Now that we’ve introduced most of the major elements of the Flash interface, we begin at the far left of the Menu Bar and work through the major points of all the drop-down menus, submenus, and panels. It’s a gruesome, tedious job, but someone has to dive in and make sense of all these interrelated and (sometimes) seemingly duplicate or parallel operations.
The File Menu
The Flash File Menu is like the front door of the program. Most of what comes into or out of Flash passes in some fashion through the File Menu.
File Menu on the PC
Use File⇒Export to write your movie to any of these formats:
One of the most celebrated features of Flash 4 was the Publish feature, which replaced Aftershock. This is a powerful, robust aspect of Flash that required no changes in this upgrade to Flash 5. So if you’re familiar with Flash 4, you’ll be thoroughly at home with the Publish workflow. The areas of the File Menu which pertain to the Publish feature are:
Although Flash is considered a Web and animation program, it fully supports printed output. The functionality and specific dialogs vary slightly from the Mac to the PC while other variations are subject to which printers and printer drivers are installed on your machine. The Flash Page Setup dialog is the most standard aspect of the program and the choices for paper size, margins, center positioning, and orientation are pretty intuitive. However, the Layout area of the PC Page Setup Dialog deserves a little more attention. The options here are:
The Edit Menu
The Edit Menu isn’t nearly as complex as the File Menu. Still, it’s an important menu because many of these commands are central to so many Flash operations.
Edit Menu on the PC with the Equivalent Mac Menu Inset
The Preferences dialog is one of the places where you get to tell Flash how you want it to behave. After you’ve established your preferences, this is how the program will be configured for every movie that you make. Nearly all options are identical on both platforms with the exception of the clipboard settings, which are a reflection of the different ways that the two platforms handle their clipboards.
As shown below, options for the General tab of the Preferences dialog are:
The General tab of the Preferences dialog for the PC
As shown below, options for the Editing tab of the Preferences dialog are:
The Editing tab of the Preferences dialog for the PC
The Clipboard tab of the Preferences dialog for the PC
There is one major reason to applaud the inclusion of this feature in Flash 5: It enables the disabled. Imagine how wonderful this facility might be for someone who has lost the use of one of his or her hands. For other disabilities, this feature could make the difference between the ability to work effectively in Flash or not. We have a friend who is a quadriplegic; having the use of neither his hands nor his feet, this intrepid fellow accomplishes amazing feats in Flash with a mouth stick! These keyboard commands enable him, and others with disabilities, to use the program with a little more ease.
Another reason to celebrate this feature is that it facilitates the development of a custom workflow for example, drawing tablet with one hand, keyboard with the other. The disadvantage of this feature is that, in a busy studio where artists are swapping seats like musical chairs, irresponsible keyboard changes can lead to team grief. In a studio, Keyboard Shortcuts must be implemented with regard for others working in the same environment. But this is a small detraction from the greater value of this feature. We hope that Macromedia will build upon their example and continue to lead the way, and will offer greater accessibility for the disabled with subsequent releases.
The Keyboard Shortcuts dialog
To create a new keyboard shortcut, you must first duplicate an existing set, from which you can then add or subtract existing shortcuts to form your custom shortcut set. Here’s the process:
The View Menu
The View Menu is dedicated to controlling how movies and some tools are viewed in Flash. There are also a few controls that toggle functionality.
The Insert Menu
As shown below, the Insert Menu is used to insert Symbols, Layers, Guides, Frames, and Scenes into the current Movie.
The Modify Menu
The Modify menu is thick with commands that invoke popups, submenus, and panels. Not shown are the pop-ups for the first five items on the menu: Instance, Frame, Layer, Scene, and Movie. Although all of these are introduced here, substantial discussion of these items has been deferred until they can be handled in context with the Flash workflow.
The Modify Menu
The Text Menu
This menu contains duplicate commands for text controls that are available in one of the three Text Panels.
The Text Menu
These commands are:
The Control Menu
Despite the Control Menu’s alluring title , this is not the menu for Type A personalities. Rather, like the VCR controller, which Type A’s always seem to finagle onto their armrest, the Control Menu displays buttons that control the movie playback features within Flash.
The Control Menu
The Window Menu
The Window Menu, shown in Figure below, is the launch pad for a number of key panels and dialogs. It has several commands that are used to arrange the display of multiple movies.
The Window Menu
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Understanding The Flash Framework
Exploring The Interface: Panels, Settings, And More
Using Tools For Navigation And Viewing
Working With Selections And The Pen Tool
Working With The Drawing And Painting Tools
Working With Text
Exploring The Timeline
Checking Out The Library: Symbols And Instances
Drawing In Flash
Animating In Flash
Using Bitmaps And Other Media With Flash
Designing Interfaces And Interface Elements
Understanding Sound For Flash
Importing And Editing Sounds In Flash
Optimizing Flash Sound For Export
Understanding Actions And Event Handlers
Navigating Flash Timelines
Controlling Movie Clips
Sharing And Loading Assets
Planning Code Structures
Creating Subroutines And Manipulating Data
Understanding Movie Clips As Complex Objects
Sending Data In And Out Of Flash
Understanding Html And Text Field Functions In Flash
What Is Generator?
Revving Up Generator
Working With Third-party, Server-side Applications
Working With Raster Graphics
Working With Vector Graphics
Working With Audio Applications
Working With 3d Graphics
Working With Quicktime
Working With Realplayer
Creating Full-motion Video With Flash
Creating Cartoon Animation With Flash
Planning Flash Production With Flowcharting Software
Working With Authoring Applications
Publishing Flash Movies
Integrating Flash Content With Html
Using Players, Projectors, And Screensaver Utilities
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