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The Fireworks file paradigm

When you create a new document in Fireworks, the new document's filename has the extension .png. You can create a new document by choosing File > New or by choosing File > Open and navigating to a PNG, JPEG, GIF, PSD, or any of several other file formats. Either way, the Fireworks PNG file becomes your source file, or working file. Any edits you perform are made to the PNG file.

When you are finished designing your artwork, you can export it to other file formats for use on the Web or in other applications. In addition, you can save the PNG file in which you've been working.

Working in and saving a Fireworks PNG file has the following advantages:

The source PNG file is always editable, all the time. You can go back and make additional changes even after you've exported your file for use on the Web.
If you apply a Live Effect, for example, you can go back later and remove the effect, modify it, or add new effects.
If you open an existing file of a different format, such as JPEG, and then make changes to it, your original file is protected. The changes are actually made to a Fireworks PNG file, leaving the original file unchanged.
Complex graphics can be sliced into pieces in the PNG file, and then exported as multiple files with different file formats and various optimization settings.

Technically speaking, Macromedia chose PNG (which stands for Portable Network Graphics) as the native file format for Fireworks because the format has both open source and proprietary characteristics. In most applications, the default file format is proprietary, meaning other applications can't open it. PNG, however, is an open source file format. Some graphic applications and browsers can open PNGs too. However, they can only read the graphical portion of a PNG's file information. Fireworks PNG files contain a second "chunk" of data that other applications can't read, which contains proprietary information about things like slicing, interactivity, and any Live Effects that may have been applied.

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