Movie Symbol Basics

Movie Symbol Basics

Flash CS4 Tutorial


How to Create a Movie Symbol in Flash



Movie Symbols are an important element in Flash content development. Once you create a Movie Symbol, you can add it to the stage either by dragging or with ActionScript. ActionScript can control the symbol timeline and properties such as alpha, scale, and rotation. A Movie Symbol can have one frame or many frames.

Understanding Movie Symbols is a vital Flash skill. In this example we will create a Movie Symbol by starting with an object. You can also begin with an new empty symbol as described in the topic, Insert New Symbol.


Step One

Add a rectangular object to the workspace with the Rectangle tool (r key).

Step Two

With the rectangle selected, press F8 (Modify > Convert to Symbol).

Step Three

In the dialog box, name your symbol and choose Movie clip for the symbol type.

Step Four

Using the Selection tool (v key), double-click the symbol to enter the symbol edit mode.

Step Five

Create a short 24 frame animation within the Movie Symbol.

Step Six

Click the Scene icon in the upper left corner of the stage to return to the main timeline.

Step Seven

The main timeline should have only one frame and one layer. Press Cmd/Return (PC-Ctrl/Enter) to test the movie.

Main Timeline Independent

In this example the main timeline had only one frame. The movie played because Movie Symbols are timeline independent. You can place a Movie Symbol in a single frame of the main timeline and it plays the entire Movie Symbol timeline.

Graphic Symbols operate just the opposite and are timeline dependent. To make a 24 frame Graphic Symbol work on the main timeline you would need to display the Graphic Symbol for at least 24 frames.