Cheat Sheet

Flash CS3 For Dummies

From Flash CS3 For Dummies by Ellen Finkelstein, Gurdy Leete

You can use Flash CS3 to enhance your website by adding animated graphics and text, sounds, video, or interactive buttons to name just a few features. You can work more efficiently in Flash CS3 by using some common keyboard shortcuts, and by learning what functions the Tools panel and Flash menus allow you to perform.

Flash CS3 Common Keyboard Shortcuts

Many Flash CS3 menu commands offer keyboard shortcuts. The shortcuts are displayed on the menus, next to the command name. Here are some of the most commonly used keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl+N (Windows) or Command+N (Mac): Open the New Document dialog box so you can start a new movie.

  • Ctrl+O (Windows) or Command+O (Mac): Open an existing movie.

  • Ctrl+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac): Save your movie. Use this shortcut often!

  • Ctrl+X (Windows) or Command+X (Mac): Cut to the Clipboard.

  • Ctrl+C (Windows) or Command+C (Mac): Copy to the Clipboard.

  • Ctrl+V (Windows) or Command+V (Mac): Paste from the Clipboard.

  • Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (Mac): Undo. Would you believe that by default Flash remembers your last 100 actions and can undo them? What a relief! And if you choose Window→Other Panels→History, the History panel lists each action so you know what the next Undo will undo. Think of it as a journey into the long-forgotten past.

  • Ctrl+Y (Windows) or Command+Y (Mac): Redo. This redoes actions that you undid by using the Undo button. (Got that?) This button remembers just as many actions as the Undo button. If you undo more actions than you want, click Redo (or press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y) until you're back where you want to be. Using the Undo and Redo buttons is like traveling through Flash time — and it gives you lots of slack while you're working.

  • Ctrl+Q (Windows) or Command+Q (Mac): Exit Flash.

Flash CS3 Tools Panel

The Tools panel in Flash CS3 contains all the drawing tools as well as many editing tools. You'll use this panel a lot! Most drawing tools have their own modifiers that control how the drawing tool works. In the image below, you see only one set of modifiers — the ones for the Brush tool. Other tools offer different modifiers, so the options section of the Tools panel will look different depending on the tool you're using.

Several buttons have flyouts, which are like submenus for toolbars. You click a tiny arrow at the lower-right corner of the button to display additional tools. For example, the Rectangle flyout reveals the Oval tool, the Rectangle Primitive tool, the Oval Primitive tool, and the PolyStar tool.

Note: Shortcuts for each tool appear in parentheses.


Discovering the Flash CS3 Menus

In Flash CS3, most drawing functions are available only in the Tools panel. Almost every other function in Flash is on a menu somewhere — you just need to find it. Here's an overview of the menus.

Menu What It Does
Flash (Mac only) Enables you to set preferences, create keyboard shortcuts, and quit Flash.
File Enables you to open and close files; save files; import and export files; print; publish movies for the web; revert to a previous version of the file; send a movie via e-mail, and quit Flash.
Edit Provides commands that let you undo and redo actions; cut, copy, and paste to and from the Clipboard; delete, duplicate, select, and deselect objects; find and replace; copy and paste entire frames and motions on the Timeline; edit symbols; set preferences (Windows only); customize the Tools panel; and create keyboard shortcuts for commands (Windows only).
View Helps you get a better view by letting you zoom in and out; show or hide the ruler, grid, and guides; and specify snapping preferences for objects for easy placement.
Insert Enables you to insert symbols; insert and delete Timeline features, such as frames and keyframes; insert layers; add Timeline effects; and add scenes.
Modify Helps you modify symbols, bitmaps, shapes, frames, Timeline features and effects, scenes, or the entire movie (called the document). Offers tools for transforming, aligning, grouping, and ungrouping objects, arranging and aligning objects, and breaking objects apart.
Text Enables you to format text and check spelling.
Commands Enables you to reuse and manage saved commands. A command is any action that you take in Flash, such as drawing or editing objects. You can save commands from the History panel.
Control Provides options that let you control the playing of movies; test movies and scenes; engage certain interactive functions; and mute sounds.
Debug Provides tools for debugging ActionScript code.
Window Enables you to open lots of things, including a duplicate window, panels that help you control objects, the Library, windows for creating interactive controls, workspaces, and the Movie Explorer.
Help Comes to the rescue when you need help. You can find a wide variety of resources in this new version, including Adobe online forums.
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