Paragraph Formatting

Just as you use paragraphs to help organize your thoughts into clear, well-structured, cohesive units when you write a paper or letter, you organize content on web pages into blocks of information with HTML tags (see HTML, XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript 101 for more about tags). The most basic block of information is a simple paragraph, which you identify in HTML with a paragraph tag, like this:

<p>Hello. This is one paragraph on this web page.</p>

A web browser considers everything between the opening <p> and closing </p> tags part of the same paragraph. You can apply many Dreamweaver formatting options—headlines, lists, indentations, and alignment, for example—only to an entire paragraph at a time, as opposed to individual words. In a word processor, you’d call this kind of formatting paragraph formatting; in web design, it’s called block-level formatting. Either way, the idea is the same: The formatting you apply affects an entire paragraph (that is, a block of text, whether that block is just one sentence or several sentences) at a time. (You can apply character-level formatting, on the other hand, to individual words or even letters. Bold and italic formats fall into this category, as described later in this chapter.)


If you create a new document in Dreamweaver and start typing right away, the text you type has no paragraph formatting at all, as indicated by the word None in the Format menu at the left side of the Property inspector (see Figure 3-2

Get Dreamweaver CS5: The Missing Manual now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.