Flash Tips & Tricks 1

I wanted to make one giant post about things you can do in Flash, but thought it would be too overwhelming for me to write and people to read through, so here is part 1.  I'll try to focus on certain parts like all animation or all drawing.  Might recognize a few of these from other tutorials.

*Some tools can be bound to your own hotkey if one doesn't exist or you don't like the default.  To do this, go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts and find the tool you need to bind.  Hotkeys written below with an (*) means it's my own custom made one.


Rectangle w/ Rounded Edges
Quick and nice feature built in flash.  Select the Rectangle Tool (R) > Properties > Rectangle Options.  Use the slider for how curvy you want your square, or if you want the opposite, you can do that too.

Polygon Tool
Should be where your rectangle and oval tool is located.  You can change the amount of points it has so you can make pentagons/hexagons/etc, as well as stars.  For some reason mine disappeared and haven't been able to figure out what happened.  If anyone knows a solution, I'd appreciate a tutorial on getting it back.


Select a raw object and you should get 2 options at the bottom of your tool bar.  Smooth makes the object smooth, so all curved edges will lower the amount of points it has while keeping the curves.  Straighten also reduces the amount of points, but makes the edges straight instead of curved (although sometimes it tries to make a perfect curve).

Dark green outline is a fill on a lower layer.

Expand Fill (ctrl + Shift + F)*
I like making thick outlines for my characters so I use the expand fill option in flash.  It's in Modify > Shape > Expand Fill. You can also do the opposite with it. I might do it for an outline I just expanded because it causes the border to be really curvy, when I want it a bit sharper.  Inset helps with that.  Some Troubleshooting:
  • Keep it 1 color.  Selecting several might cause weird glitches
  • If you expand or contract and it messes up the graphic, smooth that object 1 step and that should fix the problem.  Sometimes an object is too complex to do this.
Convert Lines to Fills
Modify > Shape > Convert Lines to Fills.  Personally don't use this that much any more, but it comes in handy once in a while.  Once you convert the line, you can't go back (unless you undo a ton of times).  It's now a fill and can be treated as such.

When Drawing

Drag an Edge
Holding your cursor near an edge shows you a curvy symbol, and if you drag, it bends that line.

Click & Drag an Intersection
Holding your cursor near an intersection of vertices shows a pointed symbol. You can drag that point around to your liking. 

Alt + Click & Drag an Edge
Holding Alt and hovering your cursor near an edge shows you the pointed symbol again.  Dragging that edge creates a new point and extends the fill.

Disable/Enable Snapping (ctrl + Shift + /)
Sometimes snapping can get in your way.  When you're trying to place buttons perfectly the way you want, you need it on.  When you're drawing a line close to the edge of something, but don't want it to touch, you want it off.  

Flip Horizontally (ctrl + Shift + E)*
Another custom shortcut I made is  which i made flip a selected object horizontally. It's nice for when I need to mirror things.

Bonus Tip

Convert to Graphic Symbol (F8)
Select an object and hit the hotkey.  You'll get a pop up where you can name your object and choose what kind you want (movie clip, button or graphic).  Usually you would do movie clip as it has all the options for animating and effects.  Graphics is much more reduced in things you can do with it, but if your symbol is static, it's probably a better choice since it improves performance. 

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