Introducing Panel Sets

You've been using panels all along and probably didn't even know it. A panel is really just a window with a few special properties. Panels can be docked with other panels, and they can be expanded and collapsed. The Property inspector is a panel, as is the cast, the Stage, and other windows. A panel set represents the entire layout of Director's various panels. A panel set stores where each panel is located, what its size is, if it's docked or floating, and where it is docked.


In the Windows version of Director, there are two docking channels in the interface, one on the left side and one on the right. The Tool palette, for instance, will be in the left docking channel while the Property inspector will be in the right docking channel. In the Macintosh version, there are no such docking channels, but panels can still be docked to one another to form columns of panels. The only real benefit to the docking channels in Windows is that the channels can be hidden and revealed by clicking the little arrow in the channel separator.

Clicking on the small arrow in the docking channel separator will hide or reveal the docking channel and any panels within the channel.

Because different people work in different ways, panel sets allow you to position and size the various windows any way you like, and then save your layout. You can easily switch between saved panel sets. Whatever panel set is in use when you close Director will appear the next time you open it.

All panels share some common elements:

By clicking and dragging on a panel's gripper, you can not only move the panel around, you can dock it to other panels, dock it into a docking channel (in Windows), or if it's already docked, you can pull it out of dock and make it floating.

When you're dragging a panel around by its gripper, sections of the interface will be highlighted, telling you that the panel can be docked there. Not every panel can be docked to every other panel. Some logic does apply here. For instance, you can't dock the Property inspector to the cast but you can dock it to the Behavior inspector.


Position the mouse over the Property inspector's gripper. The pointer will change to a four-way arrow. Click and drag the PI out of dock and onto the Stage.

When you drag the Property inspector onto the Stage, it becomes a floating panel. It's also modal, in the sense that it will float on top of any other window you place it in front of. This can be a bit annoying, so it's usually best to find a spot for the PI and leave it there.


Click and drag the Code panel by its gripper out of dock and drop it onto the Stage to make it floating.

The Code panel contains the Library palette, the Behavior inspector, and the Object inspector. You should now have two floating panels on the Stage: the Property inspector and the Code panel.


Again, drag the Code panel by its gripper, but now drag it over the Property inspector. The panel highlights when another panel can be docked with it.

When you drag the Code panel over the Property inspector, you will see that the PI is highlighted, indicating that you can dock the two panels.


Drop the Code panel on the Property inspector to dock the two panels.

The two panels become one cohesive, floating unit. If you don't like how the two panels are stacked, you can change their stacking order quite easily. For instance, if the Property inspector is docked at the bottom and you'd like it on top, simply drag Property inspector by its gripper and move it up. When you get it far enough, a highlight will appear above the topmost panel. In the following figure, the highlight above the top panel indicates that the panel being dragged up will become the new top panel.

If you drop the panel now, with the highlight showing, the stacking order will change and the Property inspector will become the new topmost panel in the group.


Click the Expander/Collapser button on both panels to make the floating group as small as possible.

Toggling the Expander/Collapser button hides and reveals the panel. This is a nice feature to save screen space when you don't need the panel but don't necessarily want to close it. You should experiment now with moving the various panels around and seeing which ones will dock where. When you're finished, let's save a custom panel set just to see how to do it. For this book you can use the default panel set until you decide how you want to arrange the interface to your liking. The interface layout that I use for development looks like this:


Choose Window > Panel Sets from the top menu.

On the flyout menu you'll see all of these options except for Dave, which is my own personal layout shown previously.


On the flyout, choose Save Panel Layout…

Give your panel set a nameyour own name will do nicely. When you press OK, the name you gave your panel set will now appear in the list of available panel sets along with Default and Director 8. Anytime in the future you wish to rearrange your workspace to your liking, you can do so through the Panel Sets menu.

Macromedia Director MX 2004. Training from the Source
Macromedia Director MX 2004: Training from the Source
ISBN: 0321223659
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 166
Authors: Dave Mennenoh

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