Small Business

The site designer tends to bring images in at full-page width and you may need to readjust the size, but it can cope with quite large images, so you may not need to resize them in a graphics editor before uploading. There's a gallery for documents, too, to upload prewritten text for a website and one for templates, where you can save pages to reuse in other parts of your site, or in other sites.

Styles are mainly based on a choice of header: there are 17 to choose from with a variety of heights and different positioning and cropping of chosen images. The header text, which comprises a site title and a short slogan, can be freely edited but, by default, everything comes through in shades of green.

Fortunately, the colour themes menu, further along in the Site Designer ribbon, can easily correct this. There's a choice of 35 different colour schemes, from the fresh and calming Forest to the light and bouncy Sassy. Even with all this choice, there's a preponderance of reds and oranges and no way to change individual colours within the theme.

Finally, at the Site Designer level, you can choose from any of seven fonts, including old favourites like Times, Tahoma and Arial, plus a couple of newer styles, like Verdana and Trebuchet. These are site-wide changes, with only the headers and footers exempt from your selection.

The layout of frames within a page are fixed. Although you can choose from several different layout sets, you can't adjust frame widths freely or introduce extra frames.

The Page Editor tab provides more exacting control and here you can adjust font, font effect, size and colour on any selected text within a page. There are also reasonable paragraph controls, to justify text, apply indents and create bulleted lists. Slightly oddly, as it seems more like a Site Designer task, the Page Editor is also where you control page hierarchy, adjusting how pages relate to each other.

Continuing the ‘select from a list' methodology of the rest of the site design, you can insert what Microsoft calls ‘modules', covering things like maps and directions, an event calendar, a slide show and even a weather forecast. These are useful pieces of page furniture which can liven up a site and make it more attractive. The Web design screen video runs through the design of a simple Web site using these tools.


This video shows how to create a basic website using the Office Live design tools


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