Getting Started with Microsoft Expression Web 2

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Microsoft Expression Web 2 is a great tool for web development. This article will explain briefly how to do some basic things in Expression Web 2, giving links to more detailed treatments of the subject.

Create a Website

The first thing to do even before you start creating HTML pages in Expression web is to create a website. Choose File->New->Website, select ‘General’ and ‘Empty web site’, name your website and click OK.

Expression Web will create a blank folder which is the root folder for your website, where you can save all files and folders belonging to your website.

Create a Webpage

Now that we have a website with its root folder created, it’s time to create the individual web pages. Choose File->New-> Page and select the type of page you want to create and click OK. Also there are shortcuts to create common file types, like HTML in the ‘File->New’ menu itself. A new webpage is created with a default name. To change the default file name, save the file from the File Menu or Ctrl+S and give it a name you want.

When a page is open in Expression Web you have three different modes to view and edit it. These are Design view, Code View and Split view (where the screen is split between the design view and the code view). You can set any of these view form the View->Page menu.

The Page properties can be accessed from the File->Properties and it’s a good place to set many of the page properties like Page Title, basic formatting, and so on.

Design Page Layout

You can use layers to create page layout. Layers can be loosely explained as div tags with absolute positioning. You can insert text, graphics, and other objects into a layer. Layers are a good way to design your page layout as they provide precise layout control. To add a layer to your webpage, Choose Insert->HTML->Layer or click on the Layer icon in the toolbar. A layer will automatically appear which you can resize and reposition the way you want.

You can also insert other objects like pictures, media objects like flash, Silverlight or WMP videos, symbols, hyperlinks, and other items from the Insert menu.

Formatting & Styling

Most of the common formatting functions can be accessed from the Expression Web toolbar itself. You can also attach a style sheet to your page instead of formatting each element manually.

You can attach a style sheet from the Apply Styles or the Manage Styles task panes by clicking on “Attach Style Sheet”. This way it allows you to attach an existing style sheet (a .css file) to the page. Alternatively, you can create a new style by clicking on New Style.

To apply a style to an element like a paragraph or any image select the text or the image, and click on the required style in the Apply Style task pane.

Previewing Your Webpage

You can preview what you have done so far by Choosing File->Preview in Browser and then selecting the particular browser you want to view your webpage in.