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Editing sounds in Flash CS5

Check out our Flash: Core Flash CS5 course!

When I teach Flash classes we always split them into two categories: Designer and Developer. This article focuses entirely on the Designer and how sounds can be added to and edited in .swf files without the use of Actionscript. 

Step 1 - Add a button

Start by opening Flash's library of buttons: Window > Common Libraries > Buttons

Buttons panel

Buttons panel

One of the most fun sets of buttons to use are the Arcade Buttons, these are in the classic buttons folder. They bring back many wasted hours of my youth.

Arcade Buttons in Library

Arcade Buttons in Library

Select the color you want and frag it onto Scene 1. 

Step 2 - Create a layer for Sounds

Double-click on the instance of the button you just inserted to open the Symbol. 

Button Symbol open

Button Symbol open

As you can see there are a number of layers already in place in this button. Add another layer and then double click on its name and change it to read "Sounds".


layer "Sounds"

Step 3 - Find a Sound Effect 

The layer "Sounds" is there to hold any sound effects we now add to this button. Adding a layer specifically for sound makes it easier to modify or remove them later, as they will all be in one easy to find place. 

To find Flash's built-in sound library go to Window > Common Libraries > Sounds and the Library will open in a new panel. 

Sounds Library

Sounds Library

Take a minute to play a few sounds; there are some "interesting" ones. I haven't found a use for the Human Burp yet for one...............OK, that will do!

The effect we are going to use is called "Sports Basketball Dribble in Gym Short.mp3". 

Tip: Try typing it in the Search field in the Sounds Library Panel.

Step 4 - Add the Sound Effect

The sound will be heard every time the button is clicked. To enable this the sound needs to be added to the Down state on the buttons Timeline. 

Select the Down frame on the Sounds Layer and press F6 to add a keyframe. This keyframe will hold the sound. 

Keyframe added

Keyframe added

To add the sound to this new keyframe, pick it up in the Sounds Library and drag it to the document, not the keyframe.  

Sound wave in TL

Sound wave in TL

The audio will now sit on the down keyframe on the Sounds layer. You can make out a blue waveform inside the keyframe if you look on the timeline. 

Click on the keyframe in the Timeline to select it and have a look at its properties: the Sound property shows the sound applied.

Step 5 - Test the Button

Save the Flash Document to the Desktop, File > Save or Command-S and name it Button1

Then press Command-return to Test the Movie. 

Download the SWF file here.

The sound effect is too long, and takes too long to start. Press the button more than once and we start to get an echo effect. Not good!

Step 6 - Open up the sound editor

Back in your Flash project, click on the Keyframe that you added sound to on the "Sounds" Layer in your Button symbol. 

Sound Keyframe Selected

Sound Keyframe Selected

Look at the Properties for the Layer in the Properties panel and find the Sound Property again. 

Click on the Pencil icon next to the dialogue box that contains the sound name.

Pencil editor

Pencil editor

A new window opens that contains the Audio Waveform for both tracks of your sound effect. 

Step 7 - Modify the Sound so it fits

Sound Editor Window

Sound Editor Window

Between the two Audio Tracks sits a timeline for the audio. At each end sits a handle, as I've indicated. 

Handles positioned

Handles positioned

Grab the handle at the start and drag it to the right until it's placed just before the second set of Audio Waveform peaks. Now grab the second handle and drag it to the left until it is positioned just after the end of the same set of peaks.

Play the sound in the Sound Editor. You have trimmed the longer sound down so it's just the part needed for the button. 

Step 8 - Export the modified button

Save the project again and then publish a test movie by pressing Command-return. 

Download the SWF files here.

Click the button in the SWF to hear the changes. 

A nicely performing button, with no Actionscript required, as promised. 

Check out our Flash: Core Flash CS5 course!

David Smith

David Smith | Articles by this author

David Smith is Scotland's most qualified Apple and Adobe certified trainer. Having completed his education at Edinburgh College of Art's BAFTA winning Film School, David moved straight into TV production, first as a Vision Mixer then quickly becoming, at the age of just 24, a director of live TV studio productions. In 2001 he moved into Higher Education where he became a lecturer in TV Production, specializing in post-production and live studio production. During this time, and working with the support of the BBC, Channel 4 and independent production companies, David was instrumental in the design, development and implementation of industry-approved vocational courses across Scotland's Colleges. In 2006, after working closely with Apple Computers to create a unique multimedia studio for education at the Music and Media Centre in Perth, David became Scotland's first Apple-Certified Trainer for Pro Apps. This led on to David forming the first Apple Authorized Training Centre for Education, north of Manchester. In 2008 David made the move to full time training and joined the ranks at Academy Class, Ltd. where he continues to train industry professionals as a certified trainer across the Adobe Creative Suite and Apple Pro Apps range.


Aug 27, 2012
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