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In Flash Professional CS5 Essential Training, author Todd Perkins explains the fundamentals of Flash Professional CS5, the industry standard for creating animations and interactive applications for the web, desktop, and mobile devices. This course starts with the basics, such as using the drawing tools to create simple animations, and progresses to automating animation with tweens and adding interactivity with ActionScript. This course also covers how to add sound and video to projects, enhance realism with effects like easing, and publish a project to a variety of platforms. Exercise files are included.
In Flash, there are two different types of text fields. There are fixed-width text fields and variable-width text fields. On the Stage here, I have some text, which I'll select with the Selection tool. To tell whether your text is fixed-width or variable-width, double-click your text to enter Text Editing mode. When you are in Text Editing mode, look at the bottom-right of your text field. If you see a circle, then that is a variable-width text field. Variable-width text fields expand horizontally as you add more text.
So if I add more text after California, you'll see the text field expands horizontally. I'll press Escape now to exit Text Editing mode. Now let's say you wanted to create a variable-width text field. All you have to do is use the Text tool and then click on the Stage and begin typing. Now, I'll undo that text field. Now let's look at fixed-width text fields. A fixed-width text field anchors the width of the text and the height of the text field expands as you add more text.
To convert a variable-width text field into a fixed-width text field, double-click the text field to enter Text Editing mode, and then double-click the circle at the bottom-right of the variable-width text field. Notice the text field updates to have squares on the left and on the right. This shows that I am working in a fixed-width text field. Notice that when I changed from a variable-width text field to a fixed-width text field that the square of the top right has red lines inside of it. This is a visual cue that the text field has overflow text.
So I am going to need to expand the width or height of the text field to get that text in there. So this time I am going to expand the width of the text field since I don't want the A on California to be on a separate line. So I am going to click- and-drag at the right edge. See these boxes around the text field? There are eight boxes around that you can click-and-drag to change the size of the text field. So the ones at the top and bottom expand the height, the ones at the left and right expand the width, and the ones in the corners expand width and height.
I am going to drag the handle on the right to fit all of that text in there. You can see that the box at the top right is updated to have a white inside. I am going to press Escape to exit Text Editing mode, and we'll look at how to create a fixed-width text field using the Text tool. I am going to deselect the text on the Stage and then I am going to go to the Text tool and to create a fixed-width text field, I'm going to click-and-drag the text area. So instead of clicking once, you click-and-drag and you can specify the width of your text field.
So I have my text field now and as I type text in it, you'll see that the text field does not expand horizontally. Rather the overflow goes vertical. So if I click-and-drag the text to expand it vertically, it can accommodate all the text that I have written inside of the text field. I am just going to undo creating that text field. So using fixed and variable-width text fields, you can customize the presentation of your text in Flash.
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