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Aligning Elements

As you get into the process of animation, you'll discover how important alignment can be. Flash's grids, its guides, and its Snap feature (see Chapter 1) help you align objects on the Stage manually. Flash also offers automatic alignment through the Align panel. You can line up selected objects by their top, bottom, left, or right edges or by their centers (Figure 4.27). You can align the objects to each other or align them to the Stage—for example, placing the top edge of all selected objects at the top edge of the Stage. Flash can also resize one object to match the dimensions of another—making them the same width, for example.

Figure 4.27. Flash's Align panel can line up selected objects in various ways. Here are a few alignment choices used on the same set of objects.


To access alignment options:

  • From the Window menu, choose Panels > Align, or press -K (Mac) or Ctrl-K (Windows) (Figure 4.28).

    Figure 4.28. Choose Window > Panels > Align to open the Align panel.


    The Align panel appears (Figure 4.29). You can apply any of the alignment options to selected objects on the Stage.

    Figure 4.29. The Align panel offers options for horizontally and vertically aligning objects, evenly distributing objects in horizontal or vertical space, forcing objects to match each other (or the Stage) in width and height, and creating even spacing between objects.


To align items horizontally:

1.
On the Stage, select the items that you want to align.

2.
In the Align section of the Align panel (Figure 4.30), choose one of the following options:

Figure 4.30. You can align objects horizontally by their left edges (A), centers (B), or right edges (C).


  • Align left edges

  • Align centers

  • Align right edges

Flash rearranges the selected objects.

To align items vertically:

1.
On the Stage, select the items that you want to align.

2.
In the Align section of the Align panel (Figure 4.31), choose one of the following options:

Figure 4.31. You can align objects vertically by their top edges (A), centers (B), or bottom edges (C).


  • Align top edges

  • Align centers

  • Align bottom edges

Flash rearranges the selected objects.

To match dimensions of items:

1.
On the Stage, select the items that you want to change.

2.
In the Match Size section of the Align panel (Figure 4.32), do one of the following:

Figure 4.32. Choosing the vertical option in the Match Size section of the align dialog box makes two items the same height. Flash matches the shorter one to the taller one.


  • To expand all items to be the same width as the widest item, choose Match Width.

  • To expand all items to be the same height as the tallest item, choose Match Height.

  • To perform both of the preceding actions, choose Match Width and Height.

To make alignment relative to the Stage:

  • In the Align panel, choose To Stage (Figure 4.33).

    Figure 4.33. Choosing To Stage in the Align panel makes all your alignment choices relative to the edges of the Stage.


    Flash makes your alignment choices in the Vertical, Horizontal, and Match Size sections relative to the edges of the Stage. Align to Bottom, for example, puts all the bottom edges of the selected elements at the bottom of the Stage. Matching height makes selected elements as tall as the Stage.

Tip

In addition to aligning items horizontally and vertically, you can create equal horizontal or vertical space between three or more items. The buttons in the Distribute section of the Align panel let you equalize the horizontal space between selected elements'left edges, centers, or right edges or equalize the vertical space between selected items' top edges, centers, or bottom edges.


Tip

Use the Align panel's Space options to create equal horizontal or vertical space between items' inside edges.


Tip

You can make a series of alignment adjustments to the same set of elements—for example, aligning all selected items by their left edges and then equalizing the vertical space between them. You can even use the alignment options to pull all selected items into one corner of the Stage.


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