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Creating accessible content

  1. Adobe Animate User Guide
  2. Introduction to Animate
    1. What's New in Animate
    2. Visual Glossary
    3. Animate system requirements
    4. Animate keyboard shortcuts
    5. Work with Multiple File Types in Animate
  3. Animation
    1. Animation basics in Animate
    2. How to use frames and keyframes in Animate
    3. Frame-by-frame animation in Animate
    4. How to work with classic tween animation in Animate
    5. Brush Tool
    6. Motion Guide
    7. Motion tween and ActionScript 3.0
    8. About Motion Tween Animation
    9. Motion tween animations
    10. Creating a Motion tween animation
    11. Using property keyframes
    12. Animate position with a tween
    13. How to edit motion tweens using Motion Editor
    14. Editing the motion path of a tween animation
    15. Manipulating motion tweens
    16. Adding custom eases
    17. Creating and applying Motion presets
    18. Setting up animation tween spans
    19. Working with Motion tweens saved as XML files
    20. Motion tweens vs Classic tweens
    21. Shape tweening
    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
  5. Workspace and workflow
    1. Creating and managing Paint brushes
    2. Using Google fonts in HTML5 Canvas documents
    3. Using Creative Cloud Libraries and Adobe Animate
    4. Use the Stage and Tools panel for Animate
    5. Animate workflow and workspace
    6. Using web fonts in HTML5 Canvas documents
    7. Timelines and ActionScript
    8. Working with multiple timelines
    9. Set preferences
    10. Using Animate authoring panels
    11. Create timeline layers with Animate
    12. Export animations for mobile apps and game engines
    13. Moving and copying objects
    14. Templates
    15. Find and Replace in Animate
    16. Undo, redo, and the History panel
    17. Keyboard shortcuts
    18. How to use the timeline in Animate
    19. Creating HTML extensions
    20. Optimization options for Images and Animated GIFs
    21. Export settings for Images and GIFs
    22. Assets Panel in Animate
  6. Multimedia and Video
    1. Transforming and combining graphic objects in Animate
    2. Creating and working with symbol instances in Animate
    3. Image Trace
    4. How to use sound in Adobe Animate
    5. Exporting SVG files
    6. Create video files for use in Animate
    7. How to add a video in Animate
    8. Working with video cue points
    9. Draw and create objects with Animate
    10. Reshape lines and shapes
    11. Strokes, fills, and gradients with Animate CC
    12. Working with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
    13. Color Panels in Animate CC
    14. Opening Flash CS6 files with Animate
    15. Work with classic text in Animate
    16. Placing artwork into Animate
    17. Imported bitmaps in Animate
    18. 3D graphics
    19. Working with symbols in Animate
    20. Draw lines & shapes with Adobe Animate
    21. Work with the libraries in Animate
    22. Exporting Sounds
    23. Selecting objects in Animate CC
    24. Working with Illustrator AI files in Animate
    25. Apply patterns with the Spray Brushtool
    26. Applying blend modes
    27. Arranging objects
    28. Automating tasks with the Commands menu
    29. Multilanguage text
    30. Using camera in Animate
    31. Using Animate with Adobe Scout
    32. Working with Fireworks files
    33. Graphic filters
    34. Sound and ActionScript
    35. Drawing preferences
    36. Drawing with the Pen tool
  7. Platforms
    1. Convert Animate projects to other document type formats
    2. Custom Platform Support
    3. Create and publish HTML5 Canvas documents in Animate
    4. Creating and publishing a WebGL document
    5. How to package applications for AIR for iOS
    6. Publishing AIR for Android applications
    7. Publishing for Adobe AIR for desktop
    8. ActionScript publish settings
    9. Best practices - Organizing ActionScript in an application
    10. How to use ActionScript with Animate
    11. Best practices - Accessibility guidelines
    12. Accessibility in the Animate workspace
    13. Writing and managing scripts
    14. Enabling Support for Custom Platforms
    15. Custom Platform Support Overview
    16. Creating accessible content
    17. Working with Custom Platform Support Plug-in
    18. Debugging ActionScript 3.0
    19. 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. Export QuickTime video files
    9. Controlling external video playback with ActionScript
    10. Best practices - Tips for creating content for mobile devices
    11. Best practices - Video conventions
    12. Best practices - SWF application authoring guidelines
    13. Best practices - Structuring FLA files
    14. Best Practices to optimize FLA files for Animate
    15. ActionScript publish settings
    16. Specify publish settings for Animate
    17. Exporting projector files
    18. Export Images and Animated GIFs
    19. HTML publishing templates
    20. Working with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
    21. Quick share and publish your animations

About accessible content

Accessibility overview

You can create content that is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, using the accessibility features that Adobe Animate provides in the authoring environment user interface, taking advantage of ActionScript® designed to implement accessibility. As you design accessible Animate applications, consider how users might interact with the content and follow recommended design and development practices.

