An image map is an image that contains multiple hypertext links to other files on the Web. Different areas, or hotspots, of the image map link to different files. Adobe ImageReady creates client-side image maps and server-side image maps.
Creating image maps is one of the functions that you must do in Adobe ImageReady. You can use Photoshop to create slices, which share certain functionality with image maps, but you cannot create image maps with Photoshop.
Note: For information about slicing an image into multiple image files and linking each slice to another Web page, see Lesson 15, "Adding Interactive Slices and Rollovers."
Creating and viewing image maps (ImageReady)
Image maps enable you to link an area of an image to a URL. You can set up multiple linked areas—called image map areas—in an image, with links to text files; other images; audio, video, or multimedia files; other pages in the Web site; or other Web sites. You can also create rollover effects in image map areas.
The main difference between using image maps and using slices to create links is in how the source image is exported as a Web page. Using image maps keeps the exported image intact as a single file, while using slices causes the image to be exported as a separate file. Another difference between image maps and slices is that image maps enable you to link circular, polygonal, or rectangular areas in an image, while slices enable you to link only rectangular areas. If you need to link only rectangular areas, using slices may be preferable to using an image map.
Note: To avoid unexpected results, do not create image map areas in slices that contain URL links—either the image map links or the slice links may be ignored in some browsers.
-From Adobe Photoshop 7.0 online Help
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