Flash 8 Basics: Setting Preferences in Flash
Setting Preferences in Flash
Flash lets you set preferences for general application operations, editing operations, and Clipboard operations. For more information about the drawing preferences, see “Specifying Drawing Settings” in Using Flash.
To set preferences:
- Select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Flash & Preferences (Macintosh).
In the Category list, select the one of the following:
- Auto Format
To set General preferences (see Figure 16), select from the following options:
- For On Launch options, select an option to specify which document Flash opens when you start the application. Select Show Start Page to display the Start Page. Select New Document to open a new, blank document. Select Last Documents Open to open the documents that were open when you last quit Flash. Select No Document to start Flash without opening a document.
- For Undo, enter a value from 2 to 300 to set the number of undo/redo levels. Undo levels require memory; the more undo levels you use, the more system memory is consumed. The default is 100. Next select Document- or Object-level undo. Document-level undo maintains a single list of all your actions for the entire Flash document. Object-level undo maintains separate lists of your actions for each object in your Flash document. Object-level undo gives you greater flexibility because you can undo an action on one object without also having to undo actions on other objects that may have been modified more recently than the target object.
- For Printing Options (Windows only), select Disable PostScript if you want to disable PostScript output when printing to a PostScript printer. By default, this option is deselected. Select this option if you have problems printing to a PostScript printer, but keep in mind that this will slow down printing.
- For Test Movie Options, select Open Test Movie in Tabs to have Flash open a new document tab in the application window when you select Control > Test Movie. The default is to open the test movie in its own window.
- For Selection Options, select or deselect Shift Select to control how Flash handles selection of multiple elements. When Shift Select is off, clicking additional elements adds them to the current selection. When Shift Select is on, clicking additional elements deselects other elements unless you hold down Shift.
- Select Show Tooltips to display tooltips when the pointer pauses over a control. Deselect this option if you don’t want to see the tooltips.
- Select Contact Sensitive to have objects become selected when any part of them is included in the marquee rectangle when dragging with the Selection or Lasso tools. The default is that objects are only selected when the tool’s marquee rectangle completely surrounds the object.
- For Timeline Options, select Span Based Selection to use span-based selection in the Timeline, rather than the default frame-based selection. For more information on span-based and frame-based selection, see “Working with Frames in the Timeline.”
- Select Named Anchor on Scenes to have Flash make the first frame of each scene in a document a named anchor. Named anchors let you use the Forward and Back buttons in a browser to jump from scene to scene in a Flash application. For more information, see “Using the Timeline.”
- For Highlight Color, select a color from the panel, or select Use Layer Color to use the current layer’s outline color.
- For Project, select Close Files with Project to have all files in a project close when the project file is closed.
- Select Save Files on Test or Publish Project to have each file in a project saved whenever the project is tested or published.
For more information, see “Creating and Managing Project (Flash Professional Only)” in Using Flash.
To set ActionScript preferences, see “About ActionScript preferences” in Learning ActionScript 2.0 in Flash.
To set AutoFormat preferences for ActionScript:
- Select any of the check boxes. To see the effect of each selection, look in the Preview pane.
To set Clipboard preferences, select from the following options:
- For Bitmaps (Windows only), select options for Color Depth and Resolution to specify these parameters for bitmaps copied to the Clipboard. Select Smooth to apply anti-aliasing. Enter a value in the Size Limit text box to specify the amount of RAM that is used when placing a bitmap image on the Clipboard. Increase this value when working with large or high-resolution bitmap images. If your computer has limited memory, select None.
- For Gradient Quality (Windows only), select an option to specify the quality of gradient fills placed in the Windows Metafile. Choosing a higher quality increases the time required to copy artwork. Use this setting to specify gradient quality when pasting items to a location outside of Flash. When you are pasting within Flash, the full gradient quality of the copied data is preserved regardless of the Gradients on Clipboard setting.
