Select and Edit Flash CS5 Shapes - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

After you create a shape in Adobe Flash Creative Suite 5, you can select and move it by using the Selection tool at the top of the Tools panel. Flash shapes are easy to edit because you can select the stroke and fill independently to separate one from the other.

To select and move the stroke or fill only, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Selection tool from the Tools panel.

  2. Click either your shape’s stroke or fill once to activate it.

    To select the entire shape, double-click the fill of your shape or use the Selection tool to drag around it on the stage.


  3. Click and drag the selected stroke or fill or use the arrow keys to separate it from the rest of the shape.

Modify fill and stroke colors

You can choose your fill and stroke colors ahead of time before you start drawing, but if you change your mind, modifying colors is easy to do. You can modify either the fill or stroke colors of a preexisting shape in these three ways:

  • Select the entire shape and change its fill and stroke colors from the swatches in the Property inspector.


  • Select the entire shape and change the fill and/or stroke colors by using the Fill and Stroke swatches on the Tools panel.

  • Specify colors on the Tools panel and use the Ink Bottle tool by clicking the stroke or use the Paint Bucket tool by clicking the fill.

To apply a fill color to your shape, select it on the stage and choose a color from the Fill swatch at the bottom of the Tools panel. Grab the Paint Bucket tool and click inside the shape.

To apply a stroke color, select a color from the Stroke swatch at the bottom of the Tools panel and select the Ink Bottle tool. Click the edge of your shape once to set a stroke with the selected color.

You can also set Fill or Stroke colors from the Fill and Stroke section of the Property inspector when the Ink Bottle or Paint Bucket tools are selected.

To remove a fill or stroke completely, select a shape and select None from either the Fill or Stroke color swatch.

Merge versus Object Drawing mode

Being able to freely tear apart shapes can be quite flexible and useful, though some people prefer to work with shapes as single objects (similar to Illustrator CS5). For this reason, Object Drawing mode was created; this optional mode automatically combines the stroke and fill of a shape into a single object, which you can move and resize as a whole.

A shape drawn in Object Drawing mode has a bounding box around it; the stroke and fill are moved together as one object.

You can enable Object Drawing mode when any drawing or shape tool is selected by clicking the Object Drawing mode button at the bottom of the Tools panel. Try drawing a shape on the stage — notice that the shape appears with a bounding box around it and that the stroke and fill can no longer be individually selected and separated.


To convert a shape drawn in Object Drawing mode to its raw form, select the shape and choose Modify→Break Apart or double-click the shape to edit it within the Drawing Object itself.

Unlike shapes drawn in Standard mode, drawing objects can’t be merged; break apart any drawing objects first or choose Modify→Combine Objects→Union to merge them.