Section A.2. Getting Help from Flash

A.2. Getting Help from Flash

Flash's documentation isn't especially thorough or well-written , but it offers you a good place to start. You can search for a specific topic or read through multipage documents devoted to everything from Flash basics to ActionScript syntax and class definitions.

A.2.1. Flash Documentation: The Help Window

The Help window lets you search the Flash and ActionScript documentation you automatically installed on your computer when you installed Flash.

To use the Help window:

  1. Select Help Flash Help .

    The Help window in Figure A-1 appears.

    Figure A-1. To use Flash's Help window, type the word or phrase you're looking for in the search box and then click Search. To narrow your search, you can tell Flash to look only in a specific set of documentation books (such as Features, Components, or Tutorials Samples). But in most cases, you'll want to search All Books, as shown here. (If you knew enough about the term to know what book it belongs in, chances are you wouldn't have to search for help with it in the first place!)

  2. In the search box (Figure A-1), type the word or phrase with which you need help .

    Flash displays a list of topics in the left-hand side of the Help window.

  3. Click the topic that looks like the closest match to what you're searching for .

    Flash displays the text for that topic in the Help window's right-hand side. You may have to repeat this step several times to zero in on the information you want.

Note: To view Flash documentation online, choose either Help Flash LiveDocs or Help Flash Documentation Resource Center.
A.2.2. Flash Overview and Tutorials

Flash includes a quick overview of the product (what it is and what you can do with it) along with a handful of tutorials that cover different Flash features, such as using layers and creating motion tweens.

To view the Flash overview and tutorials, select Help Getting Started with Flash. When you do, the Help window in Figure A-1 appears, preloaded with links to the overview and tutorials.

A.3. Getting Help from Adobe

Adobe offers a variety of technical support options, from free to for-a-fee. Since Adobe acquired Flash's original developer, Macromedia, you still see the Macromedia name on many of the Web pages described in this section, but expect that to change in the future.

Note: As of this writing, all "" URLs listed in this appendix still work, or at least take you to the relevant page on Adobe's Web site. To make sure you get to the most up-to-date support page, use the Help menu, described next , instead of typing in a URL.

A.3.1. Online Articles, FAQs, and Sample Code

Adobe maintains two different Web sites containing articles on Flash, as well as sample code and answers to frequently asked Flash- related questions. One of these sites is designed for a basic level of Flash skill (Help Flash Support Center); the other (Help Flash Developer Center) focuses on advanced topics.

If you're interested in creating animations that folks can play on mobile devices such as mobile phones and PDAs, check out the Mobile and Devices Developer Center at

A.3.2. Forums

As of this writing, Adobe is continuing Macromedia's user-to- user forums , where anyone can ask a question about Flash and anyone can answer. User-to-user means that Adobe employees don't officially monitor the forums or answer any questions, so the feedback you get has no official sanction or guarantee of accuracy. Still, the best and fastest answers and advice often come from other folks in the trenches, so if you've worked your way through Macromedia Knowledge Base (online articles), FAQs, and documentation, these forums (Help Macromedia Online Forums) are definitely worth a look.

A.3.3. Direct Person-to-Person Help

Sometimes, nothing will do but asking a real, live technical support person for help. If you've purchased a supported copy of Flash (as opposed to a 30-day trial version), you get two freebie questions; after that, you have to pay Adobe's technical support staff $100 per question. (No, that's not a typo.)

To find out more or to sign up for for-fee technical support, select Help Flash Support Center, and then, from the Macromedia Flash Support Center Web site, click Contact Product Support.