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Chapter 1. Introducing Flash 5 > Symbols and the Library

Symbols and the Library

Often when you work on a Flash movie, you’ll find that certain shapes you create get used over and over again. Every time you add a new shape to the Stage, you increase your movie size. You can optimize your Flash movies by converting any shape that gets used more than once into a symbol. Symbols are stored in the Library (Window > Library) for each movie. Each copy of a symbol on the Stage is an instance of the symbol. This saves you file size because Flash just has to refer to the original symbol in the Library to create each instance.

Whenever you make a change to a symbol in the Library, all instances of the symbol on the Stage are updated. However, when you add an effect, such as changing the transparency of an instance of a symbol on the Stage, only that instance is changed. The original symbol in the Library doesn’t change at all.


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