Use this article to learn about Stage and Tools panel when working with graphic content in Animate CC.

Welcome screen overview

When Animate CC (formerly Flash Professional CC) is running with no documents open, the Welcome screen appears. The Welcome screen contains the following four areas:

Open a Recent Item

Lets you open your most recent documents (click the Open icon).

Create New

Lists Animate file types, such as Animate documents and ActionScript® files.

Create from Template

Lists the templates most commonly used to create Animate documents.


Links to the Animate Exchange website, where you can download helper applications, extensions, and related information.

The Welcome screen also offers quick access to Help resources. You can take a tour of Animate, learn about documentation resources, and find Adobe Authorized Training facilities.

  • To hide the Welcome screen, select Don’t Show Again.

  • To show the Welcome screen, select Edit > Preferences (Windows®) or select Animate > Preferences (Macintosh®), and select Welcome Screen from the On Launch menu in the General category.

Using the Stage

The Stage is the rectangular area where you place graphic content when creating Animate documents. The Stage in the authoring environment represents the rectangular space in Flash Player or in a web browser window where your document appears during playback. A default black outline represents the outline view of the stage.

To change the view of the Stage as you work, zoom in and out. To help you position items on the Stage, you can use the grid, guides, and rulers.

The Timeline and Stage with content.

Zoom the stage

To view the entire Stage on the screen, or to view a particular area of your drawing at high magnification, change the magnification level. The maximum magnification depends on the resolution of your monitor and the document size. The minimum value for zooming out on the Stage is 8%. The maximum value for zooming in on the Stage is 2000%.


You can also use multi-touch gestures in compatible devices.

  • To zoom in on an element, select the Zoom tool  in the Tools panel, and click the element. To switch the Zoom tool between zooming in or out, use the Enlarge  or Reduce  modifiers (in the options area of the Tools panel when the Zoom tool is selected) or Alt‑click (Windows) or Option-click (Macintosh).

  • To zoom in so that a specific area of your drawing fills the window, drag a rectangular selection on the Stage with the Zoom tool.

  • To zoom in on or out of the entire Stage, select View > Zoom In or View > Zoom Out.

  • To zoom in or out by a specified percentage, select View > Magnification, and select a percentage from the submenu or select a percentage from the Zoom control at the upper-right corner of the document window.

  • To scale the Stage so that it fits completely in the application window, select View > Magnification > Fit in Window.
  • To crop the content that flows outside the stage, click the Clip the Content Outside Stage icon .
  • To show the contents of the current frame, select View > Magnification > Show All, or select Show All from the Zoom control at the upper-right side of the application window. If the scene is empty, the entire Stage appears.

  • To show the entire Stage, select View > Magnification > Show Frame or select Show Frame from the Zoom control at the upper-right corner of the document window.

  • To show the workspace surrounding the Stage, or to view elements in a scene that are partly or outside of the Stage area, select View > Pasteboard. The pasteboard appears in light gray. For example, to have a bird fly into a frame, initially position the bird outside of the Stage in the pasteboard and animate it into the Stage area.

Pasteboard color

Earlier, the Pasteboard colors were fixed based on the User Interface theme. From January 2017 release onwards, you can have the pasteboard same as that of Stage color. This feature enables you to work with an infinite canvas. 


Only stage content is visible in the final output. 

Move the view of the Stage

When the Stage is magnified, you may not be able to see all the stage. To change the view without having to change the magnification, use the Hand tool to move the Stage.


You can also use multi-touch gestures in compatible devices.

  • In the Tools panel, select the Hand tool and drag the Stage. To temporarily switch between another tool and the Hand tool, hold down the Spacebar and click the tool in the Tools panel.

Rotate the Stage

Animate CC introduces a new Rotation tool that lets you rotate the Stage view temporarily, to help you draw and paint at a particular angle, without permanently rotating the actual objects on stage as the Free Transform tool does. You can quickly rotate the Stage, regardless of which tool you have currently selected, by holding down the Shift and Space keys together, and then dragging your mouse to rotate the view.

To rotate the stage using the Rotation Tool

  1. Choose the Rotation tool  (H), that is grouped together with the Hand tool  (H) or, press Shift and Space keys together to switch to Rotation Tool temporarily while working with any other tool, such as Brush.

    Rotation Tool on the toolbar

  2. Once the Rotation Tool is selected, Pivot point for rotation appears on screen, indicated by a crosshair. You can change the position of the Pivot point by clicking at the desired position.

    The crosshair pivot point

  3. Once the Pivot point is set, you can drag the mouse to rotate the stage view around the pivot point.

    Rotated stage

  4. Using the stage Rotation Tool, drag to rotate the stage area temporarily. The current rotation angle is indicated by the red line on the Pivot crosshair.

  5. To reset the stage to its default view, click the Center Stage button .

Scale content to fit the stage size

The Scale Content option in PI allows you to scale the contents on your stage according to the stage size. When stage is resized with this option selected, content resizes in the same proportion as the stage.

Scale content option in PI

Scale stage size

The Scale Content option in advanced settings is now directly accessible from PI. When stage is resized with this option selected, content resizes in the same proportion as the stage.

PI and Document Settings dialog box contain a Link option to increase the stage dimensions proportionately. By default, the height and width properties of the stage are unlinked. If you click the Link button and enable linking, as you modify the values of either height or width properties, the value of the other property is changed proportionately.

