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Chapter 10. Controlling Text

Of course you know that Flash lets you create visually engaging text elements, such as titles, labels, and descriptions, to accompany your graphics, animation, and sound. But did you know that you can do more with text than just set the style, color, and size? Flash text can be live, meaning your viewers can enter text into the Flash movie as it plays, as well as select and edit the text. And Flash text can be dynamic, so it can update during playback. The text that viewers can enter is called input text, and the text that you can update during playback is called dynamic text. Input and dynamic text provide a way to receive complex information from the viewer and tailor your Flash movie using that information. For example, you can use input text to let your viewers enter their names, and then use that information to personalize the messages that appear throughout the movie. Or you can develop online tutorials using input text for short-answer responses and dynamic text for customized feedback.

Using the Text Options panel, you define input text boxes, in which your viewers enter text, and dynamic text boxes that display text that changes based on criteria you specify. You assign a variable to input text so that you can store and modify the information your viewers enter, and test it with conditional statements. This text can then be used in other ActionScripts. Two objects that control the information within input and dynamic text—the Selection object and the String object—let you analyze and manipulate the text or the placement of the cursor within the text. For example, you can catch misspellings or incorrectly entered information before using it in your Flash movie or passing it on to an outside application for processing. This chapter explores some of the many possibilities of input and dynamic text and introduces you to the tools you can use to control the information exchange between your Flash movie and your audience.


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