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Modifying Simple Graphics in Flash MX, Part 1

Repositioning Elements Manually

If you aren't happy with the position of an element, you can always move it.

To reposition an element with the arrow tool:

  1. Position the arrow tool over the element you want to move.

    The element doesn't need to be selected, although it can be. The arrow tool displays the selection icon as it hovers over the element.

  2. Click the element, and drag it to the desired location (Figure 3.19).

    Figure 3.19Figure 3.19 Use the arrow tool to select and drag an element to a new location.

    An outline preview appears to help you position the element as you drag it.

  3. Release the mouse button.

    The element is now selected and in its new location.

    TIP

    Turn on rulers (View > Rulers) to help you position your element. As you drag the element around the Stage, guide lines indicating the height and width of the element's bounding box (see the sidebar "How Flash Tracks Elements") appear in the ruler area (Figure 3.20).

    Figure 3.20Figure 3.20 The longer lines in the ruler area indicate the edges of the element you are dragging.

To reposition an element with the arrow keys:

  1. In the Toolbox, select the arrow tool.

  2. Select the element you want to move.

  3. Use one of the four arrow keys on the keyboard to move the element in 1-pixel increments.

    The up-arrow key moves the element toward the top of the Stage. The down-arrow key moves the element toward the bottom of the Stage. The right-arrow key moves the element toward the right side of the Stage. The left-arrow key moves the element toward the left side of the Stage.

    TIP

    To beef up the arrow keys' capability to move an element, hold down the Shift key. Each press of Shift-arrow moves a selected element 10 pixels.

How Flash Tracks Elements

To keep track of an element's size and position on the Stage, Flash encloses each element in a bounding box—an invisible rectangle just big enough to enclose the element. Flash then treats the Stage as a giant graph, with the top-left corner of the Stage as the center of the x and y axis (Figure 3.21). Flash locates elements by means of x and y coordinates on that graph. The units of measure for the graph are the ones currently selected in the Document Property dialog box (to learn more about document property, see Chapter 1). The Shape Property Inspector and the Info panel show you the x and y coordinates for an element's current position and also display the height and width of the element's bounding box. Flash calculates an element's position on the Stage either from the top-left corner of the element's bounding box or from the element's center point (the point at the exact center of the bounding box).

Figure 3.21Figure 3.21 The dotted line here represents the x-y axis of the Stage. The origin—the 0 point both horizontally and vertically—is the top-left corner of the Stage.

By entering new x and y coordinates for Height and Width in the Shape Property Inspector or the Info panel, you can change an element's position and size. (For more information on resizing elements, see "Changing the Size of Graphic Elements" later in this chapter.)

9. Repositioning Elements Numerically | Next Section Previous Section