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Making Selections

Merge-shapes, drawing-objects, and primitives all behave slightly differently when being selected. What you think of as a single shape may contain several segments. The rectangle tool creates a square whose stroke is actually four separate line segments. Clicking one side of a merge-shape square's stroke selects just that segment. To fully select the square's stroke, you must select each segment (you could use Shift-click to add the remaining sides to the initial selection). If you create the square as a drawing-object or a rectangle-primitive, Flash treats the four stroke segments as a unit. Clicking the stroke on any side of a drawing-object square or rectangle-primitive selects the entire stroke.

Flash highlights selected areas of merge-shapes with a pattern of tiny dots. Make sure all the parts of the merge-shape stroke or fill you intend to select display this pattern.

To make selections by clicking

  1. In the Tools panel, choose the selection tool, or press V on the keyboard.
  2. To select elements created as merge-shapes, do one of the following,
    • To select a merge-shape fill, position the pointer over the fill and click.

      The selection icon appears next to the selection pointer when it is over the fill. Flash highlights the selected fill with a dot pattern (Figure 4.3).

      Figure 4.3

      Figure 4.3 When the pointer sits above a filled area, it changes into the selection arrow (the cross icon appears next to the pointer, indicating that the tool is ready to move or select an item). Click a fill to select it. A dot pattern in a contrasting color highlights the selected fill.

    • To select a merge-shape stroke, position the pointer over a line segment and click.

      Flash appends a little arc or a little right-angle icon to the selection tool (Figure 4.4).

      Figure 4.4

      Figure 4.4 As you prepare to select a line, additions to the pointer icon indicate what kind of point lies beneath the pointer.

      These icons indicate that the tool is over a point in a line segment and show what type of point it is: a curve point or a corner point. (For more information about points, see the sidebar "About Curve and Corner Points," later in this chapter). Flash highlights just the segment you clicked with a dot pattern (Figure 4.5).
      Figure 4.5

      Figure 4.5 When you click a merge-shape line, Flash selects and highlights just one segment.

  3. To select elements created as drawing-objects, position the pointer over any portion of the shape and click.

    The arc or angle icon appears next to the selection pointer as described above for merge-shape fills and strokes. Flash selects the entire shape and highlights it by displaying the bounding box—a rectangle that encloses the shape (Figure 4.6).

    Figure 4.6

    Figure 4.6 When you position the selection tool over an unselected drawing-object (left), the pointer displays the same icons as for merge-shapes (move/select cross for fills, curve-point arc or corner-point angle for strokes). Click anywhere on the drawing-object, and Flash selects the entire drawing-object, highlighting its bounding box (right).

  4. To select elements created as primitives, position the pointer over any portion of the shape and click.

    The selection icon appears next to the selection pointer whether it's over a fill or a stroke. Flash selects the entire shape and highlights its bounding box (Figure 4.7).

    Figure 4.7

    Figure 4.7 Whether you position the selection pointer over the stroke (top) or fill (middle) of a primitive-shape, the selection icon appears by the pointer. Clicking anywhere on the shape selects the whole thing (bottom).

  5. To add elements to a selection, do one of the following,
    • With Shift Select (Flash's default selection style) active, hold down the Shift key as you click each item you want to include (Figure 4.8).
      Figure 4.8

      Figure 4.8 With Flash's default Preferences setting for selections, Shift-click unhighlighted line segments or fill areas to add them to a selection.

    • If you turned off the Shift Select option in the General category of the Preferences dialog, click each item you want to include. Flash highlights each new item and adds it to the selection.

To use a contact-sensitive selection rectangle

  1. Make sure the selection preferences are set for contact sensitivity (see "Setting Selection Preferences," earlier in this chapter).
  2. In the Tools panel, select the selection tool.
  3. Click and drag to pull out a selection rectangle (Figure 4.9).
    Figure 4.9

    Figure 4.9 Clicking and dragging with the selection tool creates a selection rectangle (left). Be sure to start from a point that allows you to enclose all the elements you want to select within the rectangle (right). Release the mouse button, and Flash selects those elements.

    This rectangle isn't a graphic element; it just defines the boundaries of your selection.
  4. Continue dragging until the rectangle encloses all the merge-shapes you want to select and at least some part of each drawing-object.
  5. Release the mouse button.

    Merge-shapes. Flash highlights any portions of fill or stroke that fall inside the selection rectangle; portions of merge-shape fills or strokes that lie outside the rectangle remain unselected (Figure 4.10).

    Figure 4.10

    Figure 4.10 When Flash's default contact-sensitive selection mode is active, a selection includes any drawing-objects or primitives that are touched or partially enclosed by the selection rectangle. Only the parts of merge-shapes that fall within the selection rectangle are selected. (Here the star shapes are drawing-objects, the indented rectangles are primitives, and the circles are merge-shapes.)

    Drawing-objects and primitive-shapes. If the selection rectangle touches any part of a drawing-object or primitive, Flash selects the entire thing, highlighting its bounding box.

To use a non–contact-sensitive selection rectangle

  1. Make sure contact sensitivity is turned off (see "Setting Selection Preferences," earlier in this chapter).
  2. Follow steps 2 through 4 in the preceding exercise, but this time, fully enclose the drawing-objects you want to select.

    Merge-shapes. Flash highlights any portions of fill or stroke that fall inside the selection rectangle; portions of mergeshape fills or strokes that lie outside the rectangle remain unselected (Figure 4.11).

    Figure 4.11

    Figure 4.11 When contact-sensitivity is inactive, a selection includes just those parts of merge-shapes that fall within the selection rectangle. For drawing-objects or primitives to be selected, they must be fully enclosed by the selection rectangle. (Here again the star shapes are drawing-objects, the indented rectangles are primitives, and the circles are merge-shapes.)

    Drawing-objects and primitives. Flash selects only those drawing-objects or primitive-shapes that are completely enclosed within the selection rectangle. If the selection rectangle touches or includes just a part of a drawing-object or primitive-shape, Flash leaves the entire object deselected.

To deselect individual items

  1. In the Tools panel, select the selection tool.
  2. Hold down the Shift key.
  3. Click any highlighted drawing-objects, primitives, or merge-shape strokes or fills you want to remove from the current selection.

    Flash deselects the items you clicked (Figure 4.14). No matter which method you used to select items, you must Shift-click with the selection tool to remove items from a selection.

    Figure 4.14

    Figure 4.14 With the selection tool selected, position the pointer over the element you want to remove from the selection (A). Shift-click the item to deselect it (B). Repeat the process to deselect another item (C). (In this image, the stars are drawing-objects, and the circles are merge-shapes.)

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