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New Text Layout Framework in Flash CS5

If you know the history of FlashR, then you know how long AdobeR has been working on a text engine for Flash that can match that in InDesignR. Print quality text layout and formatting is now possible in Flash CS5 because of the new Text Layout Framework in Flash Player 10. Of course, this new text engine requires the viewer to upgrade to Flash Player 10 or above.

This new text engine supports the import of content created in Adobe InDesign and other software, enhancing your workflow and easing your workload. It is now possible to create the layout and content for a page in InDesign and when imported into Flash, it maintains all layout, formatting and functionality. This is done in a two-step process. First the page is created in InDesign. Then the page is exported from InDesign as an FLA file. When the FLA file is opened into Flash, the page becomes one big movie clip on its own frame of the Flash Timeline. In fact, each page of a multi-page InDesign document will be converted to a movie clip on its own frame.

Once imported from InDesign, you can work with this movie clip the same way you would any Flash movie clip. Double-click on the movie clip to enter edit mode, you will see that all the elements of the InDesign page are on separate layers. In the example, you can also see that several interactive elements have been created in InDesign, which is a new feature for InDesign CS5. These elements and the animation attached to them have been preserved when imported into Flash. Notice these elements are placed around the outside of the stage.

If we look closer at the page layout, you can see that Flash now supports a few new text layout features. As you can see, the paragraphs are threaded together so that the text content flows from one text box to the next. If you change the size of one text box causing the text to overflow the text box, the overflow text appears at the top of the next threaded text box. This has been a feature of InDesign for some time but it's new to Flash.

Other features which have made InDesign such as popular software for print projects are text wrapping around images and multiple columns. These features are now available in Flash CS5. For example, in the Properties Panel, we have a new Container and Flow section where we can change the number of columns in a text box. As you can see, we have changed the number of columns from 1 to 2 which divided the single text column in the first text box into two columns. You can also control the gutter between paragraphs, padding around paragraphs, alignment, offset, stroke around text boxes and background color of text boxes.

Another feature of the new Text Layout Framework is the multilingual typographic control which allows you to lay out your text not only left-to-right but also right-to-left, top-to-bottom, a mixture of these and more. Moving from paragraph control to character control, Flash has some great new text styling controls including OpenType fonts, case, kerning, ligatures, tracking and leading.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.


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This content was written by Diane Cipollo. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Diane Cipollo for details.



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