Home / Articles / Adobe Dreamweaver / Creating an Attractive, Useful Form in Dreamweaver CS4

Creating an Attractive, Useful Form in Dreamweaver CS4

  • Date: Apr 14, 2009.

Article Description

If you need to collect input from your website's visitors, David Karlins has some ideas to share on how you can do that without having to hire a staff of programmers and database managers. In just a few steps, you can post forms for visitors to send you feedback, join your organization, or whatever.

Enabling Visitors to Submit an Input Form

As I alluded to in the rant introducing this article, the frustrating thing about creating forms for most designers is that those forms have to get activated somehow, so that the information entered into the form gets transmitted—somehow, to somebody, somewhere! Preferably in a useful format.

The only way that can work is if the data is sent to a web server that has a script that will interpret the form data and pass it along to an appropriate destination. In a large-scale website maintained by an army of IT and database programmers, that destination is a database connected to a whole set of calculations and programs. That's fine for Amazon.com, whose army of server and database programmers make sure that, when you purchase a book, your credit card gets charged and the book is deducted from inventory. But for the vast majority of folks designing websites without the resources to set up that kind of back-end programming, there are two basic options:

  • Find a pre-made script at your web host provider. Most web hosting services provide these scripts, and I'll show you how to find them and connect them to your form.
  • If your web hosting service really doesn't have any email-form handler scripts, you can use a script that I'll provide. This script launches the visitor's default email client (Apple Mail, Outlook, and so on), automatically embeds the form data in an email message, and places your email address in the "To:" field in the message.

To enable visitors to submit their data, follow these steps:

  1. At the bottom of your form (but inside the red lines that mark the parameters of the form!), insert a button from the Forms pop-up in the Insert panel. The by-now-familiar Input Tag Accessibility Attributes dialog box appears. Enter Submit in the ID field, but leave the Label field blank—there's no need for a label, since the purpose of the Submit button will be self-evident. Leave the rest of the parameters in the dialog box at their default settings and click OK. A Submit button appears at the bottom of your form.
  2. Select the entire form by clicking the red rectangle that encloses it. With the form selected, the Properties inspector displays form attributes, as shown in Figure 8.
    Figure 8

    Figure 8 A selected form with a Submit button.

  3. To make the form you designed actually send the input data anywhere, you need to enter a URL in the Action field in the Properties inspector. The URL leads to a script at your web host server that will manage the form. To find this URL, search your web host provider's support site for "add email functionality" or "manage email forms." For example, at Yahoo!'s small business hosting service, the URL is found by clicking the Email Forms link in the Create & Update tab of the Web Hosting Control Panel that you can access after you log in at Yahoo! (see Figure 9).
  4. When you've found out how your hosting service sets up this capability, copy only the URL—not the entire string of code in which the URL might be included. (Dreamweaver CS4 will handle the code; all you need is the URL.) Paste the URL into the Action field in the Properties inspector for your form (see Figure 10).
    Figure 9

    Figure 9 Selecting the URL for a server script to manage input form data.

    Figure 10

    Figure 10 Pasting the URL for a server script to manage input form data.

    Alternate step 4: If you can't find a script at your web hosting provider's site to manage form data, enter the following code into the Action field in the Properties inspector for your form:

     Replace 01@01.01 with your email address. For example, here's the code for my form:

  5.  5. You are now ready to upload and test your form. Upload the page with the form to your website, and view it in a browser window. You can't test the form in Dreamweaver; you need to do this in a browser window.
  6. Test your form's validation features by clicking the Submit button without entering required data, or by entering an email address that isn't in proper email address format (see Figure 11).
    Figure 11

    Figure 11 Testing your form without required data.

  7. Finally, test your form by entering complete, correct data and clicking the Submit button. Results will vary, depending on which script you used, but one way or another, the data in the form will be sent to your email address (see Figure 12).
Figure 12

Figure 12 Data from an online input form, received as email.

Elegant? Maybe not. But the combination of form design and server data management in this tutorial works. You didn't need a database programmer or a server guru. And it only took you, what, 20 minutes?

The ability to collect form data in your site opens up a whole world of interaction with your visitors. So adapt this tutorial to your business, organization, or cause, and use it to collect orders, members, feedback, and more.

Adobe Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Adobe Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Adobe Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.adobepress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020