5 Replies Latest reply on Sep 19, 2006 10:53 AM by TCarp

    Moving from PPT to FW

    TCarp Level 1
      I've decided to move from using PowerPoint to build my vector graphics to FW. I fact, I've started experimenting with setting up presentations to be done in html (DW) instead of PPT to take advantage of html's capabilities. I have used FW for 6 months or so to do simple gifs for my web sites, mostly menu graphics, but what I have been doing with PPT includes more than I've worked with so far.

      I'm certain this thread is going to move through a number of basic topics on working with FW, but I'll start with connectors and lines, and with text boxes.

      First text boxes: 1) coloring the background and 2) stretching without distorting.

      1) In ppt you can color a text box background. Is the only way to produce a similar effect in FW to put a background layer behind the text box?

      2) I sometimes want to resize a text box but if I put the exact dimension in the width or height area in the properties it will distort the text. The only way I've found to increase the size of the text box is to grab and drag the box handles which often isn't very exact. Can text box sizes be explicitly specified after text is entered without distorting text?

      Connectors: In ppt connectors can be "connected" to objects like rectangles and circles. I see that FW has a connector autoshape but the I found the help text to be a little lacking on how to manipulate them. Can the connectors in FW be used in a similar fashion to ppt where they are connected to an object and then will move when the object moves?

      Lines: At this link is a relatively simple drawing. If you look closely you will see that the lines are a bit jagged. If I were to draw a line in ppt and then display it full screen it would look smooth. Now, this may have to do with the fact that the FW file was saved as a jpg before being moved to the site so my learning may need to be done in converting png files to other formats.

      http://www.fourcreeks.org/may-creek-basin/index.htm

      And as long as the link is here I have a similar issue with the edges of the lettering in the words. The edges are not smooth. Is that because the font doesn't scale well (the font size in the image on the site is 36pt or is there something else I'm doing or not doing that is producing the results.

      I know this is pretty basic. Trust that I have done quite a bit of homework trying to figure all this out, but nothing I've found so far is a straight forward tutorial on vector graphic quality from FW to the web.

      Thanks

      Tom

        • 1. Re: Moving from PPT to FW
          abeall Level 3
          Fireworks and PowerPoint are very different applications with different purposes. From what you descrive, it almost sounds like you want a program like OmniGraph. Fireworks is an excellent tool for creating web graphics and layouts, but it's not a graph/draft application.

          1) No, you can't set background color of text.

          2) For some reason there's no way in the user interface the set the size of a textbox numerically. However, FW does support this internally, and you can take advantage of it via the scripting language. That's one of the great things about FW, it's very extendable. Create a text file in Fireworks/Configuration/Commands/ and call it "Resize Text.jsf", and put this in it:
          var w = prompt('Enter a text width:');
          if(w)fw.selection[0].rawWidth = w;

          Now you can numerically resize a selected textbox via Commands > Resize Text in FW.

          Connectors:
          Since FW is not a graphing/drafting application, the connector autoshape is very primitive. I've personally never used it. As far as I know, there's no way to actually 'connect' it to an object. However, AutoShapes are created much in the same way that command up there was created, and I imagine there might be a way for someone to create a connecting connector autoshape, which is actually a very interesting idea. I'll write that down.

          Lines;
          Looks like your stroke style is a hard stroke. Try a softer(but not too soft) style, such as Basic > Soft Line found in the dropdown menu to the right of the stroke color selector in the Properties panel with a stroke/strokes selected.

          Text:
          Try some of the other anti-aliasing options found in the Properties panel. Text in FW is currently not rendered very smooth, though.

          HTH
          • 2. Re: Moving from PPT to FW
            Level 7
            For the types of things you are describing, another suitable app might
            be Smartdraw (www.smartdraw.com)

            --
            Jim Babbage - .:Community MX:. & .:Adobe Community Expert:.
            Extending Knowledge, Daily
            http://www.communityMX.com/
            CommunityMX - Free Resources:
            http://www.communitymx.com/free.cfm
            ---
            .:Adobe Community Expert for Fireworks:.
            news://forums.macromedia.com/macromedia.fireworks
            news://forums.macromedia.com/macromedia.dreamweaver

