Looking for Layout mode?

We’ve been hearing that a lot of people have been looking for the Layout mode documentation in Dreamweaver CS4. As of Dreamweaver CS4, Layout mode is no longer in the product.
Here’s why (according to our magnificent web guru, Murray Summers):
1. Perhaps most importantly, the old Layout mode in Dreamweaver CS3 and earlier sits between you and *real* HTML tables,and fools you into believing that concepts like “layout cell” and “autostretch” really mean something. They do not. As long as you use Layout Mode, you’ll never learn one of the most important things for new web developers – how to build solid and reliable tables.
2. Actually, #1 wouldn’t be *so* bad, except that the code that is written by Layout Mode is really poor code. For example, a layout table contains MANY empty rows of cells. This can contribute to a table’s instability. In addition, if your initial positioning of the table’s cells is a bit complex, Layout Mode will throw in col- and rowspans aplenty as it merges and splits cells willy-nillly to achieve the pixel-perfect layout you have specified. Again, this is an extremely poor method for building stable tables, because it allows changes in one tiny cell’s shape (i.e, dimensions) to ripple through the rest of the table, usually with unexpected and sometimes disastrous consequences. This is one of the primary reasons for the final result’s fragility – read this –
3. The UI for Layout Mode is beyond confusing – many options that you might want to use are inaccessible, e.g., inserting another table, or layer onto the page.
To make good tables, keep it simple. Put a table on the page, and begin to load your content. If you would want a different table layout, instead of merging or splitting cells, consider stacking tables or nesting simple tables instead, respectively.
Thanks Murray!
At the time of the CS4 release, Layout mode was only mentioned on the deprecated features list at the bottom of the What’s New page:
But now we’ve also put a note in the tables documentation indicating that we’ve removed the feature:
But since this is buried deep in the many pages of Dreamweaver Help, we encourage you to blog about this feature going bye-bye if you post regularly about this sort of thing.
Jon Michael Varese
Lead Writer, Dreamweaver

Get Started

Free TrialInspired by what you've read? Kick off your next project with Dreamweaver. It's part of Creative Cloud. Download a trial for free!
  • I for one am very disappointed that layout mode is missing in CS4 and will continue to use CS3 just for that reason. I used layout mode as a visual aid only… I knew that blue was my cells and green was my tables. I also loved the fact that I could click on a cell (or table) in the design window and it would highlight it in my code window… it made life so much easier… Thanks Adobe for making Dreamweaver “less” useful. It looks like I’m be stuck at CS3 for a while now…

  • FORMER Dreamweaver User says:

    If the previous table layout system created “poor” code — then it’s YOUR job to make it write better code. It is NOT your job to “teach” users of your product what you believe are design virtues. Rather, your job is to make life as easy as possible for those who purchase your products. This is yet another example of Adobe on another planet. Time to go back to Microsoft.

  • Easy, I am not longer interested in any Adobe Updates, I will use Dreamweaver CS3. Also, who told Adobe that I want to learn how build solid and reliable tables? Ain’t give a damn, I didn’t pay more than $500 for Adobe to tell me what should I learn or not, and yes. I’m quite insulted.

  • This is very annoying and means I will have to keep both the old version of Dreamweaver and the New on my computer. It is well known that using layout mode and layout tables & cells creates stable emails to run though most of the systems out there for batch emailing.
    They are also faster and a lot easyer to use when you have to turn out 30 versions of one email in the space of two hours in a busy company.
    Please fix this you have slowed my work flow down with this move I thought the idea was to speed us up.

  • Well, now I understand why I can’t find the Layout Mode. I was using Dreamweaver 4 before, and purchased CS4 when I got a new laptop. So now I am out $350 for a program which in terms of ease of use is now ten times harder. I’m an artist, not a code writer, Spock, and what made this perfect for my little brain was the ease of use. I am deactivating the Key Code and sending this thing back. I guess you folks are in your own little world there at Adobe.

