8 Flash tips and tricks + one big cheat sheet

Flash, like many other computer programs, is full of hidden secrets to make work easier and faster. Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been working with tweens since the Clinton administration, here are helpful hints for the program.

Make animations more natural

Once a motion tween has been created, select anywhere in the shaded area and take a look at the Properties window. In the box marked “Ease,” slide the value up to naturally decelerate the tween or down to speed it up.

Convert bitmap images to vector

Kirupa.com has a quick tutorial on optimizing your images using the “Trace Bitmap” function in Flash. The entire process can take less than a minute, depending on the size of the image.

Make your audio crisp

A common mistake among Flash beginners is creating Flash files that have audio tracks of someone speaking, but in the final project the audio quality is distorted and the speaker is rendered unrecognizable. To correct this, click anywhere in the audio on the timeline. In the drop down menu select File > Publish Settings… Click the “Set…” buttons next to “Audio Stream” and “Audio Event” and change the compression to “Speech.”

Create invisible buttons

Sometimes creating invisible buttons on an existing background is necessary like in this project where the movie posters were laid out in Photoshop. To create this effect, simply create a button with blank up, over and down frames, and create a polygon that corresponds to the hit state you desire. The empty button will show up as a light blue on the stage, but invisible in the final product.

Label everything

Instead of coding ActionScript to go to frame numbers, create frame labels so if the timeline is adjusted, the routing will still be consistent.

Move that symbol faster

To nudge something across the workspace faster, hold down the Shift key while pressing the arrow buttons.

Download what you need

Sites like FlashKit, iStockPhoto and VCL Components offer Flash components like menus, audio players and scrollers that can be downloaded for free or for a fee. These sites will easily cut down on the time spent putting together the little things.

Skip Flash altogether

The Effect Generator is an incredibly simple and useful online tool for creating slideshows, scrollers, effects and more. The irony of the site having a Flash-based interface shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

Use a cheat sheet

Nothing makes life easier than a cheat sheet. Here is a Flash cheat sheet of keyboard shortcuts for PC, available in both PDF and in JPG formats.