- For PICT Settings (Macintosh only), for Type, select Objects to preserve data copied to the Clipboard as vector artwork, or select one of the bitmap formats to convert the copied artwork to a bitmap. Enter a value for Resolution. Select Include PostScript to include PostScript data. For Gradients, select an option to specify gradient quality in the PICT. Choosing a higher quality increases the time required to copy artwork. Use the Gradients setting to specify gradient quality when pasting items to a location outside of Flash. When you are pasting within Flash, the full gradient quality of the copied data is preserved regardless of the Gradient setting.
- For FreeHand Text, select Maintain Text as Blocks to keep text editable in a pasted FreeHand file.
To set Drawing preferences:
- For Pen Tool options, see “Setting Pen Tool Preferences” in Using Flash.
- For Drawing Settings, see “Specifying Drawing Settings” in Using Flash.
To set text preferences, select one of the following options:
- For Font Mapping Default, select a font to use when substituting missing fonts in documents you open in Flash. For more information, see “Substituting Missing Fonts” in Using Flash.
- For Vertical Text options, select Default Text Orientation to make the default orientation of text vertical, which is useful for some Asian language fonts. By default, this option is deselected.
- Select Right to Left Text Flow to reverse the default text display direction. This option is deselected by default.
- Select No Kerning to turn off kerning for vertical text. This option is deselected by default but is useful to improve spacing for some fonts that use kerning tables.
- For Input Method, select the appropriate language.
To set warning preferences, select one of the following options:
- Select Warn on Save for Macromedia Flash 8 Compatibility to have Flash warn you when you try to save documents with content that is specific to the Flash Basic 8 or Flash Professional 8 authoring tool as a Flash MX 2004 file. This option is selected by default.
- Select Warn on Missing Fonts to have Flash warn you when you open a Flash document that uses fonts that are not installed on your computer. This option is selected by default.
- Select Warn on URL Changes in Launch and Edit to have Flash warn you if the URL for a document has changed since the last time you opened and edited it.
- Select Warn on Reading Generator Content to have Flash display a red X over any Generator objects as a reminder that Generator objects are not supported in Flash 8.
- Select Warn on Inserting Frames when Importing Content to have Flash alert you when it inserts frames in your document to accommodate audio or video files that you import.
- Select Warn on Encoding Conflicts When Exporting .as Files to have Flash alert you when selecting Default Encoding could potentially lead to data loss or character corruption. (For example, if you create a file with English, Japanese, and Korean characters and select Default Encoding on an English system, the Japanese and Korean characters will be corrupted.)
- Select Warn on Conversion of Effect Graphic Objects to have Flash warn you when you attempt to edit a symbol that has Timeline effects applied to it.
- Select Warn on Exporting to Flash Player 6 r65 to have Flash warn you when you export a document to this earlier version of Flash Player.
- Select Warn on Sites with Overlapped Root Folder to have Flash warn you when you create a site in which the local root folder overlaps with another site.
- Select Warn on Behavior Symbol Conversion to have Flash warn you when you convert a symbol with a behavior attached to a symbol of a different type—for example, when you convert a movie clip to a button.
- Select Warn on Symbol Conversion to have Flash warn you when you convert a symbol to a symbol of a different type.
- Select Warn on Automatically Converting from Drawing Object to Group to have Flash warn you when it converts a graphic object drawn in Object Drawing mode to a group.
- Select Show Incompatibility Warnings on Feature Controls to have Flash display warnings on controls for features not supported by the Flash Player version that the current FLA file is targeting in its Publish Settings.
Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts
You can select keyboard shortcuts in Flash to match the shortcuts you use in other applications, or to streamline your Flash workflow. By default, Flash uses built-in keyboard shortcuts designed for the Flash application. You can also select a built-in keyboard shortcut set from one of several popular graphics applications, including Fireworks, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop.
To create a custom keyboard shortcut set, you duplicate an existing set, and then add or remove shortcuts from the new set. You can also delete custom shortcut sets.
To view or print the current set of keyboard shortcuts:
- Select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.
- In the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box, select the shortcut set you wish to view from the Current pop-up menu.
Click the Export Set as HTML button (see Figure 17).
