Symbols can be pictures, movies or buttons. Symbols are useful because they:

You can create a new symbol or convert an existing graphic into a symbol.

Creating a new Symbol:

  1. Create a new flash movie
  2. Insert > symbol
  3. Once you click OK, Flash will take you into the Symbol Editing Mode where you will create your new symbol.
    Symbol Editng ModeBe aware of where you are in your work environment. Notice the name of your symbol and the graphic symbol icon appear above the stage next to the Scene name. This is a clue that you are in Symbol Edit Mode....NOT on the main stage. Learn to recognize these visual clues; they are the only indication that you are in symbol editing mode:
  4. Draw a ball

    When you are finished creating your Symbol, click on the Scene link to return to the main movie stage. Your Symbol will be in the Library waiting for you to use it. In the screen capture above, it is the ball. Notice the graphic icon to the left of the symbols name. Each symbol Behavior has a different icon. 

    If the Library panel does not appear, just go Window > Library OR press [F11] key OR press [Ctrl+L] keys.

    Flash refers to each copy of that symbol you actually use in a movie as an Instance of that symbol.

    back on main stage Be sure you are back at the main stage and drag an Instance of the ball symbol from the library on to the stage. You can have as many Instances of a symbol in your movie as you like/need. It will not increase file size because you are actually using only one graphic even though it may appear multiple times.

Converting an Existing Object into a Symbol:
  1. Convert to SymbolWith the Rectangle tool, draw a square object on your stage. Select it with the Arrow tool and then choose Convert to Symbol from the Insert menu or press the [F8] key. The Convert to Symbol dialog box will open. Give your Symbol a descriptive name with Graphic Behavior. The object on the stage is now an instance of the symbol and the symbol can be found in the Library. You can drag more Instances of the symbol onto the stage as needed without increasing the movie's file size.
  2. click the left arrow at the top left of the stage when finished
  3. open the library (ctrl-L)
  4. drag the symbol on stage where you want it to appear.

To make changes to all instances of your symbol:

  1. double click the icon to the left of the symbol name in the library to edit the symbol
  2. or double click a symbol on stage to edit the symbol
    NOTE: Editing the actual Symbol in Symbol Edit Mode will change every instance of it in the movie.

To make changes to a single instance of your symbol

  1. single click an instance of the symbol on stage to alter the properties of that instance (tint, brightness, alpha (transparency))
    See symbols in more detail to learn how to adjust these settings.
  2. to alter parts of a symbol, separate from the original, select it and choose modify > break apart (now changes will not effect other instances of the symbol)