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Converting Shape Types

Flash offers a variety of shape types: fills, strokes, merge-shapes, drawing-objects, primitives, and text. It's possible to convert some types of shapes into others. For example, you can convert strokes to fills; you can convert merge-shapes to drawing-objects and vice versa; you can convert primitive-shapes to merge-shapes and drawing-objects; and you can convert text, a special type of fill, to a regular merge-shape fill. You cannot, however, convert merge-shapes or drawing-objects to primitive-shapes.

To convert a stroke to a fill

  1. Select a stroke on the Stage.
  2. Choose Modify > Shape > Convert Lines to Fills (Figure 4.74).

    Figure 4.74

    Figure 4.74 To transform strokes into fills, choose Modify > Shape > Convert Lines to Fills.

    Flash converts the stroke to a fill shape that looks exactly like the stroke. You can now edit the path of the "stroke's" outline as though you were working with a fill created with the brush tool (Figure 4.75).

    Figure 4.75

    Figure 4.75 You can convert a stroke, such as this line drawn with the pencil tool (top), to a fill. The fill's outline then has its own editable path (middle and bottom).

To convert a merge-shape or a primitive to a drawing-object

  1. Select a merge-shape or primitive on the Stage.
  2. Choose Modify > Combine Objects > Union.

    Flash converts the selected shape to a drawing-object; it remains selected (Figure 4.76).

    Figure 4.76

    Figure 4.76 Choose Modify > Combine Objects > Union to convert the shape selected on the Stage into a drawing-object.

To convert a drawing-object or a primitive to a merge-shape

  1. Select a drawing-object or primitive-shape on the Stage.
  2. Choose Modify > Break Apart, or press cmd.gif-B (Mac) or Ctrl-B (Windows) (Figure 4.77).
    Figure 4.77

    Figure 4.77 Choose Modify > Break Apart to convert a drawing-object or primitive-shape to a merge-shape.

    Flash converts the selected drawing-object or primitive-shape to a merge-shape; it remains selected.

To divide a text block into single-letter text fields

  1. Select a text block on the Stage.
  2. Choose Modify > Break Apart (Figure 4.78).
    Figure 4.78

    Figure 4.78 Choose Modify > Break Apart to place each letter of a text block in its own text field.

    Flash places each letter in its own text field and selects all the text fields. Each text field is just wide enough to hold one letter. Each letter is fully editable on its own, although the group is no longer linked.

To transform letters into merge-shapes

  1. Follow the steps in the preceding task to place letters in individual text fields.
  2. Choose Modify > Break Apart.

    This second Break Apart command transforms the editable letters into raw shapes on the Stage (Figure 4.79). You can edit them as you would any other fill, but you can no longer change their text attributes with the text tool.

    Figure 4.79

    Figure 4.79 Applying the Break Apart command once transforms selected text (top) into single-letter text fields (middle); applying the command again creates merge-shapes out of the individual letters (bottom).

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