Freeway tutorial

Page Layout

Like all DTP software, you draw out boxes on the page to hold your images and your text. There are two different kinds of containers in Freeway: HTML and Graphic. Think of HTML boxes as the equivalent of InDesign’s text boxes, and the graphic boxes as the rough equivalent of InDesign’s image boxes. Put your text in HTML boxes and your pictures in graphic boxes.

However, you can use graphic boxes for more than just picture holders... they can also be used for ‘graphic text’. Draw out one of these boxes, click into it, and start typing. Select your text and use the controls in the Inspector palette to format it.

What is graphic text? Well, Freeway turns type within graphic boxes into bitmap graphics when you publish your work, so it will always look precisely the way you set it. Graphic text lets you use whatever typeface you like and work with great typographic control, but don’t get carried away with it.

What’s wrong with graphic text? Simple: it isn’t REALLY text, it is just a bitmap graphic that looks like text. Search engines can’t read it, it looks fuzzy when printed, and it is thoroughly inaccessible to visitors with vision problems. Graphic text is useful from a design control point of view, but it is best to use HTML text wherever possible, despite its limitations.

So what are the limitations of HTML text? HTML text in a web page is plain text wrapped with instructions to the web browser telling it what font you’d like it to use. Because the final result is just a request for a visitor’s web browser to try to show some text using a particular typeface, you are relying on that font being available on their computer. There are not very many typefaces that you can rely on being ‘web-safe’ (being on virtually everyone’s Mac or PC), so you have a limited set of choices. Of these, the best are Verdana (a sans serif) and Georgia (a serif), with Trebuchet (another sans) as a fair alternative. Other web-safe fonts are Helvetica, Arial and Times, but these don’t look terribly clean or well-formed when set at body text sizes on screens.