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Part I: The Flash Tool > Creating Symbols

Chapter 5. Creating Symbols

by Robert Cleveland

In this chapter

Applying Three Types of Symbols

Creating Symbols

Using Libraries

Modifying the Instance Properties of a Placed Symbol

Troubleshooting Symbols

Did You Know?

One of the key features in Flash is the application of symbols. Loosely defined, symbols can be a graphic, a shape, a button, or a movie clip that is used throughout a movie. The concept sounds almost too simple. In reality, it is key because you can reapply a single symbol throughout your movie in various forms and pay for only the one instance in terms of file size.

So, for example, if you have a graphic loaded into the Flash library, you can apply that graphic in many locations throughout the movie. And you can modify each instance. The total number becomes somewhat irrelevant because the end movie file size is really affected only by the imported original graphic.


Do you have static images you are applying in a background? Use a symbol to build up the background and, even though the image is applied across the entire movie, the movie size is increased based only on the original graphic.

The net advantage to using symbols ultimately is a faster playback resulting from better download time. Some novice designers have trouble understanding how symbols can be applied and wind up creating unique shapes and graphics for every element in their movies. It's all a little unnecessary: Flash gives you powerful tools to modify symbols and versions can look completely different, again with negligible impact on the final movie file size.



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