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Using Symbols and the Library in Flash MX

Chapter Description

In this sample chapter, you'll learn to use Flash MX's symbols, libraries, and the Movie Explorer to manage your movies and keep them small, fast, and organized. You will also learn how to use and how to import bitmaps.

Opening an existing movie as a library

You are not limited to using the internal library of a Flash movie; you can open other Flash movie libraries by using the Open As Library command (File > Open As Library). You can drag items from one library to another, or you can drag items onto the stage.

You should have zoo9.fla open when you start this exercise.

1) Choose File > Open As Library. Browse the Open As Library dialog box to the Lesson03/Assets folder and select the assets.fla file. Click Open.

Figure 20

The library for assets.fla opens as either a separate Library panel or is nested with the Library panel for zoo9.fla. It's easy to tell which library belongs to assets.fla, because the name will appear in its title bar. Notice that the newly opened assets.fla library is gray, which indicates that it is not the current library for the file you are editing. You should also see that the buttons along the bottom of the assets.fla library are inactive—you can't edit the library if it's opened as a library, only if it's opened as a movie (File > Open).


You cannot open a movie that's opened as a library. For example, if you try to open assets.fla right now, using File > Open, Flash will tell you that the movie is already open. Technically, it is! You have to first close the library, then open the movie.

2) Select the Logo symbol in the assets.fla library. Drag the symbol to the zoo9.fla library. Then Drag the Panda symbol from the assets.fla library to the zoo9.fla library.

When you drag the Logo and Panda symbols into the zoo9.fla, make sure you don't drop them into the Bitmap folder. You should now have three symbols and a folder full of bitmaps in the zoo9.fla library.

Figure 21

When you add a symbol from another movie's library, you can drag it into the current movie's library, as you just did, or onto the stage. If a symbol in the current movie's library has the same name as a symbol you want to add from another movie's library, Flash will ask you if you want to replace the existing library asset. Make sure you don't replace an asset accidentally because you can't undo that mistake.


You can drag individual assets from another movie's library into the current movie's library as well as move entire folders. This capability is a great way to move a large number of assets from one movie to another.


You can only move assets into the current movie's library. In order to add assets to another movie's library, the movie must be open (File > Open).

3) Click the Options menu control in the top-right corner of the assets.fla library. Choose Close Panel.

The assets.fla library closes. If for some reason you needed to, you could now open assets.fla as a movie.

4) Save the file as zoo10.fla.

Now it's time to include some of the assets you added to the library to your movie.

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