Chapter 2. Creating Layouts Quickly

The techniques used in this chapter enable you to create and modify layouts efficiently, leaving you more time to daydream about the next project and prepare your speech for the awards ceremony that will inevitably follow.

Having to manually repeat common tasks, such as drawing a box, can slow you down. To speed up development, Flash can automate almost any set of steps. In this chapter, we’ll explore some cool ways to streamline your workflow by automating the creation of a symbol, editing multiple instances of it at once, and getting things aligned with precision using almost no energy.

Know Your History Panel

If you created all of those boxes in Chapter 1, you may be looking for a faster way to get the job done. Fortunately, there is a way! Understanding how Flash tracks the tasks we perform helps us automate the process. Soon, you’ll be able to create a box with a mere flick of the wrist, so nothing will get in the way of your creative process.

Tracking History

The History panel is new to Flash MX 2004 and Flash Pro. The History panel begins as a blank slate and tracks actions as they occur so that tasks can be undone and redone step-by-step, recorded, and replayed, saving you time and energy. To take advantage of this feature, let’s make some history:

  1. Create a new, blank document and save it as history.fla in the 02 folder (in the FOTB folder on your hard drive).

  2. Choose Window Other Panels History to open the History panel.

  3. Activate the Rectangle ...

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