New Flash Extension: LIBRARY – Replace Selected by Import

This extension adds a command that will take a selected symbol and overwrite it with an imported file, thus replacing all instances of the symbol. It’s very similar to updating a symbol, except that this allows you to update the symbol with a file that has a different name.

For example, the library might contain a GIF file or a JPG, but the quality is not satisfactory and you want to replace it with a PNG. Normally, you’d have to replace the file with a file that has the same name, but if you select the image that you want replaced in the library and run this command, it will allow you to select any image file and replace the selected library item. Same scenario applies to audio files.

(Compatibility: Flash MX 2004 and up)
LIBRARY – Replace Selected by Import.mxp

New Flash Extension: Swap Instance for Duplicate Symbol

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

Flash Extensions: Auto Name Package

Another set of Flash commands by request. I’ve had these on my machine for a while but haven’t released them. This extension contains 3 commands to accelerate the process of working with names in Flash. One command names your layer based on the content (assuming there’s only one object on the layer), the second command automatically names an instance by the name its library symbol, and the third copies the name of the selected symbol to the clipboard so that it can be quickly pasted into Actionscript. All of these commands are intended to be used most efficiently with keyboard shortcuts.

The auto-naming for layers also recognizes layers with actions and labels (and automatically locks them).

Package Contents:

  • INSTANCE – auto name
  • LAYER – auto name
  • CLIPBOARD – copy instance name

(Compatibility: MX 2004 – Flash CS4)

Auto Name Package.mxp

Flash Extension: Break Symbol Into Layers

I’d written an extension a while back that Convert a Timeline into a Symbol. David Stiller sent me a note yesterday wondering if I had an extension to do the opposite: break a symbol out onto a timeline (and retain the symbol’s layers). I didn’t have one yet, but it sounded like an interesting challenge, and something that I could certainly have used on a few past projects. So, a few hours after work I had something together, and here it is.

(Compatibility: MX 2004 – Flash CS4)

Break Symbol Into Layers.mxp

Flash Extension: Switch Library Names

When I’m working quickly, I’ll often find that I’ve swapped or duplicated the wrong symbol and my library names have gone haywire. In order to switch two names, you have give one a temporary name, since they can’t both have the same name at the same time. I wrote this extension to speed up that process. It takes two library symbols and switches their names. Nothing special…just a time saver.

(Compatibility: MX 2004 – Flash CS4)

Switch Library Names.mxp