The menu bar (see Figure 3.44) is chock full of commands that enable you to do everything from opening a file to applying sophisticated effects to your images. Because an encyclopedia could be written on just this topic alone, the following sections simply summarize the important commands in each menu.
Figure 3.44 The menu bar is home to dozens of robust commands.
The File menu in Fireworks is similar to that of just about every other program. As the name suggests, commands in this menu affect whole files or documents. Some special File menu commands include the following:
- Reconstitute Table—Used to integrate Fireworks files with web pages in Dreamweaver by allowing you to easily update the table structure used in the HTML pages.
- Batch Process—Enables you to automate a series of customizable commands, such as image resizing, on a large group of files, all with the click of a couple buttons.
The Edit menu contains a few specialized commands for inserting Fireworks objects. Some unique Fireworks commands include the following:
- Insert Fireworks Objects—Enables you to insert objects such as a New Button, Symbol, Hotspot, Slice, Layer, or Frame.
- Clipboard Variations—Enables you to Copy HTML Code, Paste Inside, Paste As Mask, and Paste Attributes.
- Preferences—Enables you to customize your workspace. Editing Preferences are discussed later in this chapter.
The View menu is home to commands that control how you look at your workspace. In addition to the typical magnification, ruler, and guides commands is the Windows/Macintosh Gamma command. Computers that run Windows and Macintosh operating systems use different gamma settings, which typically results in Windows screens being darker than their Mac counterparts. Big whoop, you say. Well, what can happen is that the graphic that looks fine on your Windows monitor appears slightly washed out on the Macintosh monitor. Likewise, the graphic that works on a Macintosh monitor is darker on the Windows screen. Use the Windows/Macintosh Gamma command to toggle between the two gamma settings and see whether there is a difference on your graphics.
The Select menu is split into five categories:
- Vector path and selection tools—Used to select and edit vector points and paths.
- Pixel selection tools—Used to modify pixels of similar colors, feather selections, or invert selections.
- Pixel region selection tools—Used to expand, contract, and smooth selected regions of pixels.
- Convert Marquee to Path command—Transforms the existing shape of the Marquee into a path that can be edited and reshaped like any other Fireworks object.
- Save Bitmap Selection tools—Used to save and restore single bitmap selections.
The Modify menu is the most frequently used menu in Fireworks. This menu contains commands that enable you to alter canvas and object attributes, stacking order, and grouping. Other commands of interest include the following:
- Pop-Up Menu—Launches a wizard that enables you to create pop-up menus.
- Masks—Provides several masking effects in a submenu.
- Combine Paths—Gives you the Join, Split, Union, Intersect, Punch, and Crop commands that allow you to play with ways to combine separate shapes.
The Text menu provides common commands for modifying font, style, paragraph settings, alignment, and even spelling. Some unique commands include
Attach to Path—Allows you to attach text to a vector path (see Figure 3.45).
Convert to Paths—Enables you to change text to vector objects so you can modify text as a graphic object.
Figure 3.45 Use the Attach to Path command (Text, Attach to Path) to make text follow the contour of a vector path.
The Commands menu is where you can really see the flexibility of Fireworks. Within the Commands menu are several ready-made commands, or macros, that you can use to make your life simpler. You can also create your own commands if you have the programming know-how.
Some interesting commands included in Fireworks are
- Convert to Grayscale—Found in the Creative submenu, this is similar to the popular command found in Photoshop.
- Add Picture Frame—Found in the Creative submenu, this command adds a textured frame around the canvas.
- Resize Selected Objects—Provides a pop-up window that gives you a graphical interface with which to resize an object (see Figure 3.46). Nothing really special about this, except it looks cool.
- Twist and Fade—Also found in the Creative submenu, this third-party command enables you to create a vortex effect with any vector or bitmap graphic (see Figure 3.47). Be careful, though. It’s addictive and resource intensive and could lock up the program if you call for too many steps.
Figure 3.46 The Resize Selected Objects command provides a visually slick way of resizing objects.
Figure 3.47 The Twist and Fade command adds some more special effects to your graphics arsenal.
The Filters menu contains all the bitmap filters. Included are filters that handle color adjustment, blurring, levels, curves, the sharpness of a mask, the amount of noise applied to an image, and so on. After it is applied to an image, a filter effect cannot be removed unless you use the Undo command (Edit, Undo Filter Image).
The Window menu provides a list of all the panels and toolbars available in Fireworks. Think of it as your interface repository—just click on any of the selections in this menu and the appropriate panel or pop-up is displayed.
Learn to appreciate the guidance and wisdom found within the Help menu. Here you can find the entire Fireworks 8 manual in HTML format. You can search for answers to those aching questions about how to draw those pesky Bezier curves with the Pen tool.
You can also access online support from the Fireworks Help Center, as well as exchange ideas on the Macromedia Online Forums. Visiting the forums becomes a daily part of your life if you’re interested in expanding your Fireworks capabilities.