Simple Custom Scrollbar
       by kirupa  |  19 January 2006

Scrollbars are great for displaying a lot of information within a small area. Despite their importance, we often take scrollbars for granted. For example, your browser window should display a scrollbar on the right side of this page for allowing you to easily scroll down. We don't really think about them;- we just expect them to be there when the need arises.

Yet, creating a scrollbar is trickier than using one. In this tutorial, you will learn how to create your own compact, easily customizable scrollbar in Flash. Even though Flash comes with several scrolling components, the scrollbar you will be creating allows for easier customization along with a significantly smaller file size compared to its built-in variation.

The following is an example of what you will be creating:

[ click and drag down on the blue square to scroll through the content ]

Creating a Scrollbar:

  1. Okay, letís get started by downloading the provided incomplete source below. Don't worry, the partial source only contains the content that you will be scrolling:

Download Partial Source for Flash 8

  1. Once you unzip and open the scrollerIncomplete.fla file, all you should see is a large movie clip containing some text and images. Select the movie clip and give it the instance name contentMain:

[ give your content movie clip the instance name contentMain ]

  1. Now, we need to create a mask that will only display the portion of the content we would like to see. Insert a new layer and call it mask.
  2. Make sure your newly created mask layer is selected. On the stage, draw a medium sized square. Select your square, and enter the following values in the Properties panel for the square:
    1. Width: 300
    2. Height: 200
    3. X: 0
    4. Y: 0

    You are basically creating a 300x200 rectangle that covers up your entire drawing area. Your Properties panels should look similar to the following image:

[ ensure your rectangle is 300x200 with a x/y offset of 0 ]

  1. Select your rectangle and press F8 (Modify | Convert to Symbol). Select the option for Movie Clip and press OK.
  2. With your rectangle converted to a movie clip, let's give it an instance name. Ensure the newly converted movie clip is selected. In the Properties panel, give it the instance name maskedView:

  1. With your rectangle created and properly sized, right click on your mask layer and select Mask. You will notice that your contentMain movie clip only takes up the space filled by your rectangle:

[ your content is no longer overflowing from the stage; it is masked ]

On the next page, you will add the scroll track and the scroll  face (dragger). You'll have a fully functioning scrollbar in no time!

Onwards to the next page!

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