What Are Frames?

Frames divide a web page into sections that each have a different HTML source page and their own set of scroll bars. They can be useful for any site that requires part of the screen to remain static while the remainder of the screen can be scrolled. One example is site navigation where links can be placed in one frame and the scrolling page content is placed in another. There are several disadvantages to using frames including slower download time and problems with linking and printing so be sure to use them only if necessary.

As an example, the Web Boards used for many courses at FGCU use frames. The black navigation bar, Conferences list, and main content frame are the three independent frames, each having their own HTML source page.

[Web Board screen grab]

Frames pages actually consist of several HTML pages and the exact number depends on the number of frames on the page. The main page is called the parent page. This web page contains the instructions for the format and location of the frames, and a link to the initial loading page for each frame, but does not include the actual text or graphics that appear on the page. Each frame then has its own HTML source page that contains the text and graphics for that frame. Therefore, the WebBoard page displayed above actually consists of four pages: the parent and three frame source pages. You will need to keep this structure in mind when you save a frames page as FrontPage will prompt you to save each of these pages.

Create a Frames Page

Create a frames page by following these steps:

  1. Select File|New|Page from the menu bar and click the Frames Pages tab.
    [New Frames Page dialog box]
  2. Preview each of the choices by clicking on an icon once with the mouse and seeing the Preview window. Select the icon of the frames format you would like to use and click OK.
  3. When viewed in Page view, the web page will be divided into frames and each frame will have "Set Initial Page..." and "New Page" buttons. Click New Page if the source page for the frame does not yet exist. The frame will immediately turn white after the button is clicked and you will be able to type and add graphics just like a normal web page. Click Set Initial Page if the source page for the frame has already been created and select the file from the dialog box.
    [Frames page example]
  4. Save the frames pages by selecting Files|Save As from the menu bar. You will be prompted to save the main frame page first followed by each of the frame source pages. The diagram will highlight the page you are saving. Below, the diagram highlights all of the frames in blue, indicating that the main frame page is being saved:
    [Save Frame dialog box]
    In the image below, the source of the top frame is being saved:
    [Save Frame dialog box]

Frame Properties

Right-click on a frame either before or after its content page has been identified and select Frame Properties from the shortcut menu.

[Frame Properties dialog box]    

Assign a name to each frame for linking purposes.

Initial Page
Assign the initial HTML source page.

Frame size
Designate the width and height of the frame in absolute pixels or as a percentage of the screen.

Check "Resizeable in Browser" if the user should be able to click and drag the frame borders to resize them. Make a selection from "Show scroll bars" if scroll bars should be visible in the frame.

Linking in Frames

When creating a link from a frames page, click the pencil button next to the Target frame option on the Create Hyperlink dialog box. Select the proper target for the link from the Common targets box.

[Target Frame dialog box]    

Page Default will load the page in the default frame indicated in parentheses.

Same Frame will load the new page in the same frame.

New Window will open a new browser window.

Parent Window will load the page in the current window.

No Frames Page

Early versions of browsers do not support, so it is necessary to prepare a page for visitors using these browsers. Build the "No Frames" page from the tab at the bottom of the screen. Use this page to link to individual main frame source pages in your site or provide links to download sites for the latest versions of Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.