How to Use Layers in Flash CS5 - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

Layers in Adobe Flash Creative Suite 5 help you arrange and stack your artwork. Think of layers in Flash as clear pieces of film stacked on top of each other. You use these layers to stack artwork and animations on the stage, allowing them to exist together visually but to be edited or moved independently from one another.

To create a new layer, click the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Timeline. The layer is automatically assigned a name; you can rename any layer by double-clicking its name and typing a new name.

To delete a layer, follow these steps:

  1. In the Timeline window below the stage, select the layer you want to delete.

    Hold down the Shift key to select multiple layers. You can then click the Trash icon to delete all selected layers at one time.

  2. Click the Delete Layer icon below the Timeline.

    The beauty of working with layers is that you can easily change the stacking order and appearance of artwork and animations distributed across those layers. To reorder layers, simply select a layer by clicking its label on the Timeline, and then click and drag the layer up or down in the stacking order and release it to its new position.

    Layers at the top of the list appear in front of other objects in lower layers; in contrast, layers at the bottom of the list appear below or behind items on higher layers.

Hide layers in Flash CS5

Two additional aspects of managing layers include toggling a layer and its contents to be visible or invisible and locking layers to prevent their contents from being accidentally moved or modified.

To toggle a layer’s visibility on or off, click any layer in the column below the Eye icon. To toggle all layers on or off, click the Eye icon at the top of the column.

Layer visibility affects only what you see inside the authoring environment and has no effect on the finished SWF file. Layers whose visibility is toggled off in your document still appear when published. You can, however, override this behavior in your document’s publish settings.

Lock layers in Flash CS5

Locking layers ensures that you don’t accidentally move or delete the artwork it contains. Make a habit of locking layers whenever you aren’t working with them.

To prevent layer contents from being modified, click any layer in the column below the Padlock icon. To unlock it, click the Padlock icon again. To lock or unlock all layers, click the Padlock icon at the top of the column.