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Chapter 4. Complex Graphics on a Single Layer > Controlling the Stacking Order

Controlling the Stacking Order

You can change the stacking order of groups via the Modify > Arrange menu. Notice that the stacking order doesn't require that you actually stack objects on top of one another. If you have two groups on opposite sides of the Stage, their stacking order is not visible, but as soon as you drag the objects so that one overlaps the other, the order becomes apparent.

Each grouped object sits on its own sublayer. You can move objects up or down the stacking order one level at a time, or you can bring an object forward or send it backward through the stack of sublayers. The sublayer containing the live, editable objects is always at the bottom; groups and symbols stack on top of ungrouped elements.

Understanding the Stacking Order of Grouped Shapes

Editable shapes on a single layer always stay on the same layer, cutting one another whenever they inhabit the same space on the Stage. Grouped items (and symbols), however, stack on top of one another. By default, Flash stacks each group that you create on top of the preceding one; the last group created winds up on top of all the others (Figure 4.19).

Figure 4.19. This schematic shows Flash's default stacking order for grouped items. The most recently created group is on top. Editable shapes are always on the bottom.


A higher-level group obscures any groups that lie directly beneath it.


To bring an element forward in the stacking order:

1.
On the Stage, select a grouped object (Figure 4.20).

Figure 4.20. Each dumbbell represents a separate group.


2.
From the Modify menu, choose Arrange > Bring Forward, or press -up arrow (Mac) or Ctrl–up arrow (Windows) (Figure 4.21).

Figure 4.21. Choose Modify > Arrange > Bring Forward to move a selected group up one level in the stacking order.


Flash brings the selected item up one sublayer in the stacking order (Figure 4.22).

Figure 4.22. The selected group moves forward in the stacking order one sublayer.


To bring an element to the front of the stack:

1.
On the Stage, select a grouped object (Figure 4.23).

Figure 4.23. Select an item that you want to bringto the very top of the stacking order.


2.
From the Modify menu, choose Arrange > Bring to Front, or press -Shift-up arrow (Mac) or Ctrl–Shift-up arrow (Windows) (Figure 4.24).

Figure 4.24. Choose Modify > Arrange > Bring to Front.


Flash brings the selected object to the top of the heap (Figure 4.25).

Figure 4.25. The selected item comes to the front of the stack, regardless of how many groups (or sublayers) lie on top of the selected group.


To send an element to a lower level of the stack:

1.
On the Stage, select a grouped object.

2.
From the Modify menu, choose Arrange > Send Backward, or press -down arrow (Mac) or Ctrl–down arrow (Windows).

Flash sends the selected item down one sublayer in the stacking order.

To send an element to the bottom of the stack:

1.
On the Stage, select a grouped object.

2.
From the Modify menu, choose Arrange > Send to Back, or press Option-Shift-down arrow (Mac) or Ctrl-Shift-down arrow (Windows).

Flash sends the selected item to the bottom of the heap.

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