2.4. Behind Every Good Symbol Is a Good Editor
An important factor in feeling good about your design choices is knowing that you can experiment now and change them later. You've now created several symbols, in a variety of ways, but you may be wondering how to change an existing symbol. As an example, you'll get rid of the stroke in the box_mc symbol you created in your animation.fla file. This will refine the look of your layout and eliminate any possible distraction from distorting lines during your eventual animation.
Pick up where you left off, and edit the box_mc symbol:
Open the animation.fla file you recently finished. For quick access, it should be in the left column of your Start panel; if you have disabled this feature, use the File Open Recent menu command to access the file.
Choose Edit Edit Selected.
You've just entered the fourth dimension, where there are no physical boundaries and space exists endlessly. Actually, you've entered Symbol Editing mode, but some strange things have happened nonetheless. For starters, the other content on the Stage has disappeared. Also, the Edit bar now says Scene 1, box_mc, as shown in Figure 2-9.
Figure 2-9. The Edit bar, while in Symbol Editing mode for the box_mc symbol
If you edit symbols in this way, they appear on their own canvas, without distraction from surrounding elements in your main movie. However, this is a double-edged sword, because your other movie elements are not visible for reference. In most cases, it is helpful to use a different menu command, Edit Edit in Place. This will bring you to the same editing environment but will merely dim the surrounding elements without hiding them, allowing you to edit the symbol with some degree of visual context. For more information about editing symbols, see the "Symbol Editing Mode sidebar.
|Symbol Editing Mode|
As discussed in Chapter 1, a symbol is a single object, from which all instances of that object are derived.
Although all instances of a symbol share a common instruction set, each instance can have its own characteristics, or properties. For example, instances of the box_mc symbol can have different colors, dimensions, and levels of opacity while still being derived from a single symbol. Altering the properties of a single instance will affect only that instance, which means that you can use the same symbol in many different ways.
However, if you edit a symbolfor example, removing a stroke from a shape thereinall instances created from that symbol will be changed. Symbol Editing mode is the editing environment that allows you to modify any symbol.
As you'll learn in Chapter 4, a button is a special type of symbol that has a predefined structure. However, editing graphic and movie clip symbols is very much like editing your main document. This is because graphics and movie clips are, in some ways, like Flash movies within a Flash movie. They share most of the same characteristics of your main movie, which can sometimes lead to confusion.
The Edit bar at the top of the main document window, shown in Figure 2-9, is the key to keeping track of where you are in the Flash environment. When in Symbol Editing mode (or simply "Edit mode"), the Edit bar tells you that, instead of editing Scene 1, you are now editing a symbol that is used in Scene 1.
This distinction is important to remember, because if you accidentally enter Edit mode by double-clicking a symbol (which has the same result as choosing Edit Edit in Place), youll have to undo any inadvertent changes made to the symbol and find your way back to your main document.
All that remains is to delete the stroke from the box_mc symbol:
Select the entire stroke of the shape and delete it. (If you used Object Drawing mode when creating the box, either double-click again to edit the object, or select it and break it apart. You will then be able to select and delete the stroke.)
Use the Edit bar to return to Scene 1 (by clicking on Scene 1).
Save your work and close your file.
You will see that every instance of the box_mc symbol has been updated to reflect the change. The layout on the Stage is unaffected, but those ugly strokes are gone for good.