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Approaches to Working with Text in Flash, Part 1

Working with text in previous versions of Flash was always somewhat of a challenge. One of the biggest gripes was the sheer lack of typography control in Flash projects. Sure we could do basic formatting, but what about things like setting capitalization, baseline shift, or even multiple columns? None of that was possible (at least not easily). However, Flash CS5 boasts a new text engine called TLF, which stands for Text Layout Framework. It relies on ActionScript 3.0 and Flash Player 10, and in this two-part series, I'll show you the ins and outs!


Step 1 - Getting Started with TLF

To get started, select the Text Tool from the Toolbox; then at the top of the Properties panel, choose TLF Text from the topmost menu.


Step 2 - Creating the Text

Now, click and drag out a text frame on Flash's stage. Inside the text frame, paste in the text that you'd like to use.


Step 3 - Setting Character Formatting

To format your text, select it either with the Type Tool or by highlighting the entire frame with the Selection Tool; then use the options found in the Properties panel.

There're a lot of options in there, so here's a quick breakdown: if necessary, twist open the Character category, and there you'll find options for setting the font and style, size, color, leading, tracking, and others.


Step 4 - Setting Advanced Character Options

Optionally, twist open the Advanced Character category on the Properties panel, where you can set additional options.

Admittedly, I don't make use of many of these, but I'll often use the Link field to set a hyperlink, the Baseline Shift setting, and every once in a while, I'll use the Case and Break settings. It's nice to know there's this level of control now in Flash.


Now, there are a lot more options that I'd love to show you, so be sure to join me in Approaches to Working with Text in Flash, Part 2, where we'll get into working with multiple columns, multiple text frames, and a few other advanced functions.

Geoff Blake

Geoff Blake | Articles by this author

Geoff Blake is a book author, video presenter, designer, and visual artist. As an in demand live-on-stage software educator since 1997, Geoff has taught desktop publishing, web design and graphics courses all over North America and is regarded as an expert in Adobe's Creative Suite applications, as well as in HTML, CSS, WordPress, and related technologies. With his humorous, non-jargonny approach, Geoff produces highly regarded articles, video training and DVDs, and regularly contributes to top industry magazines and websites.

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