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Applying Character Formats

Character formatting is styling that you can apply to words and individual characters, rather than to blocks such as paragraphs. This formatting includes changing the font, font size, and font color.

Beginning with Dreamweaver MX 2004, and continuing through Dreamweaver 8 to Dreamweaver CS3, the program dispensed with the old method of applying these sorts of character formatting (which was to use the HTML <font> tag), in favor of using CSS styles. This change happened mostly behind the scenes in Code view, so if you have been using Dreamweaver for quite some time, you may not have even noticed the change.

The reason for this change is important. Pages styled with CSS are much more flexible than pages that use HTML <font> tags, and they can be maintained more easily. For example, when a site is redesigned, every page that uses <font> tags must be individually changed to match the new design. If you have hundreds or thousands of pages in your site, that's a lot of work. Sites that use CSS to style text only need to change the stylesheet document, and the changes automatically ripple through the whole site. You'll learn more about using CSS to style text in Chapter 5.

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