Displaying Library Content in AS 3.0 - Page 1
       by kirupa  |  29 April 2007

The Library in Flash acts as a repository where all of your custom graphics, buttons, movie clips, external content, etc. is stored. From the Design view, accessing elements from the Library is very easy. You just drag and drop what you want onto your stage. In many situations, though, you may be required to use code to display your library items on an as-needed basis. This tutorial covers just that scenario where Library content is displayed on your stage, and you'll learn how using Flash CS3's ActionScript 3 language.

At the end of the tutorial, you will have created something that looks similar to the following image where the various circles were displayed on the stage using nothing but code:


If you are coming from an AS 2.0 or earlier background, one of the major changes in ActionScript (AS) 3 is that the attachMovie function is no longer supported. In the past, if you had Library content that you wanted to display on your stage, you would call the attachMovie function, pass in the Linkage name of your library item, add a few more pieces of data, and your content would be displayed on your screen. In AS3 there are some similarities to that approach, but there are some differences also.

Let's Get Started:

  1. First, create a new animation in Flash CS3. From the Properties panel, click the button next to the Size text and set the animation's width and height to 300 pixels by 200 pixels respectively:

[ set your animation's width/height to 300 by 200 ]

  1. Now that our stage's width and height have been setup just the way we want, let's draw a circle. Using the Circle tool, draw a circle with a blue solid-fill color:

[ draw a blue, solid, filled circle ]

  1. Make sure your circle has been selected and press F8 or go to Modify | Convert to Symbol. The Convert to Symbol window will appear. For name, enter circle and make sure the Movie Clip option has been selected:

[ give your symbol the name circle and make sure it is also set to be a movie clip ]

Do not hit OK just yet. Let's make some more modifications.

  1. From the same Convert to Symbol window, find the area marked Linkage. If you do not see the Linkage area, press the Advanced button to display it. Check the box that says Export for Actionscript. A few lines above that, in the Class field, replace whatever text is displayed (probably circle) with the text BlueCircle:

[ check 'Export for ActionScript and enter BlueCircle for your class ]

The Base class field will automatically be populated for you, but if it hasn't, make sure to enter flash.display.MovieClip as shown in the above image.

  1. Press OK to close the Convert to Symbol window. After you have pressed OK, you will see your Library display your newly created symbol:

[ your circle in your Library ]

If you do not see your Library, press Ctrl + L to display it.

  1. At this point, your circle movie clip is stored in the Library, and you have a copy of that same clip on your stage right now. Select the blue circle movie clip located on your stage and delete it by pressing the Delete key. You should now have a blank stage with nothing in it.
  2. Let's add some code. Right click on the first frame in your timeline and select Actions. The Actions window will appear, and in this window, copy and paste the following code:
function Main() {
this.addChild(new BlueCircle());
  1. Once you have pasted the above code into your Actions window, press Ctrl + Enter to preview your animation in the Flash Player. You should see something similar to the following:

[ your circle displayed on the top-left corner ]

Technically, that is really all there is to taking content from your Library and displaying it on your stage. There are actually a lot more things that can be done, so in the next page I will go through and provide some new tips as well as code explanations.

Onwards to the next page!

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