New Flash Extension: Swap Instance for Duplicate Symbol

Justin | Animate/Flash,extensions | Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

This extension adds a command that will take a selected symbol instance, create a new duplicate in the library, and swap the selected symbol for the newly created duplicate.

I use this command when I want to make a symbol that’s very similar to one that I’ve already got on stage. So if I have a button on stage with text inside it and I want another one exactly like it but with different text, I drag a copy using the opt key (alt on Windows), then I run this command. The command prompts me for a new name, I type it, hit OK, and now I’ve got a duplicated symbol that I can go in and edit without affecting the original.

I’ve also added a feature to replace the name if it contains the name of the original symbol. So, say your original symbol is called back and your original instance is called back_mc, if you name your new symbol next it will update the name of the new instance to next_mc. Otherwise, the original instance name (or lack thereof) will be kept.

UPDATE (9/21/09): DaveW correctly pointed out on the CHF forum that this command largely duplicates functionality that is built into Flash with right-click > Duplicate Symbol. It doesn’t do anything with the instance name, but that’s not a huge difference. In the future I may add something to make this extension more unique, if I find it’s helpful. Feel free to post ideas in the comments section.

(compatibility: Flash MX 2004 and up)
Swap Instance for Duplicate Symbol.mxp

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6 thoughts on “New Flash Extension: Swap Instance for Duplicate Symbol”

  1. James Lee says:

    Well, one problem that comes with duplicating symbols this way in Flash, is that if the symbol has a classic tween applied to it, then it’s necessary to swap out the symbol to the duplicate for every keyframe in the tween

  2. Justin says:

    That’s true, James. Then the question becomes, do you want to replace every instance of the symbol in the FLA, or just selected keyframes?

    Both are possible with JSFL.

  3. James Lee says:

    In my case, usually just the selected keyframes (or every keyframe in that tween). I use this technique if I need to have a bunch of symbols that are very similar, with slight differences (eg: crowds of people etc)

  4. Daniel says:

    Nice extension, but none of these swapping extensions work for me.
    I have a layer with three keyframes, the first keyframe is alpha=0%, then in the 60th keyframe is again alpha=0% and starts a classic tween from here to the 100th keyframe where it becomes alpha=100%. This extension only changes one of the instances, not all of them.

    Another extension that does this is called Swap Instances, can be found here:

    but unfortunately, it also does’t do the job.

    Thanks for sharing anyway!

  5. Justin says:

    Hi Daniel,
    If I recall correctly, this extension is only designed to swap one instance. Multiple instances sounds like a good idea for the future!

  6. Daniel says:

    Hi Justin,
    this extension does a good job of creating a duplicate symbol and replacing it immediately on the stage, much like the ‘right-click/duplicate symbol’ function in flash, but i use it in conjunction with the aforementioned Swap Instances extension and my workflow is greatly improved. As for the multiple instances replacement, i don’t think it would work on layers with classic tween (or any other tween) but i am not to familiar with JSFL to be sure 100%.

    I did a quick search on Google and found some other interesting stuff, here:

    Rename Multiple Library Symbols with JSFL:


    Swap Instance for Duplicate Symbol:

    (iako je ova funkcionalnost zapravo po defaultu dostupna u Flashu – desni klik na simbol, Duplicate Symbol)

    JSFL swap

    Maybe these can help you. I would sure love to see the multiple swap working across keyframes and also across multiple lyer – now that would be awesome!

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