The secret to productivity is to work smarter, not harder. And the secret to smart work is to avoid doing the same thing more than once. Flash understands. The program gives you ways to reuse bits and pieces of your animations—everything from simple shapes to complex drawings, multiframe sequences, and even entire animations. Create something once, reuse it as many times as you like.
Reusing animation elements can save you more than just time and effort—Flash lets you store pieces of animation as reusable master copies that can actually whittle the size of your finished animation file. That's great news if you plan to put your animation up on a Web site or shoot it out to handhelds. The smaller your file size, the faster it downloads, which makes you less likely to lose your audience to impatience.
Finally, if your work requires you to create animations that are so many variations on a theme, you can save documents as templates. Flash has templates representing many common document sizes like banner ads and cellphone screens so that you don't have to start from scratch. You can also save templates containing the pictures, logos, and other elements that appear in just about all your documents.
Flash gives you two additional reuse options that are useful only in certain situations, and so are covered elsewhere in this book. You can export and import images (and animated clips) that you've created in either Flash or some other program ...