Worldwide accessibility standards

Many countries have adopted accessibility standards based on the standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The W3C publishes the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, a document that prioritizes actions designers should take to make web content accessible. For information about the Web Accessibility Initiative, see the W3C website at

In the United States, the law that governs accessibility is commonly known as Section 508, which is an amendment to the U.S. Rehabilitation Act.

For additional information about Section 508, see the following websites:

Understanding screen reader technology

Screen readers are software applications that visually impaired users can use to navigate a website and read the web content aloud. To enable a screen reader to read nontextual objects in your application, such as vector art and animations, use the Accessibility panel to associate a name and description with the object. The keyboard shortcuts you define can allow users to use the screen reader to navigate through your document with ease.

To expose graphic objects, use the Accessibility panel or ActionScript to provide a description.

You cannot control how any screen reader behaves; you can control only the content, which you can mark up in your Animate applications to expose the text and ensure that screen reader users can activate the controls. You decide which objects in the Animate application are exposed to screen readers, provide descriptions for them, and decide the order in which they are exposed to screen readers. You cannot force screen readers to read specific text at specific times or control the manner in which that content is read. Test your applications with a variety of screen readers to ensure that they perform as you expect.

Sound is the most important medium for most screen reader users. Consider how any sound in your document interacts with the text spoken aloud by screen readers. It might be difficult for screen reader users to hear what their screen readers are saying if your Animate application contains loud sounds.

Platform requirements

You can only create Animate content designed for use with screen readers with Windows platforms. Viewers of Animate content must have Macromedia Flash® Player 6 from Adobe or later and Internet Explorer on Windows 98 or later.

Animate and Microsoft Active Accessibility (Windows only)

Flash Player is optimized for Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA), which provides a descriptive and standardized way for applications and screen readers to communicate. MSAA is available only for Windows operating systems. For more information on Microsoft Accessibility Technology, visit the Microsoft Accessibility website at

The Windows ActiveX (Internet Explorer plug‑in) version of Flash Player 6 supports MSAA, but Windows Netscape and Windows stand-alone players do not.

 MSAA is currently not supported in the opaque windowless and transparent windowless modes. (These modes are options in the HTML Publish Settings panel, available for use with the Windows version of Internet Explorer 4.0 or later, with the Animate ActiveX control.) To make your Animate content accessible to screen readers, avoid using these modes.

Flash Player makes information about the following types of accessibility objects available to screen readers that use MSAA.

Dynamic or static text

The principal property of a text object is its name. To comply with MSAA conventions, the name is equal to the contents of the text string. A text object can also have an associated description string. Animate uses the static or dynamic text immediately above or to the left of an input text field as a label for that field.

 Any text that is a label is not passed to a screen reader, but is used as the name of the object that it labels. Labels are never assigned to buttons or text fields that have author-supplied names.

Input text fields

Have a value, an optional name, a description string, and a keyboard shortcut string. An input text object’s name can come from a text object that is above or to the left of it.


Have a state (pressed or not pressed), support a programmatic default action that causes the button to depress momentarily, and optionally have a name, a description string, and a keyboard-shortcut string. Animate uses any text entirely inside a button as a label for that button.

 For accessibility purposes, Flash Player considers movie clips used as buttons with button event handlers such as onPress to be buttons, not movie clips.


Provide special accessibility implementation.

Movie clips

Exposed to screen readers as graphic objects when they do not contain any other accessible objects, or when you use the Accessibility panel to provide a name or a description for a movie clip. When a movie clip contains other accessible objects, the clip itself is ignored, and the objects inside it are made available to screen readers.

 All Animate Video objects are treated as simple movie clips.

Basic accessibility support in Flash Player

By default, the following objects are defined as accessible in all Animate documents and are included in the information that Flash Player provides to screen reader software. This generic support for documents that do not use any accessibility features includes the following:

Dynamic or static text

Text is transferred to the screen reader program as a name, but with no description.

Input text fields

Text is transferred to the screen reader. No names are transferred, except where a labeling relationship is found for the input text, such as a static text field positioned close to the input text field. No descriptions or keyboard shortcut strings are transferred.


The state of the button is transferred to the screen reader. No names are transferred, except where labeling relationships are found, and no descriptions or keyboard shortcut strings are transferred.


The document state is transferred to the screen reader, but with no name or description.

Accessibility for hearing-impaired users

Include captions for audio content that is integral to comprehending the material. A video of a speech, for example, might require captions for accessibility, but a quick sound associated with a button probably wouldn’t.

