CSS Styles in Flash MX 2004
         by kirupa

A new feature in Flash MX 2004 is the ability to use imported CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) data for your text. Instead of having a large block of text using the same font, color, and style, you can use CSS to define custom text properties without having to break your text into multiple text fields.

This tutorial will briefly teach you how to apply an external CSS style to your animation. Later on, I will explain why the code works the way it does, which CSS tags are supported, and even delve into creating your own CSS tags within Flash itself. This will be fun...seriously!

The following animation is an example of a single block of text formatted with a CSS style sheet loaded from an external location:

[ ah! - the joys of CSS ]

How to CSS-ize your text:

  1. Create a new document in Flash MX 2004. Make your movie size large enough so that you can display some text in it.
  2. Now, click on the Text Tool icon from your toolbox on the left. In the Properties panel toward the bottom, select Dynamic Text:

[ select dynamic text ]

  1. Once you have Dynamic Text selected, draw a text box in your movie drawing area. Make the text box large enough so that you can display a few lines of text without any problems:

[ draw your text box ]

  1. With the textbox drawn, you will need to make a slight adjustment using your Properties Panel. In your text Properties Panel, ensure that Multiline no wrap is selected, and also ensure that the Render text as HTML button is selected:

[ notice the solid dot in your timeline ]

  1. I'm sure you are sick of the Properties Panel by now, but there remains one more important step we need to finish. On the left side of your Properties Panel, make sure you replace < instance name > with the improved word output:

[ give your text box the instance name 'output' ]

  1. You are finished dealing with the textbox. It's time to add the actions. Select the first frame and press the F9 key to display your actions window. Copy and paste the following code:

[ copy and paste the following code in your Actions panel ]

  1. Go to File | Publish Preview | HTML and you should see your animation in your browser. Notice that the text is formatted in a similar fashion to the animation you saw earlier.

We are far from being done with this tutorial though. While we now have a working animation, it is really beneficial to you if you learn how and why the code works to display the animation. The next page will discuss the ActionScript, clarify a few vague points, and the third page will cover more CSS/Flash topics.

Let's proceed to the next page.



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