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Some More Details

Now that you've gotten a small glimpse of what History and Commands can do, you should know a few other things.

First, you can get rid of Commands without going into your install directory and finding them. To do this, simply choose the Manage Saved Commands option in the Commands menu. When the Manage Saved Commands dialog box opens, you'll see a list of all the Commands you created. Select the one you want to get rid of and click Delete. Flash will ask you if you are sure you want to delete it because it can't be undone, so don't panic if you selected the wrong Command from the list. Check out Figure 7 to see how easy it is.

Figure 7Figure 7 If you don't want to play with boxes anymore, just get rid of the Command.

Another cool feature is the ability to clear the panel. Once you've clicked, dragged, switched tools, drawn a few things, created some symbols, and hit Undo a couple of times, your History list will be a huge mess. Weeding through all that to create a Command will be difficult at best. So click open the Options menu for the History panel in the top-right corner, and choose Clear History. When Flash asks if you're sure you want to do it, just click OK and you'll be left once again with a spotless History panel.

The next thing you should know is that you can write some more complicated Commands yourself. If you've got a decent grasp of JavaScript, open up one of the existing JSFL files from the Commands folder in your install directory to see what it looks like, save it using a new filename, and start playing around until you've altered it, damaged it, or otherwise completely screwed it up. After you get comfortable with it, see if you can write your own

To illustrate this, I have gotten permission from a super-geek friend of mine, Ron Haberle, to provide you with a copy of one of the coolest Commands I've seen so far. The Command is called "library-organizer" and it will save you some work almost every time you use Flash. See, as you work on a project and start accumulating symbols in the Library, things tend to get a bit messy. And that's what Ron has addressed with this Command (see Figure 8).

Figure 8Figure 8 The horror, the horror.

This one little command will organize all of your Library assets into folders, named according to the types of assets that need to go inside of them. All of the Graphic symbols will go into a Graphics folder, video will go into a Video folder, and so on. See Figure 9 for the before and after shots.

Figure 9Figure 9 The library-organizer: Like magic, but with code.

To use the library-organizer, simply download the file. Then drop the file into the Commands folder inside your install directory for Flash MX 2004. If you can't find it, do a search on your hard drive. Once the file is there, restart Flash to make the Command available.

If you don't want to end up with a huge list of random, unorganized tasks in the Command menu, just save all of your commands into a folder, perhaps organized by purpose, on your hard drive, and then when you want to use them, choose Commands > Run Command. Then locate the file you want to use and select it.

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