Methods to add captions to a Animate document include the following:

  • Add text as captions, ensuring that the captions are synchronized with the audio in the Timeline.

  • Use Hi-Caption Viewer, a component available from Hi Software that works with Hi-Caption SE for use with Animate. Captioning Macromedia Animate Movies with Hi-Caption SE, a white paper, explains how to use Hi-Caption SE and Animate together to create a captioned document.

Provide animation accessibility for the visually impaired

You can change the property of an accessible object during SWF file playback. For example, to indicate changes that take place on a keyframe in an animation. However, different vendor’s screen readers treat new objects on frames differently. Some screen readers might read only the new object, whereas other screen readers might re‑read the entire document.

To reduce the chance of causing a screen reader to emit extra “chatter” that can annoy users, avoid animating the text, buttons, and input text fields in your document. Also, avoid making your content loop.

Flash Player can’t determine the actual text content of features such as Text Break Apart to animate text. Screen readers can only provide accurate accessibility to information-carrying graphics such as icons and gestural animation, if you provide names and descriptions for these objects in your document or for the entire Animate application. You can also add supplementary text to your document or shift important content from graphics to text.

  1. Select the object for which you want to change the accessibility properties.
  2. Select Window > Other Panels > Accessibility.
  3. Change the properties for the object.

    Alternatively, use ActionScript to update accessibility properties.

Testing accessible content

When you test your accessible Animate applications, follow these recommendations:

  • Download several screen readers and test your application by playing it in a browser with the screen reader enabled. Check that the screen reader is not attempting to “talk over” places in your document where you inserted separate audio. Several screen reader applications provide a demonstration version of the software as a free download; test as many screen readers as you can to ensure compatibility across screen readers.

  • Test interactive content and verify that users can navigate your content effectively using only the keyboard. Different screen readers work in different ways when processing input from the keyboard; your Animate content might not receive keystrokes as you intended. Test all keyboard shortcuts.

Using Animate to enter accessibility information for screen readers

Animate for screen readers and accessibility

Screen readers read aloud a description of the content, read text, and assist users as they navigate through the user interfaces of traditional applications such as menus, toolbars, dialog boxes, and input text fields.

By default, the following objects are defined as accessible in all Animate documents and are included in the information that Flash Player provides to screen reader software:

  • Dynamic text

  • Input text fields

  • Buttons

  • Movie clips

  • Entire Animate applications

    Flash Player automatically provides names for static and dynamic text objects, which are the contents of the text. For each of these accessible objects, you can set descriptive properties for screen readers to read aloud. You can also control how Flash Player decides which objects to expose to screen readers—for example, you can specify that certain accessible objects are not exposed to screen readers at all.

The Animate Accessibility panel

The Animate Accessibility panel (Window > Other Panels > Accessibility) lets you provide accessibility information to screen readers and set accessibility options for individual Animate objects or entire Animate applications.

 Alternatively, use ActionScript code to enter accessibility information.

If you select an object on the Stage, you can make that object accessible and specify options and tab order for the object. For movie clips, you can specify whether child object information is passed to the screen reader (the default when you make an object accessible).

With no objects selected on the Stage, use the Accessibility panel to assign accessibility options for an entire Animate application. You can make the entire application accessible, make child objects accessible, have Animate label objects automatically, and give specific names and descriptions to objects.

All objects in Animate documents must have instance names for you to apply accessibility options to them. Create instance names for objects in the Property inspector. The instance name is used to refer to the object in ActionScript.

The following options are available in the Accessibility panel:

Make Object Accessible

(Default) Instructs Flash Player to pass the accessibility information for an object to a screen reader. When the option is disabled, accessibility information for the object is not passed to screen readers. Disabling this option as you test content for accessibility can be useful because some objects might be extraneous or decorative and making them accessible could produce confusing results in the Screen Reader. You can then apply a name manually to the labeled object, and hide the labeling text by deselecting Make Object Accessible. When Make Object Accessible is disabled, all other controls on the Accessibility panel are disabled.

Make Child Objects Accessible

(Movie clips only; Default) Instructs Flash Player to pass child object information to the screen reader. Disabling this option for a movie clip causes that movie clip to appear as a simple clip in the accessible object tree, even if the clip contains text, buttons, and other objects. All objects in the movie clip are then hidden from the object tree. This option is useful mainly for hiding extraneous objects from screen readers.

 If a movie clip is used as a button—it has a button event handler assigned to it, such as onPress or onRelease—the Make Child Objects Accessible option is ignored because buttons are always treated as simple clips, and their children are never examined, except in the case of labels.

Auto Label

Instructs Animate to automatically label objects on the Stage with the text associated with them.


Specifies the object name. Screen readers identify objects by reading these names aloud. When accessible objects don’t have specified names, a screen reader might read a generic word, such as Button, which can be confusing.

