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Tour of the Flash Workspace

The next step in our Flash Beginner's Guide series is to take a tour of the FlashR user interface and all the authoring tools Flash has for web, mobile, desktop and media-rich projects. Let's get started.

Flash Workspace

One of Adobe's main goals for their software is a user-friendly interface. Because Flash is a robust software which can be used to create various types of projects from web and desktop to mobile and TV, we have several types of workspaces available to meet our project needs. The best workspace for the beginner to start with is the Essentials workspace, which has the most used tools and panels. Let's take a tour of this workspace.

  • Workspace Switcher

    At the top right of the workspace, you will see the drop-down menu for switching between workspaces. The menu contains seven task-oriented workspaces and each workspace displays the most used tools for that task. You will soon find the workspace that you prefer or you can create your own custom workspace for the way you work.

    Small Screen

    By default, Flash is set to the Essentials workspace. If your workspace is set to one of the other workspaces, use the menu to switch to the Essentials workspace.

    Although the workspace is set up with Adobe's suggested layout, you have the option of changing the workspace. Each panel can be moved simply by dragging the title bar at the top of the panel. You can place the panel anywhere in the workspace as a floating panel or attach it to a group of panels by placing it over the group until you see the blue line. Release your mouse button and the panel will be added to the group at that location.

    When you open Flash in the future, it will remember your custom layout until you change it again. In the Workspace Switcher menu there is an option to save your custom layout as a new workspace. To set the workspace back to the original layout, use the Reset Essentials option from the drop-down menu.

  • Menu Bar

    The Menu Bar is a familiar part of any software. It's the place to find drop-down menus containing functions for everything from editing to testing your Flash project.

  • Document Window

    Each project has a Document Window which displays the name of the saved swf file. When you have many project windows open in the workspace, each one can be accessed by clicking on the tab for that project's file.

  • Edit Bar

    The Edit Bar is under the Document Window tabs. This bar contains a "breadcrumb" path, always leading back to the main Timeline. As you work on your project assets, such as movie clips and other symbols, the Timeline will change to display the "inner" Timeline for that particular asset and the breadcrumb path changes to show the hierarchy of where you are, making it easy to get back to the main Timeline.

    Also on the Edit Bar are the Zoom, Edit Scene and Edit Symbols menus. We will discuss these in more detail in later tutorials.

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