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In a Flash project, there are several different ways to treat text. For example, sometimes text appears somewhere inside of your layout as pure information, meaning you just want to identify something, maybe even as a graphic, for example, like here it says Find Your Tour or Explore California. Other times, you may want to create dynamic text. For example, here it says Monthly Specials, but maybe I want to create some kind of code so that somebody could change that to weekly specials or kind of change it up as necessary. Maybe even it's wrapped with a database, so we could change in real-time.
There is actually a third type of text that you can have inside of a Flash project, and that's something called input text. Sometimes, for example, filling out a form online, like maybe you want to enter your e-mail address to enter a contest. Well, as you go ahead and you type that text into a field, you can specify how that text looks as well. So there are really three different ways to treat text when you think about Flash projects. One of the nice things about working with Illustrator and creating your designs in Illustrator is that you have the ability to kind of build this intelligence into your artwork in the Illustrator stage, so that later when you get into Flash Professional, all of these settings are already there for you.
At the very least, even if you're handing this off to a Flash Developer, that developer will easily be able to identify what you had in mind when you created your design. Now, the way that you control these settings is through a special panel inside of Illustrator, which you can find by going to the Window menu, scrolling down to where it says Type, and then choosing Flash Text. This opens up a dedicated panel that deals specifically in working with text that's going to go into Flash Professional. Now, when you click on any text object, like in this case here I'll click on Monthly Specials, you can see that right now the default setting is that this type is set to static text, meaning this text is not intended to change at all.
It's purely informational at this point. However, I can choose between two other options. I can choose Dynamic Text, meaning that this text will be changed, for example, by some kind of a script, or maybe a database. I can also choose Input Text, as we said before, maybe if I want to create some kind of a field where someone can actually type information into my Flash project. Now, in this case here, I am going to choose Dynamic Text, and when I do so, Illustrator is going to inform me that that there are some limitations to this, meaning that Illustrator's rich typography features may not translate perfectly when using both dynamic or input text.
I am going to click OK, and you can see that I have the ability to assign an instance name to this text. Obviously, if I'm writing a script to change that text, I need some way to be able to reference that on a script. So I can assign an instance name to that text, and I can also choose between a variety of different rendering types. Do I want this text to be more readable, is this text going to be animated, and this way Illustrator can kind of apply the best possible type of rendering for the use of this type. If I choose input text, I'll have a few other options here, for example, specifying the maximum number of characters that I'll allow in that particular text field.
Of course, this is only the beginning. I really need to fine-tune all these settings once I get into Flash Professional, but as a designer I can specify the intent for this text so that there is less work to do later on.
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