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4.3 Adding an Email Link

Whenever you want to invite your visitors to email you, an email link is the perfect solution. When someone clicks an email link, her email program launches automatically, and a new message opens with your email address already in the To field. She can then just type her message and send it off.

An email link looks like this: The first part, mailto:, indicates the type of link, while the second part ( specifies the email address.

The Common tab of the Insert bar includes three link-related objects: The Hyperlink for adding text links, the email link for adding links for email addresses, and the Named anchor for adding links within a page.


Email links work only if the person who clicks the link has an email account and an email program that understands the mailto: link. If someone visits your site from a computer at the public library, for example, he might not be able to send email. If this drawback troubles you, remember that you can also collect information using a form (as discussed in Chapter 11), a feedback method that has neither the limitations nor the easy setup of an email link.

You can create an email link much the way you'd create any other Dreamweaver link: by selecting some text or an image and typing the mailto address, as shown above, into the Link field in the Property inspector. To simplify this process, Dreamweaver has a quick method of inserting an email link:

  1. On the Common tab of the Insert bar, click the Email Link icon, which looks like an envelope (see Figure 4-6).

    Alternatively, choose InsertEmail link. In either case, if you've already typed the text (Email me!) on your Web page, select it first. The Email Link dialog box opens (see Figure 4-7).

  2. In the Text field, type the text that you'll want to appear on the Web page.

    You've just indicated the link's purpose, like Email the Webmaster. (If you selected text in the document first, it automatically appears in the Text field.)

    The Mysterious Triple Slashes

    Why do my links start with file:///?

    Links that begin with file:/// (for example: file:///D:/missing manual/book_site/national_ex/subscribe.html) aren't valid links on the Web. Rather, they are temporary addresses that Dreamweaver creates as placeholders for links to be rewritten later. (A file:/// path tells Dreamweaver where to look on your computer for the file.) You'll spot these addresses when you add document-relative links to a page that hasn't been saved, or when working with files that are outside of your site's local root folder.

    Suppose you're working on a Web page that will contain your company's legal mumbo-jumbo, but you haven't yet saved it. After adding a document-relative link that links to your home page, you notice that the path displayed in the Property inspector's Link field begins with file:///. Since your legal page hasn't yet been saved and therefore doesn't yet have a folder location, Dreamweaver can't create a link telling a browser how to get from it to the home page.

    So Dreamweaver creates a temporary link, which helps it keep track of what page to link to. Once you save the page somewhere in the site, Dreamweaver rewrites the link into a proper document-relative format and the file:/// disappears.

    Likewise, when you work with files that are outside of the local root folder, Dreamweaver can't write a proper link. (Any folder outside of the local root folder isn't part of the Web site; and there's no way to write a correct link from nowhere to somewhere.) So, if you save a page outside of the local root folder, Dreamweaver writes all document- relative links on that page as file paths beginning with file:///. To avoid this invalid-link problem, always save your Web pages inside of the local root folder or a folder inside of the local root folder. To learn more about root folders and Web sites, see Chapter 14.

    When you link to a page梠r add an image (Chapter 5)梩hat's stored outside of the local root folder, Dreamweaver has the same problem. However, in this instance, Dreamweaver gives you the option of copying the out-of-bounds file to a location of your choosing within the root folder.

  3. Type an email address into the E-Mail field.

    This is the address that appears in your visitors' email program when they click the link. (You don't have to type mailto:桪reamweaver adds it automatically.)

  4. Click OK.

    Dreamweaver adds the text to the page, complete with a mailto link.

The Email Link dialog box lets you specify the text that appears on the Web page and the email address for a mailto link. You can also select some text you've already added to the document and click the Email Link icon on the Objects panel. The text you selected is copied into the Text field in this dialog box.

Adding Objects to the Favorites Tab

The Favorites tab on the Insert bar is a marvelous new addition to Dreamweaver MX 2004. It lets you collect all of your most-used objects into a single place, without any interference from HTML tags and objects you never use. Maybe you use the Email Link object on the Insert bar all of the time, but never touch the Named Anchor object.

To add objects to the Favorites tab, right-click (Control- Click) anywhere on the Insert bar. From the shortcut menu, choose Customize Favorites to open the Customize Favorite Objects window. All of the objects available in all of the Insert bar categories appear in the left-hand list. Select an object and click the >> button to add it to your Favorites. (You can view the objects for just one category by selecting it from the Available Objects menu.) Repeat with other objects, if you like.


To rearrange toolbar buttons, click one and then click the up or down arrow to move it left or right on the toolbar. (Buttons at the top of the list appear on the left side of the Insert bar.) You can even use the Add Separator button to insert a thin gray line between buttons on the Insert bar梩o separate one group of similar objects (graphic-related objects, say) from another (such as form objects), for example. Unfortunately, you can't group favorite objects into submenus. Each item you add is a single button on the Insert bar.

To delete a button or separator from the list, select it and click the little Trash icon. Click OK to close the window and create your new list of Favorite objects, which are now available under the Favorites tab of the Insert bar.

After you've created your Favorites tab, you can always add more objects (or delete ones you no longer need) by right-clicking (Control-clicking) the Insert bar and choosing Customize Favorites from the shortcut menu.

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