  • Rolando E. Cruz says:

    It is a real shame the DW CS4 development team decided to remove Table Layout Mode feature rather than fixing the “poor code” it would generate. The blame is squarely on the DW Development Team which seems to be too lazy to fix the problem they claim is the reason for removing such a great feature.
    Layout Mode is VERY important to us coders who do not want to waste time trying to figure out cell positioning via trial and error methods.
    Quite literally, I will not spend my hard earned dollars in an upgrade if the new version does not have a very useful and important feature I use when developing my pages.
    I will continue to use DW CS3 for now but will start looking for an alternative product as a possible replacement for DW.
    Adobe you do not yet realize what you’ve done…

  • Now I feel really lucky, I was about to spend hundreds on CS4, but luckily, I tried it first.
    Layout mode was a “novice” solution, I knew it wasn’t perfect nor reliable, but it helped me A LOT, therefore, I’ll stick with CS3 until you guys fix it, I’m sure you will considering the ammount of designers dissapointed at this.

  • I agree with everyone else. If I need to hand code tables because dreamweaver writes poor code why wouldn’t I just save myself the money and use notepad? I feel stupid for buying your product just to have you tell me it writes “UNRELIABLE” code and that I’m doing it wrong by using it’s features because I’d be better off just hand coding the tables because dreamweaver is “UNRELIABLE”. Come one peoples…

  • That, well that really has frustrated me, Fact is I HAVE just spent quite a bit of money on CS4 and as the layout mode has been expanded upon and improved in previous versions I obviously stupidly assumed that it would be in CS4. My view is that it is a persons problem if the result is poor through Layout mode, I personally use a mix of html editing and extended table mode to make my tables drawn roughly in Layout mode work correctly, Now I am gonna have to use CS3 when I was really quite enjoying the other improvements throughout CS4.
    and don’t get me started on Director!

  • Yeah, there are tutorials explaining how to make a simple website with layout mode. This was quick, simple and effective way. I agree with people pissed of because they payed for program which is less user friendly than the old version.

  • As a tutor of Dreamweaver since version 2, I don’t understand the logic behind removing Layout Tables. Many graphic designers who are moving to web work really appreciate the ease of drawing a layout table … very similar to drawing boxes in Illustrator. They can put the cells exactly where they want them … and they hate regular tables. They are not coders, don’t want to be coders – just want to put into their web pages the designs they have been used to creating in Illustrator and InDesign. Bad move Adobe -life is too short to worry about setting a table in code!

  • At college I have been taught using layout tables with CS3
    I bought the CS4 student version I am very disappointed they have removed this feature.

  • I cannot believe it. The death of Adobe is removing the layout mode. I didn’t care about the unreliable row spans and anything else. I had a system to work around that. I’m building beautiful sites with cs3 and saved up the money to do the upgrade…boy oh boy, am I glad I didn’t.
    This is a waste of time. Fire those guys who are lazy and don’t want to work to fix the poor code issue (I LIKE IT – The rowspans are great because I use dw long enough to know how to compensate). If not, ADOBE sales will go down.
    I’m not wishing bad for you guys, I really hope you fix this. C’mon pls.

  • I am an Illustrator/Designer/Photographer and it is so disappointing to know that I am no longer able to use the table layout mode in the new version of Dreamweaver. For people like me that mainly work visually, it used to be a very helpful tool and now I guess I’m gonna have to spent my time learning how to hand code all this stuff which will take away from my main focus.
    Would be great if the development team at Adobe could just fix the coding issue and bring back the feature as an update or an extension.

  • I can see many people mad here. Amazing. All I got to say is that DW is for professionals. if you want to stay behind that’s up to you. I think that the move Adobe did was necessary, since many people out there just won’t learn that bad code is “BAD CODE”. Just imagine what kind of company would like to hire somebody that can’t do websites with good code. Don’t be lazy. Learn. If adobe would have kept the feature you would still be using bad code, just because it is easier than learning good code.

  • Thanks for not saying anything on the box. I feel Adobe owes me a refund. i can’t use this program now.

  • Why wine?
    I feel that in the past Dreamweaver has been the essential “swiss-knife” of the web design industry. Customers paid the extra big bucks because it was the product that had every tool the world had to offer (and those tools were easy to use).
    To remove this tool for the reasons that are presented here is akin to removing the “cork-screw” from the swiss-knife and telling us this tool only led to wine being spilling all over the carpet.
    We were getting too drunk and weren’t coloring inside the lines; (er.. we were coding outside the tables).
    Perhaps CS4 was a bottle of wine opened before it’s time.
    Anyone for breaking open a bottle of CS3?