If you select the Scale Content option, the stage dimensions are automatically linked and disabled. This is because content scaling makes sense if stage dimensions are modified proportionately.

Link button to proportionately scale stage size

Set Canvas Transperancy

You can set the canvas to the transperant mode by selecting the alpha color ranges in percentage in your color swatches. To do so,  select canvas>Properties> Stage> Alpha %.

Scale stage based on selected anchor

You can select an anchor point in Document Settings, specify the height and width, and scale the stage to the dimensions. When ‘Scale Content’ is disabled, the stage expands in the directions according to the selected anchor point, as detailed in the following images.

Anchor points based on which you can scale the stage

Stage scaling: an example

In the following example, the stage measuring 550x400 is proportionately scaled to 750x600 from the anchor point at the bottom right corner of the stage:

Setting stage scaling with the bottom right corner as anchor point

Stage scaled in the set direction from the anchor point at the bottom right corner


You can also use multi-touch gestures in compatible devices.

Use rulers

When rulers show, they appear along the top and left sides of the document. You can change the unit of measure used in the rulers from the default of pixels to another unit. When you move an element on the Stage with the rulers displayed, lines indicating the element’s dimensions appear on the rulers.

  • To show or hide rulers, select View > Rulers.

  • To specify the rulers’ unit of measure for a document, select Modify > Document, and select a unit from the Ruler Units menu.

Use guides

When rulers show (View > Rulers), you can drag horizontal and vertical guides from the rulers onto the Stage.

When you create nested timelines, draggable guides appear on the Stage only when the Timeline in which they were created is active.

To create custom guides or irregular guides, use guide layers.

  • To display or hide the drawing guides, select View > Guides > Show Guides.

    Note: If the grid is visible and Snap to Grid is turned on when you create guides, guides snap to the grid.


  • To turn snapping to guides on or off, select View > Snapping > Snap to Guides.

    Note: Snapping to guides takes precedence over snapping to the grid in places where guides fall between grid lines.


  • To move a guide, click anywhere on the ruler with the Selection tool and drag the guide to the desired place on the Stage.

  • To remove a guide, use the Selection tool with guides unlocked to drag the guide to the horizontal or vertical ruler.

  • To lock guides, select View > Guides > Lock Guides or use the Lock Guides option in the Edit Guides (View > Guides > Edit Guides) dialog box.

  • To clear guides, select View > Guides > Clear Guides. If you are in document-editing mode, all guides in the document are cleared. If you are in symbol-editing mode, only guides used in symbols are cleared.

Set guide preferences

  1. Select View > Guides > Edit Guides and do any of the following:

    • To set Color, click the triangle in the color box and select a guide line color from the palette. The default guide color is green.

    • To display or hide guides, select or deselect Show Guides.

    • To turn snapping to guides on or off, select or deselect Snap To Guides.

    • Select or deselect Lock Guides.

    • To set Snap Accuracy, select an option from the pop‑up menu.

    • To remove all guides, click Clear All. Clear All removes all guides from the current scene.

    • To save the current settings as the default, click Save Default.

  2. Click OK.

Use the grid

The grid appears in a document as a set of lines behind the artwork in all scenes.

Display or hide the drawing grid

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Select View > Grid > Show Grid.

    • Press Control+'' (quote) (Windows) or Command+'' (quote) (Macintosh).

Turn snapping to grid lines on or off

  1. Select View > Snapping > Snap to Grid.

Set grid preferences

  1. Select View > Grid > Edit Grid and select from the options.

  2. To save the current settings as the default, click Save Default.

About the main toolbar and edit bar

The menu bar at the top of the application window contains menus with commands for controlling functionality.

The edit bar, at the top of the Stage, contains controls and information for editing scenes and symbols, and for changing the magnification level of the Stage.

Use the Tools panel

The tools in the Tools panel let you draw, paint, select, and modify artwork, as well as change the view of the Stage. The Tools panel is divided into four sections:


  • The tools area contains drawing, painting, and selection tools.
  • The view area contains tools for zooming and panning in the application window.
  • The colors area contains modifiers for stroke and fill colors.
  • The options area contains modifiers for the currently selected tool. Modifiers affect the tool’s painting or editing operations.


To show or hide the Tools panel, select Window > Tools.

Select tools

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Click the tool in the Tools panel. Depending on the tool you select, a set of modifiers might appear in the options area at the bottom of the Tools panel.

    • Press the tool’s keyboard shortcut. To view the keyboard shortcuts, select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts (Windows) or Animate > Keyboard Shortcuts (Macintosh). On the Macintosh, you might need to move the mouse to see the new pointer appear.

    • To select a tool located in the pop‑up menu for a visible tool such as the Rectangle tool, press the icon of the visible tool and select another tool from the pop‑up menu.

Pressure and Tilt in Paint Brush

Animate CC provides Pressure and Tilt support for strokes drawn using the Paint brush tool. You can draw art and pattern strokes with variable width, dependent on the applied pressure or tilt on the stylus. For further refinement, use the Width tool to adjust the width points.

For more information, see Working with PaintBrush


Pressure and tilt icons in the tool bar are displayed only if you have connected a Wacom pressure-sensitive tablet to your computer.

Use context menus

Context menus contain commands relevant to the current selection. For example, when you select a frame in the Timeline window, the context menu contains commands for creating, deleting, and modifying frames and keyframes. Context menus exist for many items and controls in many locations, including on the Stage, in the Timeline, in the Library panel, and in the Actions panel.

  1. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Macintosh) an item.

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