Web Designer Tools

All webmasters and web designers need tools. This is short our list of must-have programs that help us work faster and smarter. We are not affiliated with these companies and get no compensation for linking to them ... just the satisfaction of helping to promote those who have been a help to us over the years.

Website Authoring Programs


  • Photoshop -- the industry-standard image creation and editing program.
  • ImageReady -- comes bundled with Photoshop; you can optimize and cut up images (it'll generate your tables for you), mak animations and rollover effects.
  • Acrobat -- the program for making Adobe Acrobat files.
  • Photoshop Elements -- a less expensive image creation/editing program.
  • Dreamweaver -- the most popular WYSIWYG and HTML web page editor; helps make smarter work of web design, and its automated site maintenance features make tedious chores fast.
  • Allaire HomeSite -- for the HTML hand-coders among us. But Macromedia has now apparently built HomeSite-like features into Dreamweaver MX, for the best of both worlds.
  • Flash -- state-of-the-art mini-movies.

Bradbury Topstyle
From the creator of HomeSite, Topstyle is now a cascading style sheet generator and HTML editor in one. If you're just getting into CSS -- or wondering which styles you're not using -- this is a great help. We haven't tried this latest version, but it looks terrific — and integrates with many popular website authoring tools.

Note Tab Pro
A truly great text editor for scripting and editing HTML. No nonsense, no crashing, and more useful features than many will probably ever use.

Screen Ruler
"Should we move it two pixels to the left?" If you've ever wished you could precisely measure elements on your screen, Micro Fox Software's Screen Ruler allows you to do exactly that ... horizontally, vertically, in pixels, in inches.

VisiBone Color Lab
One of the best color-related websites. Test your color schemes here.


Test your websites in a variety of browsers -- no need for nasty surprises! (We assume you've already got Internet Explorer.)

Server Tools

Ipswitch WS_FTP Pro
For uploading web pages to your web hosting account. It's easier to control what gets uploaded if you don't use your HTML editor's internal uploader (and you don't care to discover your in-progress pages on the Web!). Latest version(s) allow secure connections.

PuTTY: A Free Win32 Telnet/SSH Client
This freeware program is for managing web servers. We don't mind paying for good software, but this free Telnet program allows encrypted communications with your server. It also allows cut and paste (here's a hint: right-click).

Computer Stuff

Belarc Advisor
This truly great free program will generate an HTML list of what's on your computer. Fantastic stuff, and most useful if you need a record of what used to be on your computer(!).

Mail Washer (.net)
This shareware program (you pay if you like it) allows you to check for, read and delete email while it's still on the server -- that is, before you download it. Has customizable options to check for spam, viruses, friends' email addresses, etc. You can check multiple email accounts at once, and see and read all your email in one window. You'll be surprised how many viruses you catch before you download them ... including the infamous virus-laden "your email has bounced" and "virus alert" messages.

That's our list! We hope it's of service to you.

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Diane Vigil founded DianeV Web Design Studio, has served as a consultant to numerous companies, as a moderator and administrator of the JimWorld SearchEngineForums and Cre8asiteforums, on the Site-Report Experts Panel — and has designed and built numerous websites since 1997.

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