Align Flash CS5 Objects with Grids, Guides, and Snap - dummies

Align Flash CS5 Objects with Grids, Guides, and Snap

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

In Adobe Flash Creative Suite 5, visual aides are indispensable when you need to line up, arrange, or measure objects on the Flash CS5 stage with absolute accuracy. Some designs will take advantage of the place-it-anywhere flexibility that Flash provides, but other designs demand more precise control over placement and sizing.

In these cases, you can take advantage of the large array of Flash visual aids and helpers, many of which you can enable and set from the View menu. The Flash built-in rulers appear on the top and left edges of the stage and are used to position and measure objects on the stage. You also use the rulers to create vertical and horizontal guides by dragging them off the ruler bars.

Ruler units are in pixels by default, but you can choose Modify→Document to change to other measurement units, such as inches, centimeters, or millimeters.

The top ruler represents the X, or horizontal axis, and the left ruler represents the Y, or vertical axis. The upper left corner of the stage represents absolute 0 for both X and Y, with X increasing as you move right and Y increasing as you move down.

These visual aids don’t appear in any way in your final movie; they’re strictly for your benefit during the design and building process.

Use rules and guiles in Flash CS5

To set up and use rulers and guides, follow these steps:

  1. In a new document, choose View→Rulers.

    The rulers appear on the top and left edges of your stage.

  2. Click and drag anywhere on the stage.

    Markers on both rulers follow to indicate your X and Y positions and the width of your selection area. Now you can create guides that you can use to position artwork on the stage.

  3. Click the top ruler bar and drag down.

    You’re carrying a guide with you while you drag.

  4. Watch the ruler on the left and drop the guide where you want it.

    Use the left ruler for reference so that you know exactly how far down you’re placing the new guide — for example, at 120 pixels.


  5. Click and drag on the top ruler again to place another guide.

    Position this one slightly above the one you previously created — for example, place it at 100 pixels.

  6. Use the Type tool to create a single line of type on the stage.

    Use a large enough font that you can easily see and drag the new text.


  7. Choose the Selection tool; grab the text with it and drag until the bottom of the text snaps in place on the lower guide you’ve created.

Use snapping in Flash CS5

Your text snaps easily to the new guides because of a built-in mechanism — snapping. Think of snapping as turning on a magnetic force that allows objects to adhere to each other or to visual helpers (such as guides) to make positioning easier. By default, Snap Align, Snap to Guides, and Snap to Objects are enabled (choose View→Snapping). You can also enable Snap to Pixels and Snap to Grid.