To automatically align graphic elements with one another, use snapping. Animate provides three ways for you to align objects on the Stage:

  • Object snapping snaps objects directly to other objects along their edges.
  • Pixel snapping snaps objects directly to individual pixels or lines of pixels on the Stage.
  • Snap alignment snaps objects to a specified snap tolerance, a preset boundary between objects and other objects or between objects and the edge of the Stage.
  • Snap Bitmaps to Pixels snaps the bitmaps to the nearest pixels during author time so that they look sharper on canvas.

Note: You can also snap to the grid or to guides.

Turn object snapping on or off

To turn on object snapping, use the Snap To Objects modifier for the Selection tool, or the Snap To Objects command in the View menu.

If the Snap To Objects modifier for the Selection tool is on, a small black ring appears under the pointer when you drag an element. The small ring changes to a larger ring when the object is within snapping distance of another object.

  • Select View > Snapping > Snap To Objects. A check mark appears next to the command when it is on.

    When you move or reshape an object, the position of the Selection tool on the object provides the reference point for the snap ring. For example, if you move a filled shape by dragging near its center, the center point snaps to other objects. This is particularly useful for snapping shapes to motion paths for animating.

    Note:

    For better control of object placement when snapping, begin dragging from a corner or center point.

Snap Bitmaps to Pixels

To enable bitmap snapping, use the Snap Bitmaps to Pixels command in the View menu. This ensures that bitmaps are placed in integer positions (without fractional values) when authoring content.

  1. Select View>Snapping>Snap Bitmaps to Pixels

  2. The tick mark adjacent to this option indicates that the feature is enabled. When the tick mark is disabled, you can place the bitmaps at any location.

    Snap Bitmaps to Pixels at Authortime

Adjust object snapping tolerances

  1. Select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Animate > Preferences (Macintosh), and click Drawing.

  2. Under Drawing Settings, adjust the Connect Lines setting.

Use pixel snapping

To turn on pixel snapping, use the Snap To Pixels command in the View menu. If Snap To Pixels is on, a pixel grid appears when the view magnification is set to 400% or higher. The pixel grid represents the individual pixels that appear in your Animate application. When you create or move an object, it is constrained to the pixel grid.

If you create a shape whose edges fall between pixel boundaries—for example, if you use a stroke with a fractional width, such as 3.5 pixels—Snap To Pixels snaps to pixel boundaries, not to the edge of the shape.

  • To turn pixel snapping on or off, select View > Snapping > Snap To Pixels. If the magnification is set to 400% or higher, a pixel grid is displayed. A check mark appears next to the command when it is on.

  • To turn pixel snapping on or off temporarily, press the C key. When you release the C key, pixel snapping returns to the state you selected with View > Snapping > Snap To Pixels.

  • To temporarily hide the pixel grid, press the X key. When you release the X key, the pixel grid reappears.

Edit Snapping

When you select Snap Alignment settings, set the snap tolerance between horizontal or vertical edges of objects, and between objects’ edges and the Stage border. You can also turn on snap alignment between the horizontal and the vertical centers of objects. All Snap Alignment settings are measured in pixels.

  1. Select View > Snapping > Edit Snapping.
  2. In the Edit Snapping dialog box, select the types of objects to want to snap to. Select Save Default to save the specified settings in the .fla file. The saved settings of the active document is carried forward to the new document.

    Edit Snapping

  3. Click the Advanced button and select any of the following:
    • To set the snap tolerance between objects and the Stage border, enter a value for Movie Border.

    • To set the snap tolerance between the horizontal or vertical edges of objects, enter a value for Horizontal, Vertical, or both.

    • To turn on Horizontal or Vertical Center Alignment, select Horizontal or Vertical Center Alignment or both.

Turn on Snap Alignment

When Snap Alignment is turned on, dotted lines appear on the Stage when you drag an object to the specified snap tolerance. For example, if you set Horizontal snap tolerance to 18 pixels (the default setting), a dotted line appears along the edge of the object you are dragging when the object is exactly 18 pixels from another object. If you turn on Horizontal Center Alignment, a dotted line appears along the horizontal center vertices of two objects when you precisely align the vertices.

  • Select View > Snapping > Snap Align. A check mark appears next to the command when it is on.

Create a guide layer

For help in aligning objects when drawing, create guide layers and align objects on other layers to the objects you create on the guide layers. Guide layers are not exported and do not appear in a published SWF file. Any layer can be a guide layer. Guide layers are indicated by a guide icon to the left of the layer name.

  • Select the layer and Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Macintosh) and select Guide from the context menu. To change the layer back to a normal layer, select Guide again.

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