Unidad 9.  Symbols (I)

What are the symbols?


The Symbols come from objects that we've created using the tools that Flash 8 provides us.

    When transforming these objects into symbols, they are included in a library at the moment of creation that allows us using them on several occasions, either in the same or another movie.


How to create a symbol 

    Creating new symbol is one of the most used actions in Flash since it's one of the first steps to create an animation, how we'll see further.

    The procedure is the following:

    We select the object that we want to convert to a symbol. We open the dialog box of Symbol Properties, acceding to the menu Insert → New Symbol or just by pressing Ctrl + F8 or F8.

    Once done it will appear a window as the one of the image. We introduce the name of the symbol, which we are going to create.

    This is at the beginning and while we have few symbols it is not very important, but further it will be helpful for referring to the object.

    The only that remains is to select the type of symbol or behavior into which we convert our object. We can choose between Movie Clip, Button and Graphic. We'll discuss its characteristics and the differences among them in the next themes.

    It will be enough to press OK to create our symbol.

To practice these operations, we advice you to do the Exercise of Creating Symbol.

The Libraries


In Flash 8 we can find two types of libraries, the common libraries with examples, and custom libraries associated to our created movies. We have all of them to our disposal to use the contained symbols.

To access the common libraries that Flash provides us, we have just to go to the Menu Bar, Window → Common Libraries and select one of them. There is all the type of symbols: buttons, clips or graphic.

To access the library of symbols of the movie that we are creating once more, we go to the Menu Bar, Window → Library. All the symbols that we've created up to the moment will appear in this library.

We can verify how the new symbol that we've created in the previous exercise (Exercise of Creating Symbol) has been added to our library by accessing it as we've just shown.


The symbols contents in the libraries are identified by its name and by an icon that represents the type of symbol:

Clip      Button      Graphics


To use a symbol of a library it is enough to select the symbol and drag it to any place of the work area. Observe how we can do this. 


Difference between symbol and instance


As we've previously commented, when we create a symbol, Flash saves it to a library. Every time we use this object in a movie, it's converted into an instance.

Although they seem to be the same, there is an important distinction: when using a symbol, after we've created it for our movie, on modifying it the instance will be updated, whereas the object will continue being intact, as it was at the moment of its creation, so then we'll be able to return to use it at another moment.

At the right, you have an example of a library, in this case a standard library of Flash. Every element of the library is a symbol.  

In order to understand better this concept, we advise to you to do the Exercise of Modifying Instance.


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