Getting to Know the Fundamental Flash Interface Flash

Before discussing the Flash menu items, panels, and miscellaneous dialogs, we take a look at the interface and its default array of toolbars and panels. We look at the way the program looks when first opened after installation, and some of the basic possibilities for arranging these and other fundamental panels and toolbars.

Cross platform consistency
There’s much to celebrate in this new version of Flash, and one improvement that really shows is the consistency between the Mac and PC versions of Flash 5. Although there are a few inconsistencies, many of them are attributable to the nature of the divergent operating systems, and none of them are even remotely as bothersome as with prior versions.

How Flash looks on the Mac shows below. Note the Launcher Bar at the bottom right, which can be used to invoke the default groupings of Flash panels. These are, from left to right: Instance, Mixer, Character, Info, Explorer, Frame Actions, and the Library.

Flash on the Mac with most of the panels closed

Flash on the Mac with most of the panels closed

Flash on the PC with the panels closed shows below . There are three optional features that are absent from the Mac version. These include the Main Toolbar, the dockable Controller, and the Status Bar. However, note the consistency especially as regards the Toolbox (Tools), timeline, Launcher Bar, and the overall feel of the interface.

Flash on the PC with the panels closed

Flash on the PC with the panels closed

One of the minor ways in which the PC version differs from the Mac version is that the Toolbox and the Controller can be docked (or undocked) to the program window. The Toolbox and Controller were dragged to the edge of the program window, where they’re docked seamlessly to the interface. Note that the Toolbox docks only to the sides, while the Controller can also dock to the top and bottom, as well as mesh with other toolbars. To move either the Toolbox or Controller, yet prevent docking, press the Control key while dragging.

With Flash 5, Macromedia significantly altered the look and feel of Flash by replacing the inspectors and palettes of Flash 4 with a comprehensive system of panels. As was mentioned previously with regard to the Toolbox, some tool options have also migrated to the panels system. The implementation of panels is consistent across both the Mac and the PC. Throughout the book, we discuss each panel in context with the tools and operations where it is used. As shown in the following figures, there are many ways to arrange these panels for a customized workflow.

For examples of panels viewed simultaneously, For the Mac version and 2-5 for the PC version see below.

Here's Flash on the Mac with the panels viewed simultaneously.

Here's Flash on the Mac with the panels viewed simultaneously.

Here's Flash on the PC with all of the panels viewed simultaneously. Four additional panels that are not included in the default groupings are also displayed.

Here's Flash on the PC with all of the panels viewed simultaneously.

On both the Mac and the PC, you can drag the panel tabs off the panels or onto another panel. Below shows an alternative mega-panel grouping in which all of the Flash panels have been joined using this method. This grouping is most suited for a dual-monitor system, and has the advantage of displaying all of the information within a single panel without scrolling.

Contextual menus
Flash contextual menus pop-up in response to a right-click (Control+click for the Mac) on a selected item in the timeline, Library window, or on the Stage. Contextual menus duplicate most functions and commands that are accessible either through the drop-down menus of the Menu Bar, or through the many panels and dialogs, .

Here's an alternative mega panel grouping in which all of the Flash panels have been dragged together.

Here's an alternative mega panel grouping in which all of the Flash panels have been dragged together.


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