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How to create buttons with Animate

  1. Adobe Animate User Guide
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    22. Using Bone tool animation in Animate
    23. Work with character rigging in Animate
    24. How to use mask layers in Adobe Animate
    25. How to work with scenes in Animate
  4. Interactivity
    1. How to create buttons with Animate
    2. Convert Animate projects to other document type formats
    3. Create and publish HTML5 Canvas documents in Animate
    4. Add interactivity with code snippets in Animate
    5. Creating custom HTML5 Components
    6. Using Components in HTML5 Canvas
    7. Creating custom Components: Examples
    8. Code Snippets for custom Components
    9. Best practices - Advertising with Animate
    10. Virtual Reality authoring and publishing
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    5. Exporting SVG files
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    9. Best practices - Organizing ActionScript in an application
    10. How to use ActionScript with Animate
    11. Accessibility in the Animate workspace
    12. Writing and managing scripts
    13. Enabling Support for Custom Platforms
    14. Custom Platform Support Overview
    15. Working with Custom Platform Support Plug-in
    16. Debugging ActionScript 3.0
    17. Enabling Support for Custom Platforms
  8. Exporting and Publishing
    1. How to export files from Animate CC
    2. OAM publishing
    3. Exporting SVG files
    4. Export graphics and videos with Animate
    5. Publishing AS3 documents
    6. Export animations for mobile apps and game engines
    7. Exporting Sounds
    8. Best practices - Tips for creating content for mobile devices
    9. Best practices - Video conventions
    10. Best practices - SWF application authoring guidelines
    11. Best practices - Structuring FLA files
    12. Best Practices to optimize FLA files for Animate
    13. ActionScript publish settings
    14. Specify publish settings for Animate
    15. Exporting projector files
    16. Export Images and Animated GIFs
    17. HTML publishing templates
    18. Working with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
    19. Quick share and publish your animations
  9. Troubleshooting
    1. Fixed issues
    2. Known issues


Basic steps for creating buttons

  1. Decide what button type best suits your needs.

    Button symbol

    Most people choose button symbols for their flexibility. Button symbols contain a specialized internal timeline for button states. You can easily create visually different Up, Down, and Over states. Button symbols also change their state automatically as they react to user actions.

    Movie clip button

    You can use a movie clip symbol to create sophisticated button effects. Movie clip symbols can contain almost any type of content, including animation. However, movie clip symbols do not have built-in Up, Down, and Over states. You create those states yourself, using ActionScript. A disadvantage is that movie clip files are larger than button files. 

    ActionScript button component

    Use a button component if you require only a standard button or a toggle, and you don’t want to customize it extensively. Both ActionScript 2.0 and 3.0 button components come with built-in code that enables state changes. So, you don’t have to define the look and behavior of button states. Simply drag the component onto the Stage.

    • ActionScript 3.0 button components allow for some customization. You can bind the button to other components, and share and display application data. They have built-in features, such as accessibility support. Button, RadioButton, and CheckBox components are available. 

    • ActionScript 2.0 button components are not customizable. The component enables state changes. 

  2. Define your button states.

    Up frame

    The appearance of the button when the user is not interacting with it.

    Over frame

    The appearance of the button as the user is about to select it.

    Down frame

    The appearance of the button as the user selects it.

    Hit frame

    The area that is responsive to clicks by the user. Defining this Hit frame is optional. If your button is small, or if its graphic area is not contiguous, defining this frame can be useful.

    • The contents of the Hit frame are not visible on the Stage during playback.

    • The graphic for the Hit frame is a solid area large enough to encompass all graphic elements of the Up, Down, and Over frames.

    • If you don’t specify a Hit frame, the image for the Up state is used.

      You can make a button that responds when a different area of the stage is clicked or rolled over (also called a disjoint rollover). Place the Hit frame graphic in a different location than the other button frame graphics.

  3. Associate an action with the button.

    To make something happen when the user selects a button, you add ActionScript code to the Timeline. Place the ActionScript code in the same frames as the buttons. The Code Snippets panel has pre-written ActionScript 3.0 code for many common button uses. See Add interactivity with code snippets.

     ActionScript 2.0 is not compatible with ActionScript 3.0. If your version of Animate uses ActionScript 3.0, you can’t paste ActionScript 2.0 code into your button (and vice versa). Before you paste ActionScript from another source into your buttons, verify that the version is compatible.

Create a button with a button symbol

To make a button interactive, you place an instance of the button symbol on the Stage and assign actions to the instance. You assign the actions to the root timeline of the FLA file. Do not add actions to the timeline of the button symbol. To add actions to the button timeline, use a movie clip button instead.

  1. Choose Edit > Deselect All, or click an empty area of the Stage to ensure that nothing is selected on the Stage.

  2. Choose Insert > New Symbol.

  3. In the Create New Symbol dialog box, enter a name. For the symbol Type, select Button.

    Animate switches to symbol-editing mode. The Timeline changes to display four consecutive frames labeled Up, Over, Down, and Hit. The first frame, Up, is a blank keyframe.

  4. To create the Up state button image, select the Up frame in the Timeline. Then use the drawing tools, import a graphic, or place an instance of another symbol on the Stage.

    You can use graphic symbols or movie clip symbols inside a button, but you cannot use another button symbol.

  5. In the Timeline, click the Over frame, and then choose Insert > Timeline > Keyframe.

    Animate inserts a keyframe that duplicates the contents of the preceding Up frame.

  6. With the Over frame still selected, change or edit the button image on the Stage to create the appearance you want for the Over state.

  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the Down frame and the optional Hit frame.

  8. To assign a sound to a state of the button, select that state’s frame in the Timeline and choose Window > Properties. Then select a sound from the Sound menu in the Property inspector. Only sounds you have already imported appear in the Sound menu.

  9. When you finish, choose Edit > Edit Document. Animate returns you to the main timeline of your FLA file. To create an instance of the button you created on the Stage, drag the button symbol from the Library panel to the Stage.

  10. To test a button’s functionality, use the Control > Test  command. You can also preview the states of a button symbol on the Stage by choosing Control > Enable Simple Buttons. This command allows you to see the up, over, and down states of a button symbol without using Control > Test.

Enable, edit, and test button symbols

By default, Animate keeps button symbols disabled as you create them. Select and then enable a button to see it respond to mouse events. Best practice is to disable buttons as you work and enable them to quickly test their behavior.

  • To select a button, use the Selection tool to drag a selection rectangle around the button.

  • To enable or disable buttons on the Stage, choose Control > Enable Simple buttons. This command acts as a toggle between the two states.

  • To move a button, use the arrow keys.

  • To edit a button, use the Property inspector. If it isn’t visible, choose Windows > Properties.

  • To test the button in the authoring environment, choose Control > Enable Simple Buttons.

  • To test the button in Flash Player, choose Control > Test Movie [or Test Scene] > Test. This method is the only way to test movie clip buttons.

  • To test the button in the Library Preview panel, select the button in the Library and click Play.

Troubleshooting buttons

Use these resources to troubleshoot common problems with buttons:

Additional button resources

The following TechNotes contain instructions for some specific button scenarios:


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Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

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The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online