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Approaches to Working with Text in Flash, Part 2

In Part 1 of Approaches to Working with Text in Flash, you learned about Flash's new TLF text engine, and how to set general text formatting. In this installation, I'd like to push things a little further and discuss some of the more advanced functionality; things like multiple columns, threading text frames, and a few other goodies. Let's take a look!

Step 1 - Setting Up Multiple Columns

The new TLF engine allows us to set multiple columns on our text frames in Flash. Here's how to do it. First, grab the Text Tool in the toolbox and drag out a frame. Then, paste in some text to fill the frame.

With the frame selected, head over to the Properties panel and expand the Container And Flow category. In the columns area, set a value for the number of columns that you'd like to have. The value to the right sets the gutter -- that is, the space between the columns.

Step 2 - Formatting Text Frames

Whether you have a single-column text frame, or a frame that contains several columns, you can apply formatting to the frame; formatting like padding, an outline and a background color.

With the frame still selected, set values in the Padding area in the Container And Flow category in the Properties panel. You can set different values for left, right, top, and bottom, or click the link icon to link the four sides together. Below that, use the border and background options to set some color on your frame. Easy!

Step 3 - Threading Text Frames

Much like we can do in traditional desktop publishing applications like InDesign, we can now connect, or thread, text frames together. This means that the text is going to flow from one frame to the next. To get this to work, you'll need to have more text inside your frame than the frame can display. You'll know you have more than enough text when a red icon appears in the bottom-right corner of your text frame (again, just like in InDesign). You can either paste in a lot of text, or resize your text frame a bit smaller.

Next, try clicking on the red icon. Notice that your cursor changes. This is called a loaded cursor. Now try clicking and dragging out a second text frame with the loaded cursor. And just like that, you have two threaded frames. The text flows from the first frame into the second frame. Cool!

So there's a look at working with some of the more advanced text options in Flash. I hope you enjoyed, and I hope you can apply a lot of this to your own work.

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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