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This chapter is from the book

Setting Text Attributes

The Properties tab of the Property inspector has two slightly different modes for setting text attributes. When you choose the text tool in the Tools panel, the Properties tab is labeled Text Tool; this tab provides options for setting typeface, font size, style, spacing between letters, line spacing, and color; for controlling tracking (the amount of space between letters and words in a chunk of selected text); for defining text as superscript or subscript; and for creating live links between text and URLs. When you select an existing text box, the label for the Properties tab disappears, but the panel displays all the text-attribute options just listed and adds options for setting attributes of the text box itself, such as size and location on the Stage. When you need to distinguish one tab from the other, this book will refer to them as as the Text Tool Properties tab and the Text Properties tab; when referring to either or both tabs, this book will use the Text (Tool) Properties tab.

You can set attributes in advance so that as you type, the text tool applies them automatically, or you can apply attributes to existing text. The text tool always uses whatever settings currently appear in the Text (Tool) Properties tab ( Figure 3.6 ).

03fig06.jpg

Figure 3.6 When you have selected the text tool in the Tools panel (or you have selected a text block on the Stage), the Properties tab of the Property inspector displays the type attributes to be created by the text tool (or applied to the current text selection).

For the following tasks, keep the Properties tab of the Property inspector open (choose Window > Properties > Properties if it's not already open).

To select text to apply character attributes

Do either of the following:

  1. With the text tool selected, drag over existing text to highlight just a portion of text.
  2. With the selection tool active, click a text box to select all the text within it.

To choose an installed typeface

  1. Select the text you want to modify.
  2. In the Text Properties tab of the Property inspector, click the scroll arrow to the right of the Font field. A scrolling list of your installed fonts appears, together with a font-preview window ( Figure 3.7 ).
    03fig07.jpg

    Figure 3.7 As you move the pointer through the font list in the Text (Tool) Properties tab of the Property inspector, you see a preview of each installed font.

  3. Move the pointer over a font name. Flash highlights the font name and displays its preview.
  4. Click to select the currently highlighted font and close the scrolling list. The selected font name appears in the Font field. Flash changes the selected text to the new font.

To set the font size

  1. Select the text you want to modify.
  2. In the Text Properties tab of the Property inspector, double-click (or click and drag) in the Font Size field to highlight the current value.
  3. Enter the desired point size.
  4. Press Enter.

or

  1. Click the triangle to the right of the Font Size field. A slider pops open ( Figure 3.9 ).
    03fig09.jpg

    Figure 3.9 Drag the font-size slider to change the point size of selected text interactively on the Stage.

  2. Drag the slider's lever to choose a value between 8 and 96 points. Flash previews the changes on the Stage as you drag the slider lever.
  3. Click outside the slider to confirm the new font size.

To set the font rendering method

  1. Select the text you want to modify.
  2. In the Text tab of the Property inspector, from the Anti-Aliasing menu ( Figure 3.10 ), choose one of the following: Use device fonts. Choose this setting when smaller file sizes are more important than being able to re-create the precise font outlines on the end user's system (see "The Mystery of Device Fonts"). Bitmap text (no anti-alias). Choose this setting when you want your text to have hard edges instead of softened (anti-aliased) edges. Fonts are embedded in your published movie, without anti-aliasing. (Bitmap text can greatly increase your SWF file size.) Anti-alias for animation Choose this setting for animated text boxes or when you plan to publish your movie to Flash Player 7 or below. Flash embeds font outlines for these text boxes but ignores some information about aligning and kerning to help speed playback. Flash Type doesn't do the rendering. Anti-alias for readability (the default setting for publishing to Flash Player 8; see Chapter 16). Choose this setting for text boxes that you don't plan to animate. The Flash Type font-rendering engine draws text with this setting on the Stage as you create your FLA file. When you publish, Flash embeds the fonts in the SWF file. The Flash Type engine renders this text for playback. Custom anti-alias (found only in Flash Professional). Choosing this setting gives you access to the Custom Anti-Aliasing dialog, where you can determine how soft and blurry the anti-aliased letter forms are. The dialog's Sharpness and Thickness settings control the transitional blurred area between each letter and the background against which it appears.
    03fig10.jpg

    Figure 3.10 To control the degree of anti-aliasing, in the Text (Tool) Properties tab of the Property inspector, select an option from the Anti-Aliasing menu (top). If you are working with Flash Professional, the Custom Anti-Aliasing option gives you access to a dialog for setting more precise anti-aliasing controls (bottom).

To choose a text color

  1. Select the text you want to modify.
  2. In the Text Properties tab, click the Text (Fill) Color control (note that text in Flash is a type of fill). The standard color-control swatch set appears ( Figure 3.11 ).
    03fig11.jpg

    Figure 3.11 You can choose a color for text created with the text tool from the color control in the Text (Tool) Properties tab of the Property inspector.

  3. Select a color. Because Flash considers text to be a fill, you can change the text color by using any of the methods described for setting fill attributes in Chapter 2.

To choose a type style

  1. Select the text you want to modify.
  2. In the Text Properties tab of the Property inspector, do one of the following:
    • To create boldface type, click the Bold button ( Figure 3.12 ).
      03fig12.jpg

      Figure 3.12 Access bold and italic styles by clicking the Bold (left) and Italic (right) buttons in the Text (Tool) Properties tab of the Property inspector.

    • To create italic type, click the Italic button.
    • To create type that is both boldface and italic, click the Bold and Italic buttons.

To apply tracking (letter spacing)

  1. Within a text box in a Flash document, select the text to track.
  2. In the Text Properties tab's Letter Spacing field, enter the desired point size. A negative value reduces the space between the letters; a positive value increases it ( Figure 3.13 ).
    03fig13.jpg

    Figure 3.13 Enter a negative letter-spacing value to bring characters closer together. Enter a positive value to space characters out. Enter 0 to use a font's built-in tracking value.

  3. Press Enter. or
  1. In the Text Properties tab's Letter Spacing field, click the triangle to the right of the field. A slider pops open.
  2. Drag the slider's lever to a value between -60 and 60. Flash previews the changes interactively on the Stage as you drag.
  3. Release the slider to confirm the new spacing.
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