In Flash 8, you can create strokes and fills separately or together using one of the shape drawing tools. Tools like the Line and the Pencil tool draw only strokes, which essentially is just a line. Strokes can have different styles and thicknesses, as well as different colors. Strokes can be drawn independently of shapes; besides drawing freehand with the Pencil or Line tool, you can select a shape tool, shut off the fill color, set a stroke color, and draw the outline of a shape. You can use the Ink Bottle tool to change strokes that have already been drawn by selecting the tool, changing its settings in the Property inspector, and clicking a stroke with the tool. Presto! The stroke is now different.
The Brush tool draws areas of fill. A fill, which is the area inside of a closed or open shape, can be a solid, linear or radial gradient, or a bitmap image. Shapes with gaps can contain fills, as long as the gaps aren't too large, and any stroke that creates a shape can be filled in with the Paint Bucket tool. When you use one of the shape tools, be it Oval, Rectangle, or Polystar, Flash will by default draw a shape with both a stroke and a fill. You can prevent the stroke from being drawn by selecting the stroke control color in the colors area of the Tools panel and clicking the No Color button. You can add strokes to fills that have none by clicking them with the Ink Bottle tool.
When you draw a shape or a stroke on the Stage, you have two drawing models to select from: the Merge Drawing model (default) and the Object Drawing model.
In the Merge Drawing model, when you draw an object on the Stage with both stroke and fill, the stroke and fill are treated as two separate objects. If you click and drag in the center of the shape, the fill is dragged away from the stroke when you let go of the mouse cursor. To select both the stroke and fill at the same time, you must double-click the object. What's more, if two objects of differing colors touch, the shape in the lower stacking order is merged with the shape in the higher stacking order. If you click and draw the shapes apart, the merged shape will be permanently altered. The effect makes it look as if the object in the lower layer has been "punched out." Same color shapes are treated as a single object where they touch.
This whole merging thing seems like a real drag at first, and it can be difficult to get used to the independent strokes and fills. After you work with it for a while, however, you'll see that it really allows you to create more interesting shapes and effects that you couldn't otherwise do. Still, you have a few options to prevent punch out from happening: Group the shapes (which has the added advantage of putting the stroke and fill into one "box"), draw your graphics on different layers, or use the Object Drawing model.
In the Object Drawing model, shapes are drawn as separate objects. If they overlap, they won't merge because the shapes are essentially grouped when drawn. To toggle on or off the Object Drawing model, click the Object Drawing button in the options area of the Tools panel with a shape tool selected.