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Free "Practice" Templates
Sometimes, we all need a little creative inspiration. The tools in Microsoft Expression Web make it simple to design and build a custom web site even if you have limited or no HTML skills. Despite all these features, there’s one basic question that you’ll have to answer on your own. What do you want your site to look like?
When I’m stuck for an idea, I like to look at existing templates and see if any set off a spark in my mind. There are a few templates that come packaged with Expression Web, but they are all fairly similar in appearance. Although these templates are great resources when embarking on your first design projects using the software, it probably won’t take long before you’re wishing for a few more choices.
The number of resources for Expression Web templates is increasing every day. Most of these places charge a fee for each template, and that fee can run anywhere from $15 to $200+, depending on the complexity and uniqueness of the design. However, there are also a few sites that offer free downloads of Expression Web templates.
Expression-Templates.org – The handful of free templates available for download at this site are perfect if you’re just starting to work with Expression Web. Although they’re fairly basic in terms of design, they still provide excellent examples of some of the most common layouts used for web site creation.
Round the Bend Wizards – If you’re looking for a design that’s a little more sophisticated, check out the free evaluation templates at this site. Make sure that you read the terms of service before publishing any site based on these templates. They’re for non-commercial use only, and, even then, you’ll need to give proper credit to them for the original design.
Even if you are looking for a template to use for a commercial site, you can still download these evaluation copies to experiment with in Expression Web. If you do find that you like one well enough to use as your layout, there is an option of purchasing the rights to use the template for commercial use for a relatively modest fee.
TemplateMonster.com – For an even wider selection, take a look at the free sample templates available at Template Monster. Don’t worry about the fact that these templates don’t say “Expression Web" in big bold letters somewhere in their description. As Expression Web no longer relies on proprietary code the way FrontPage did, almost any CSS or HTML template will work just fine.
These templates from Template Monster are for evaluation and educational purposes only. They’re wonderful to practice with and learn from, especially since they contain features with a higher level of complexity. However, you can’t use them as the basis for your published web site without purchase.