Buttons in Flash - Page 1
       by kirupa  |  17 August 2009

Whenever you click on something, there is a very good chance that what you clicked on is a button. This is not something specific to just Flash - almost all applications use buttons for doing something. Given how common place they are, lets use this tutorial as a way of familiarizing ourselves with buttons in Flash!

By the end of this tutorial, you will have created a button that looks and functions similar to the following:

[ Hover over and click on the button ]

In the above example, I have a small button made up of some image and text. Play with the button by hovering over it with your mouse and clicking on it. There are two things I want you to notice. First, notice that the look of the button changes as you mouse over and click it. Second, depending on whether you are mousing over or clicking, some text below changes to display what action you just performed.

Creating the Look of the Button
In this and the following pages, you'll learn how to do everything seen in the above example from actually creating your button to writing the code. Let's get started:

  1. Launch Flash CS4, and Create a new Flash document. Feel free to tweak some settings such as the stage size, frame rate, etc., but none of that is important for this tutorial. Just make sure that you have a blank artboard:

[ is there nothing sweeter than a blank stage? ]

  1. What you are going to do next is add an image. If you need an image, I am using the Flash icon from the Silk Icons set, so feel free to use it:

You cannot copy and paste an image into Flash from your browser. Instead, you have to save the image to your hard drive and then insert it by dragging/dropping from your hard drive and into your document or by going to File | Import | Import to Stage.
Your perfectly empty stage now contains a lonely image:

[ your stage now has the image you inserted ]

  1. Next, let's add some text. Use the Text tool from your Tools panel and write something generic like Click Here:

[ write some text to go along with the image ]

  1. Right now, you should have two elements on your artboard - the image and the text. What we want to do is convert both of these elements into a single button. Doing this is fairly straightforward. First, select both your image and your text:

[ select both your image and text ]

With both of these elements selected, hit F8 or go to Modify | Convert to Symbol to launch the Convert to Symbol dialog. In this dialog, for the name, write simpleButton, and under Type, select the Button type:

[ give your new symbol the type Button and name simpleButton ]

Once you have done this hit OK to accept the changes you have made and to close the Convert to Symbol dialog.

  1. Right now, nothing much will seem to have changed. If you look closely, the two elements you had selected before have been condenesed into just a single element:

[ your selection has been condensed into one element now ]

Looking in your Properties panel paints a much clearer picture.

[ the properties inspector is more clear ]

What you have selected is now a button - as you would have expected after having completed the previous step.

  1. Ok, great. You now have a button. Press Ctrl + Enter to test your application and to see your button at work. When you hover over your button, notice that your mouse cursor changes from an arrow to a hand:

[ you have a very simple button ]

The only visual indicator you have that this is a button is the mouse cursor changing. We want go a bit further, so let's look into that starting on the next page.

Onwards to the next page!

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