How to Edit a Symbol in Fireworks CS5 - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

You can edit a symbol object or just one instance of it in Adobe Fireworks Creative Suite 5. You might want to edit the symbol object if you decide to change the color of all your buttons to orange at the same time, but you have to edit each symbol instance individually, if you want each button to have a different word on it.

To edit a symbol object or instance, right-click on the symbol and choose Symbol→Edit Symbol or choose Modify→Symbol→Edit Symbol. You are then entered into the Symbol editing mode. Here you can use your tools to reposition, recolor, retype, or make any other modifications that you’d make to any other graphic in Fireworks.

Exit the editing mode by clicking the arrow in the breadcrumbs bar in the upper-left of the workspace.


If you no longer want an object to be a symbol, choose Modify→Symbol→Break Apart.

Edit a symbol without breaking the link

At times, you may want to change an instance but maintain its link to the symbol object. Perhaps you’re creating a cool graphic effect of butterflies and want to change one butterfly’s position and opacity.


You can use the Properties panel to modify the following instance properties without affecting the symbol object or other symbol instances:

  • Blending mode

  • Opacity

  • Filters

  • Width and height

  • X and y coordinates

Edit a symbol component

At times, you need to break apart a symbol so that you can edit its components, perhaps to change their colors. To edit individual components of a symbol, follow these steps:

  1. Select the symbol instance you want to modify.

  2. Choose Modify→Symbol→Break Apart.

    The symbol instance is no longer linked to the symbol object.

  3. With the Subselection tool, select the components of the artwork that you want to edit.

    They’re now ready for you to make any changes that you would make to regular (nonsymbol) objects on the artboard.

    When you modify the original symbol object, this instance is no longer affected.