zoom tool from the Tools panel, regardless of which zooming method you used to get to the current view setting.

One cool option for those of you with large monitors and high resolutions is to open several windows to view the same document at different zoom settings at one time. To do so, choose Window, New Window, and then select the zoom settings for the new window. Whatever you modify in one window also appears updated in the other.

Navigating with the Hand Tool

Drag with the Hand tool to navigate up, down, right, or left. If the entire image fits into the document window, then there is nothing to drag. Use this feature when the image doesn't fit into the document window—which happens most often when you zoom into a document.

The Hand tool is used when the image size is larger than the window size (or anytime when the scroll bars are visible). Select the Hand tool from the Tools panel and use it to click and drag/move the image to the desired focus.

Using Common Display Options

As previously discussed with the Zoom tool, Fireworks offers ways that you can take a closer look at your image. In addition to the Zoom tool, Fireworks offers the following presets to help you control the display of your documents.

  • Fit Selection (View, Fit Selection). This command resizes the view to display the selected object only. It is very convenient when you are doing detail work on a particular area of an image.

  • Fit All (View, Fit All). Fit All adjusts the view so that the entire canvas is displayed in the window.

  • Full Display (View, Full Display). Checked by default, this option toggles whether you see each of your objects fully rendered or just in outline, as shown in Figure 3.10. This option is a bit of a throwback to the days when computers couldn't fully handle vector drawing programs (outline view was the default as late as Illustrator 4). By showing items only in preview, computers require considerably less memory and less redraw time. The downside, of course, is that all you can see are rectangles and circles! I still occasionally use this option when dealing with complex files filled with gradients, complex paths, bitmaps, and so on. It is handy when you need to align several objects onscreen and don't want to wait around while Fireworks redraws everything.

  • Figure 3.10 The same image shown with Full Display checked (right) and unchecked (left). Note that even the text loses its anti-aliasing when unchecked for a truly minimalist view of your work.

  • Windows or Macintosh Gamma (View, Windows/Macintosh Gamma). Macintosh and Windows systems use different gamma settings in their monitors. The practical consequence of this is that Macintosh monitors tend to be somewhat brighter than Windows monitors. This discrepancy can affect the appearance of your graphics (and sometimes, the legibility of your text) for people on different systems. This feature enables Macintosh users to see a simulation of what the graphic would look like with Windows gamma, and vice-versa for Windows users.

  • Tile Document Views. Three options found in the Windows menu, Cascade, Tile Horizontal, and Tile Vertical, are default settings for displaying multiple open document windows simultaneously. Cascade stacks the document windows on top of each other, but staggered enough so that each of the gripper bars is visible. Tile Horizontal fills the screen with one above, but not blocking, the other. Tile Vertical likewise fills the screen with document windows, but from right to left, rather than top to bottom.

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