Importing Sounds into Flash - Flash

We explained the basic principles relevant to the use of digital sound within Flash. We also discussed the various sound formats that Flash can import and export. We championed the inclusion of .MP3 among the sound formats that Flash 5 can import. In addition to our discussion of the merits of .MP3 sound, we also explained the uses of platform specific .AIFF (Mac) and .WAV (PC) audio files. But we didn’t delve into the process of importing sound into Flash. So, let’s get started.

Unlike other imported assets, such as bitmaps or vector art, Flash doesn’t automatically insert an imported sound file into the frames of the active layer on the timeline. In fact, you don’t have to select a specific layer or frame before you import a sound file. That’s because all sounds are sent directly to the Library immediately upon import. At this point, the sound becomes part of the .FLA editor file, which may make the file size balloon significantly if the sound file is large. However, the sound does not become part of the .SWF, nor will it add to the size of the .SWF file unless it is assigned to a keyframe, as an instance. Although this may seem peculiar, it does serve a useful purpose: It helps to ensure that instances of the sound will be employed within your project, rather than duplicates of the same large sound file, which keeps the .SWF file size down. So, to use an imported sound within Flash you must first import the sound, and then assign an instance of that sound to a specific layer and keyframe.

To import a sound file into the Flash authoring environment:

  1. Choose File➪Import.
  2. From the Files of Type drop-down, choose All Sound Formats.
  3. Select the .MP3, .AIFF, or .WAV file that you want to import.
  4. Click Open.

The selected sound file is imported into your Flash editor document (.FLA) and arrives in the Flash Library with its filename intact. If the Library is closed, you can open it by choosing Window➪Library, or by using the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl/Command+L). With the Library open, locate the sound, and click it to highlight the name of the sound file where it appears in the Library Sort Window. The waveform appears in the Library Preview Window, as shown below. Click the Play button above the waveform to audition the sound.

This is a stereo sound in the Flash Library.

This is a stereo sound in the Flash Library.

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