- In the Save As dialog box that appears, select a name and location for the exported HTML file. The default file name is the name of the selected shortcut set.
- Click Save.
- Find the exported file in the folder you selected and open the file in a web browser.
- To print the file, use the browser’s Print command.
To select a keyboard shortcut set:
- Select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts (Windows) or Flash > Keyboard Shortcuts (Macintosh).
- In the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box, select a shortcut set from the Current Set pop-up menu.
To create a new keyboard shortcut set:
- Select a keyboard shortcut set as described in the previous procedure.
- Click the Duplicate Set button.
- Enter a name for the new shortcut set and click OK.
To rename a custom keyboard shortcut set:
- In the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box, select a shortcut set from the Current Set pop-up menu.
- Click the Rename Set button.
- In the Rename dialog box, enter a new name and click OK.
To add or remove a keyboard shortcut:
- Select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts (Windows) or Flash > Keyboard Shortcuts (Macintosh) and select the set that you want to modify.
- From the Commands pop-up menu, select Drawing Menu Commands, Drawing Tools, Test Movie Menu Commands, or Workplace Accessibility Commands to view shortcuts for the selected category.
- In the Commands list, select the command for which you want to add or remove a shortcut.
- An explanation of the selected command appears in the description area in the dialog box.
Do one of the following:
- To add a shortcut, click the Add Shortcut (+) button.
- To remove a shortcut, click the Remove Shortcut (-) button and proceed to step 6.
If you are adding a shortcut, enter the new shortcut key combination in the Press Key text box.
Note: To enter the key combination, simply press the keys on the keyboard. You do not need to spell out key names, such as Control, Option, and so on.
To delete a keyboard shortcut set:
- Select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts (Windows) or Flash > Keyboard Shortcuts (Macintosh). In the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box, click the Delete Set button.
In the Delete Set dialog box, select a shortcut set and click Delete.
Note: You cannot delete the built-in keyboard shortcut sets that ship with Flash.
Using Context Menus
Context menus contain commands relevant to the current selection. For example, when you select a frame in the Timeline window, the context menu contains commands for creating, deleting, and modifying frames and keyframes. Context menus exist for many items and controls in many locations, including on the Stage, in the Timeline, in the Library panel, and in the Actions panel.
To open a context menu:
- Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Macintosh) an item
Accessibility in the Flash Authoring Environment
Accessibility support in the Flash authoring environment provides keyboard shortcuts for navigating and using interface controls, including panels, the Property inspector, dialog boxes, the Stage, and objects on the Stage, so that you can work with these interface elements without using the mouse.
Note: Certain keyboard controls are available only in Windows. For more information, see “About Flash Authoring Accessibility on the Macintosh.”
You can customize the keyboard shortcuts for accessibility in the authoring environment using the Workspace Accessibility Commands section of the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box. For more information, see “Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts.”
Some authoring environment accessibility features are unavailable on the Macintosh. For more information, see the following section.
About Flash Authoring Accessibility on the Macintosh
Accessibility for the Flash authoring environment on the Macintosh has the following limitations:
- The Panel Focus keyboard shortcut (Command+Option+Tab) is not supported for the Property inspector.
- The Panel Control Focus keyboard shortcut (Tab) is supported only for the Timeline, not for other panels or the Property inspector.
Selecting Panels or the Property Inspector with Keyboard Shortcuts
You can select a panel or the Property inspector (also referred to as applying focus to the panel or Property inspector) by using the keyboard shortcut Control+Alt+Tab (Windows) or Command+Option+Tab (Macintosh).
You can apply focus to a panel or the Property inspector only when the panel or Property inspector is visible in the Flash application window. The panel can be expanded or collapsed.
When you use the keyboard shortcut to select panels, focus is applied to panels using the following criteria:
- Docked panels are given focus first.
- If the Timeline is displayed and docked, the Timeline is given focus the first time you press Control+Alt+Tab (Windows) or Command+Option+Tab (Macintosh).
