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Working with Macromedia Fireworks MX buttons and navigation bars

Macromedia Fireworks MX is the ideal tool for creating and maintaining navigation bars. Using instance-level properties, you can define a number of characteristics for individual buttons without affecting other buttons. Instance-level properties also enable you to make modifications to a button without breaking the link between the button instance and the original button symbol. This simplifies the web design workflow by saving time and gives you great flexibility when designing navigation.

Instance-level properties eliminate the difficulty you might have experienced if you used previous versions of Fireworks to create navigation bars. Whenever you made any instance different from the others (by defining different text on each button, for example), a message box appeared that asked if you wanted to break the link between the instance and its button symbol or if you wanted to make the change to all instances. While breaking the link between instance and symbol gave you flexibility in the design of your buttons, it made maintenance difficult because no longer could you make a global change using the button symbol.

By completing this tutorial, you'll learn about instance-level and symbol-level properties for Fireworks MX buttons. You will create and modify a navigation bar, export it, and then test it in a web browser. If you have a copy of Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, you'll also explore what happens to a Fireworks navigation bar when opened from within Dreamweaver MX.

Before you begin, preview the file that you will create.

To complete the tutorial, you'll need the following source file:

Download the Windows source file (112K)
Download the Macintosh source file (116K)

When the file decompresses, a folder named nav_buttons is created on your system.

If you have trouble downloading or decompressing the file, see TechNote 13686.

Note: If you plan to perform the optional, last procedure in this tutorial (to examine the end result in Dreamweaver), it's best to copy the nav_buttons folder into a Dreamweaver site folder on your system, to ensure that Fireworks and Dreamweaver integration will function properly. See Dreamweaver Help for information about creating a site folder.

About button symbols and instances
Create a button symbol
Create a navigation bar
Modify the navigation bar
Export the navigation bar
Examine the navigation bar in Dreamweaver
Moving on

Tonya Estes

Tonya Estes writes documentation and tutorials for Fireworks and FreeHand.

6 June 2002

button, navigat, HTML, web page, instance, symbol, tutorial