            TCarp wrote:
            > I've decided to move from using PowerPoint to build my vector graphics to FW.
            > I fact, I've started experimenting with setting up presentations to be done in
            > html (DW) instead of PPT to take advantage of html's capabilities. I have used
            > FW for 6 months or so to do simple gifs for my web sites, mostly menu graphics,
            > but what I have been doing with PPT includes more than I've worked with so far.
            >
            > I'm certain this thread is going to move through a number of basic topics on
            > working with FW, but I'll start with connectors and lines, and with text boxes.
            >
            > First text boxes: 1) coloring the background and 2) stretching without
            > distorting.
            >
            > 1) In ppt you can color a text box background. Is the only way to produce a
            > similar effect in FW to put a background layer behind the text box?
            >
            > 2) I sometimes want to resize a text box but if I put the exact dimension in
            > the width or height area in the properties it will distort the text. The only
            > way I've found to increase the size of the text box is to grab and drag the box
            > handles which often isn't very exact. Can text box sizes be explicitly
            > specified after text is entered without distorting text?
            >
            > Connectors: In ppt connectors can be "connected" to objects like rectangles
            > and circles. I see that FW has a connector autoshape but the I found the help
            > text to be a little lacking on how to manipulate them. Can the connectors in
            > FW be used in a similar fashion to ppt where they are connected to an object
            > and then will move when the object moves?
            >
            > Lines: At this link is a relatively simple drawing. If you look closely you
            > will see that the lines are a bit jagged. If I were to draw a line in ppt and
            > then display it full screen it would look smooth. Now, this may have to do
            > with the fact that the FW file was saved as a jpg before being moved to the
            > site so my learning may need to be done in converting png files to other
            > formats.
            >
            > http://www.fourcreeks.org/may-creek-basin/index.htm
            >
            > And as long as the link is here I have a similar issue with the edges of the
            > lettering in the words. The edges are not smooth. Is that because the font
            > doesn't scale well (the font size in the image on the site is 36pt or is there
            > something else I'm doing or not doing that is producing the results.
            >
            > I know this is pretty basic. Trust that I have done quite a bit of homework
            > trying to figure all this out, but nothing I've found so far is a straight
            > forward tutorial on vector graphic quality from FW to the web.
            >
            > Thanks
            >
            > Tom
            • 3. Re: Moving from PPT to FW
              TCarp Level 1
              Thanks for such a thorough answer (and also thanks to you Jim for the reference).

              It's probably going to be true that I don't need a drawing package for the limited use I'd give it. It was just so convenient in ppt when you want to draw some sort of chart where connections were made and held when the end object was moved. Flow charts with any complexity would be a real pain without the capabilities to link to the end objects and them move them around to get things organized.

              I'll see if theres a process that can be used (perhaps alignment) in FW when needed. I guess I also need to study what FW connectors are for. I mean they have 5 points along the line and while I was fooling around a little with them a couple seemed to "connect with each other" (not sure why).

              If anyone has mastered FW connectors and has a tutorial.....

              Thanks again

              Tom
              • 4. Re: Moving from PPT to FW
                Level 7
                TCarp wrote:
                > I'll see if theres a process that can be used (perhaps alignment) in FW when
                > needed. I guess I also need to study what FW connectors are for. I mean they
                > have 5 points along the line and while I was fooling around a little with them
                > a couple seemed to "connect with each other" (not sure why).
                >
                > If anyone has mastered FW connectors and has a tutorial.....

                FW connectors were a nice idea that was halfway implemented as they
                cannot actually "connect" to any shape and update in real time thus
                making the feature basically useless. If you want, you can send an
                enhancement request to Adobe asking for making real connector lines in
                Fireworks:

                http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform

                You mentioned using Dreamweaver as well as Fireworks but I didn't see a
                mention of what version or if you have the entire Studio. If you have
                the Studio and it is the MX or MX 2004 version, then it came with
                FreeHand (unfortunately it was removed from Studio 8). FreeHand has
                multi page capabilities (something missing from Fireworks) and *real*
                connector lines that update as you move the shapes they are connected
                to. It also has a much better implementation of styles and much stronger
                text handling. It would fit the bill nicely for you too.

                HTH!

                --
                Stéphane Bergeron
                reach : connect : communicate
                http://www.webfocusdesign.com
                blog : tutorials : articles : gallery
                http://www.pixelyzed.com
                • 5. Re: Moving from PPT to FW
                  TCarp Level 1
                  Thanks for the insight into connectors. I still would like a tutorial from someone that has used them fully even if they abandoned them. Like I mentioned before, there are 5 edit points on the lines so they are intended to do something.

                  It's too bad that they weren't fully implemented. There's nothing like real connectors when you need them.

                  I have CS2 and Studio 8 so have the full suite of both Adobe and Macromedia creative software. Sounds like I missed out.

                  I will send an improvement suggestion. At least Adobe should hear that someone has used the capability before.

                  Tom