- If the Timeline is not displayed and docked, or if you press the keyboard shortcut again, focus moves to the rightmost and highest docked panel. Pressing the keyboard shortcut repeatedly then moves the focus through the other docked panels, from right to left and from top to bottom of the workspace.
- If you move the focus through all the docked panels, or if there are no docked panels displayed, focus then moves to the rightmost and highest floating panel. Pressing the keyboard shortcut repeatedly then moves the focus through the other floating panels, from right to left and from top to bottom of the workspace.
Use the following keyboard shortcuts to select or deselect, expand, or collapse panels or the Property inspector:
- To move the focus through the panels currently displayed in the workspace, press Control+Alt+Tab (Windows) or Command+Option+Tab (Macintosh). A dotted line appears around the title of the currently focused panel.
- To move the focus to the previously selected panel, press Control+Shift+Alt+Tab (Windows) or Command+Shift+Option+Tab (Macintosh).
- To deselect a panel, press Escape, or move, dock, or undock the panel.
- To move the focus to the panel above or below the current panel in a panel group, press the Up Arrow or Down Arrow key.
To use keyboard shortcuts to expand or collapse panels or the Property inspector:
- Press Control+Alt+Tab (Windows) or Command+Option+Tab (Macintosh) until the panel you wish to expand or collapse has focus. A dotted line appears around the title of the currently focused panel.
- Press the Spacebar to expand or collapse the currently selected panel.
To hide all panels and the Property inspector:
- Press F4. Press F4 again to display all panels and the Property inspector.
Selecting Controls in a Panel or the Property Inspector Using Keyboard Shortcuts
When a panel or the Property inspector has the current focus, you can use the Tab key to move the focus through the panel controls. You can use the Spacebar to activate the control that has the current focus (that is, pressing Spacebar is equivalent to clicking a control in the panel).
When you use the keyboard shortcut for panel controls, focus is applied to a control and the control is activated using the following criteria>:
- The panel with the current focus must be expanded in order for you to select a control in the panel with the Tab key. If the panel is collapsed, pressing Tab has no effect.
- When the panel with the current focus is expanded, pressing Tab the first time moves the focus to the panel’s pop-up menu.
- You can use the Right Arrow and Left Arrow keys to move the focus between the pop-up menu and the panel title bar.
- If the focus is on the pop-up menu, pressing Tab again moves the focus through the other controls in the panel. Pressing Tab again will not return the focus to the panel pop-up menu.
- When the pop-up menu has the focus, you can press Enter (Windows only) to display the pop-up menu items.
- In panels that are grouped, you can use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to move the focus between the pop-up menus of the panels in the group.
- You can move the focus to a panel control only if the control is active. If a control is dimmed (inactive), you cannot apply focus to the control.
To move the focus from a panel title bar to a panel pop-up menu, do one of the following:
- Press Tab.
- Press the Right Arrow key. Press the Left Arrow key or Shift+Tab to return the focus to the panel title bar.
- If the panel is in a group, press the Up Arrow key to move the focus to the options pop-up menu of the panel immediately above the panel with the current focus. Press the Down Arrow key to move the focus to the pop-up menu of the panel immediately below the panel with the current focus.
To move the focus through the items in a panel pop-up menu:
- With the focus currently applied to the panel pop-up menu, press the Spacebar to display the pop-up menu items.
- Press the Down Arrow key to move through the items in the pop-up menu.
- Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Macintosh) to activate the currently selected pop-up menu item.
To move the focus through the controls in a panel:
- Press Tab when the focus is currently applied to the panel pop-up menu. Press Tab repeatedly to move the focus through the controls in the panel.
- Press Enter (Windows only) to activate the currently selected panel control.
Navigating Dialog Box Controls Using Keyboard Shortcuts (Windows Only)
In Windows operating systems, you can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate controls in dialog boxes. You can move from one control to another, apply controls, or cancel and exit the dialog box.
To navigate dialog box controls using keyboard shortcuts, do one of the following:
- Press Tab to move through the controls in the dialog box.
- To move through the controls within one section of a dialog box, press the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys. For example, in the Spelling Setup dialog box, press the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to move through the controls within the Document Options section.