  • Jon Varese says:

    Hello out there,
    I’m sorry to see so much disgruntlement over the deprecation of this feature, but unfortunately this one is permanently out of Dreamweaver. It was not really a matter of “fixing” this to work better, but rather a decision, long debated by the Dreamweaver team, to guide users toward better practices today. Sincere apologies to everyone for whom this is an inconvenience, and we do appreciate your feedback.
    For those who are interested, there were a few postings in the past about this topic, including a post on Scott Fegette’s blog (product manager for Dreamweaver), where many comments, both positive and negative, came to be.
    Original notification of deprecated features:

    Scott Fegette’s blog:
    Again, apologies for the inconvenience.
    Jon Michael Varese
    Lead Writer, Dreamweaver

  • Web Design Beginner says:

    Web standards are moving toward CSS; therefore, browser will not longer support deprecated tags in the near future. That means that if designers were to continue using the layout mode, their tables will collapse or not even show when browsers stop supporting deprecated tags. Use of tables for page layout uses HTML for presentation, and it would be very difficult to update pages this way. Current standards are moving toward using CSS entirely for layout as well as text. I agree that Adobe should inform CS3 Dreamweaver users ahead of time and let them make the decision whether they wanted to upgrade or not. In my case, I am happy with Dreamweaver CS4. I am learning CSS for page layout.

  • Dreamweaver Student says:

    I understand the frustration when software developers take something out of the product that you really like.
    In fact, I have not used Dreamweaver very much until now, because I found it difficult to use, but am learning to use it because my old software was not to be found and very out of date anyway. So I am taking a class.
    That being said, I have to agree that it was best to take out the Layout mode because having poor code is a bad way to communicate and is not professional. In fact my class and book are for CS3 and I could only buy CS4, so I read about the Layout tool, but do not have access to it at home.
    I see some analogies, like the cork screw argument, above. I must disagree. I think the complaint about taking out the Layout mode is like complaining that your design software won’t allow you to design a horse-drawn wagon for use on the freeway when you should be designing a car, instead.
    There are many, very cheap tools available for creating sites without using code or tables. If you aren’t a professional Web developer, get some help from a site or software that is designed for non-pros. And if you are a pro and were just using it for quickie stuff, I understand, it’s a bit inconvenient, but really – its not that big a deal for you.

  • I just can’t believe it! I’m so frustrated with Dreamweaver CS4. I’ve been trying to build a simple table for hours and I’m totally stuck. It looks horrible! I don’t know how to make it look better. I guess I’ll need to switch to different HTML editors until they fix this problem.
    Dreamweaver CS4 looks so clumsy to me now. Adobe has to bring our Layout View back!

  • I have been using Dreamweaver for years and years and I am very disappointed to see this layout mode feature go as it was the key element to my design routines.
    I agree with most of the people here who are voicing their opinion about bringing the feature back. If its generating a bad code, it is your job to make cleaner code – after all that’s why most of us designers invest in dreamweaver product. Taking away such a key feature is going to hurt this product and disappoint many users who have been accustomed to using the feature on regular basis.
    I am now downgrading to CS3 just so I can finish my projects.

  • Chris Mbuya says:

    It’s a shame the layout mode is no more. At first i thought the software was faulty, i had to google to find out what the hell is wrong. Anyway,i guess i’ll just stick with the old school.

  • I think it’s fantastic that Adobe have dropped some of the crap from DW CS4 and are trying to force people to write good code instead. Layout mode was a stupid idea in the first place and just encouraged people to build websites without knowing HTML and CSS.
    I just really want to know why Layout Table and Layout Cell are still present on the Insert menu in CS4 if they cannot be used?

  • My cell phone is ringing…
    My email inbox is full…
    My mailbox has been forgotten…
    My parking tickets are all unpaid…
    My taxes due…
    My employees moaning…
    My lunch break pushed back…
    My business needs some form of web presence to compete in this world, just about anything will do…
    Someone says I have to write better code…

  • Did I miss something? I thought that Dreamweaver was directed towards both the coder and the non-coder. For the non-coder, the program generated the code for him. So, is it now directed only towards people that know how to code? Well, congratulations, you just narrowed down your market to half.

  • Well, that’s annoying.
    If I wanted to code, then I wouldn’t be buying Dreamweaver, would I?
    Brilliant -_-