How to Get Rid of Web Page Meta Data that You Originally Entered Using Dreamweaver CS4 via Its Insert HTML Head Tags Command

© 2012 Peter Free


20 December 2012



How to get around one of Dreamweaver CS4’s flaws — being unable to see and remove meta data, unless you know where to look


Dreamweaver CS4 allows users to enter meta data like webpage descriptions and key words by using the Insert |HTML | Head Tags | Keywords/Description (etcetera) command.


But, if you change your mind after saving the page, redoing whatever you entered is not exactly straightforward — unless you know where to look.


This problem surfaced for me, when my Zoom Search Engine Indexer software (a separate program) warned me that I had made multiple mistakes related to entering meta data on some of my webpages.


Many of these beginner errors involved writing head tags that contained punctuation marks that Zoom “thinks” will confuse search engines or render incorrectly.



The most obvious approach to making corrections does not work


The obvious approach — rewriting the appropriate head tag in Dreamweaver (via the same Insert | HTML button) turns out not to work.


The Insert box always comes up blank, as if Dreamweaver has eliminated the meta data that you previously saved.


But, in fact, the old meta data stays on the page.  And whatever you stick the box now is simply added in a new coding line underneath the old tidbit.  If you problems before, they’re still there.  And possibly magnified by whatever you added.


What to do?



How to remove the old meta data — and start with a blank slate


The key to erasing or redoing your meta data is to go to the View | Code and Design screen.


Code and Design view will show you your webpage as you want it to appear (on the bottom of your computer screen), with the code that is going to generate that page (shown on the top of the screen).


You need to see the coding because that is where the meta data that you originally attached to the page is located.


To find the appropriate coding section, you need to look for the name of heading box that you entered it under.


For example, if I used Insert |HTML | Head Tags | Description, I will be looking for “Description” in the code.  On the other hand, if you entered meta data under Keywords, you would be looking for “Keywords.”


This occurs toward the top of the coding on my webpages, which are all produced from a generic template that I made using Dreamweaver.


My Head Tags usually (but not always) show up in blue text.  That makes them relatively easy to pick out from the gray Dreamweaver coding that surrounds them.


To start, scroll up through the coding, looking for Description or Keywords or whatever category you picked when you originally entered the data.


To get rid of the meta data, you need to select it.  Do this exactly as you would in a document.  Plop your cursor down at the beginning of the editable portion of the code and drag the cursor to the end of editable portion.


You will recognize what is editable (and needs to go away) by finding the < mark that locates the beginning of the section and the > mark that locates the end.


For example, in my case, I was most often looking for:


 <meta name=”Description” content= blah blah blah>


You will highlight all of this, including the carrot marks.


Hit backspace (or delete) to get rid of it.


Once you do that, there will be a white space where the meta data had been.


To close up the gap, simply hit backspace enough times to get rid of the blank line(s) where the meta data used to be.  (You can see line numbers on the left hand side of the coding screen.)


In my case, I know that I have done all this correctly when I am left with two adjacent lines of coding that read:


<! -- InstanceBeginEditable name=”head” -->

<! -- InstanceEndEditable -->


Be sure to Save the changes.



How to enter new meta data


You could directly enter new meta data in place of whatever you wanted to remove from the old coding.  But that presumes that you know how to code.  In which case, you probably would not have been using Dreamweaver.


It is much easiest to go to Dreamweaver’s Insert | HTML command and fill in the box with your new meta data.  If you still have the coding block showing, you will be able to see how Dreamweaver generates the new code.


Be sure to Save, when you are done.