- When the focus is applied to a dialog box control button—such as the OK, Cancel, or Apply button—press Enter to activate the button (equivalent to clicking the button).
- When the focus is not applied to any dialog box control button—such as the OK, Cancel, or Apply button—press Enter to apply the current settings and close the dialog box (equivalent to clicking OK).
- Press Escape to close the dialog box without applying the changes (equivalent to clicking Cancel).
- When the focus is applied to the Help button, press Enter or Spacebar to view the Help content for the dialog box (equivalent to clicking Help).
Selecting the Stage or Objects on the Stage Using Keyboard Shortcuts
You can select the Stage or an object on the Stage using keyboard shortcuts. Selecting the Stage with a keyboard shortcut is equivalent to clicking on the Stage. Any other element currently selected becomes deselected when the Stage is selected.
Once the Stage is selected, you can use the Tab key to navigate through all objects on all layers, one at a time. You can select instances (including graphic symbols, buttons, movie clips, bitmaps, videos, or sounds), groups, or text boxes. You cannot select shapes (such as rectangles) unless those shapes are instances of symbols. You cannot select more than one object at a time using keyboard shortcuts. Objects are selected on the Stage using the following criteria:
- If an object is currently selected, pressing Shift+Tab selects the previous object.
- Pressing Tab the first time selects the first object that was created on the active frame in the active layer. When the last object on the top layer is selected, pressing Tab moves to the next layer beneath it and selects the first object there, and so on.
- When the last object on the last layer is selected, pressing Tab moves to the next frame and selects the first object on the top layer there.
- Objects on layers that are hidden or locked cannot be selected with the Tab key.
Note: If you are currently typing text into a text box, you cannot select an object using the keyboard focus. You must first change the focus to the Stage and then select an object.
To select the Stage:
- Press Control+Alt+Home (Windows) or Command+Option+Home (Macintosh).
To select an object on the Stage:
- With the Stage selected, press Tab.
Navigating Tree Controls Using Keyboard Shortcuts
You can navigate tree structures, the hierarchical displays of file structures in certain Flash panels, using keyboard shortcuts. You can expand and collapse folders in the tree control and move up and down between parent and child folders.
To navigate tree controls with keyboard shortcuts, do any of the following:
- To expand a collapsed folder, select the folder and press the Right Arrow key.
- To collapse an expanded folder, select the folder and press the Left Arrow key.
- To move to the parent folder of an expanded folder, press the Left Arrow key.
- To move to the child folder of an expanded folder, press the Right Arrow key.
Working with Library Items Using Keyboard Shortcuts
You can cut, copy, and paste library items using keyboard shortcuts. You can cut or copy an item from the Library panel and paste it onto the Stage or into another library, or paste a folder into another library. If you paste a folder, each item in the folder is included.
You can use keyboard shortcuts to select a library item. For more information, see “Navigating Tree Controls Using Keyboard Shortcuts.”
Items are cut, copied, and pasted using the following criteria:
- You can cut or copy one item or multiple items.
- You cannot paste a shape from the Stage into the library.
- You cannot paste a library item into a common library, because common libraries cannot be modified. However, you can create a new common library. For more information, see “Working with common libraries” in Using Flash.
- When you paste a library item onto the Stage, the item is centered.
- To paste a library item into a folder in the destination library, you can click the folder before pasting.
- You can paste a library item into a different location in the same library where it originated.
- If you attempt to paste a library item into a location containing another item by the same name, you can select whether to replace the existing item.
To cut, copy, and paste library items using keyboard shortcuts:
- To copy or paste a selected library item, press Control+X (Windows) or Command+X (Macintosh) to cut the item, or press Control+C (Windows) or Command+C (Macintosh) to copy the item.
- To paste a cut or copied item, click the Stage or in another library to set the insertion point, and press Control+V (Windows) or Command+V (Macintosh) to paste in the center of the Stage, or press Control+Shift+C (Windows) or Command+Shift+C (Macintosh) to paste in place (in the same location as the original).