 Do not confuse object names specified in the Accessibility panel with instance names specified in the Property inspector. Giving an object a name in the Accessibility panel does not give it an instance name.


Lets you enter a description of the object to the screen reader. The screen reader reads this description.


Describes keyboard shortcuts to the user. The screen reader reads the text in this text field. Entering keyboard shortcut text here does not create a keyboard shortcut for the selected object. You must provide ActionScript keyboard handlers to create shortcut keys.

Tab Index ( only)

Creates a tab order in which objects are accessed when the user presses the tab key. The tab index feature works for keyboard navigation through a page, but not for screen reader reading order.

Selecting names for buttons, text fields, and entire SWF applications

Use the Accessibility panel in the following ways to assign names to buttons and input text fields so that the screen reader identifies them appropriately:

  • Use the auto label feature to assign text adjacent or in the object as a label.

  • Enter a specific label in the Accessibility panel name field.

    Animate automatically applies the name that you place on top of, in, or near a button or text field as a text label. Labels for buttons must appear within the bounding shape of the button. For the button in the following example, most screen readers would first read the word button, then read the text label Home. The user can press Return or Enter to activate the button.

    A form might include an input text field where users enter their names. A static text field, with the text Name appears next to the input text field. When Flash Player discovers such an arrangement, it assumes that the static text object serves as a label for the input text field.

    For example, when the following part of a form is encountered, a screen reader reads “Enter your name here.”

    In the Accessibility panel, turn off automatic labeling if it is not appropriate for your document. You can also turn off automatic labeling for specific objects in your document.

Provide a name for an object

You can turn off automatic labeling for part of an application and provide names for the objects in the Accessibility panel. If you have automatic labeling turned on, you can select specific objects and provide names for the objects in the Name text field in the Accessibility panel so that the name is used instead of the object text label.

When a button or input text field doesn’t have a text label, or when the label is in a location that Flash Player can’t detect, you can specify a name for the button or text field. You can also specify a name if the text label is near a button or text field, but you don’t want that text to be used as that object’s name.

In the following example, the text that describes the button appears outside and to the right of the button. In this location, Flash Player does not detect the text, and the screen reader does not read it.

To correct this situation, open the Accessibility panel, select the button, and enter the name and description. To prevent repetition, make the text object inaccessible.

 An object’s accessibility name is unrelated to the ActionScript instance name or ActionScript variable name associated with the object. (This information generally applies to all objects.) For information on how ActionScript handles instance names and variable names in text fields, see About text field instance and variable names in Learning ActionScript 2.0 in Adobe Animate at

Specify a name and description for a button, text field, or entire SWF application

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To provide a name for a button or text field, select the object on the Stage.

    • To provide a name for an entire Animate application, deselect all objects on the Stage.

  2. Select Window > Other Panels > Accessibility.
  3. Select either Make Object Accessible (for buttons or text fields) or the default, Make Movie Accessible (for entire Animate applications).

  4. Enter a name and description for the button, text field, or Animate application.

Define accessibility for a selected object in a SWF application

  1. Select Window > Other Panels > Accessibility.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Select Make Object Accessible (the default setting) to expose the object to screen readers and to enable other options in the panel.

    • Deselect Make Object Accessible to hide the object from screen readers and disable the other options in the panel.

  3. Enter a name and a description for the selected object as needed:

    Dynamic text

    To provide a description for static text, you must convert it to dynamic text.

    Input text fields or buttons

    Enter a keyboard shortcut.

    Movie clips

    Select Make Child Objects Accessible to expose the objects inside the movie clip to screen readers.

     If you can describe your application in a simple phrase that a screen reader can easily convey, turn off Make Children Accessible, and type a suitable description.

Make an entire SWF application accessible

After a Animate document is complete and ready to be published or exported, make the entire Animate application accessible.

  1. Deselect all elements in the document.
  2. Select Window > Other Panels > Accessibility.
  3. Select Make Movie Accessible (the default setting) to expose the document to screen readers.
  4. Select or deselect Make Children Accessible to expose or omit any accessible objects in the document to screen readers.
  5. If you selected Make Movie Accessible in step 2, enter a name and description for the document as needed.
  6. Select Auto Label (the default setting) to use text objects as automatic labels for accessible buttons or input text fields contained in the document. Deselect this option to turn off automatic labeling and expose text objects to screen readers as text objects.

Viewing and creating tab order and reading order

The two aspects to tab indexing order are the tab order in which a user navigates through the web content and the order in which things are read by the screen reader, called the reading order.

Flash Player uses a tab index order from left to right and top to bottom. Customize both the tab and reading order by using the tabIndex property in ActionScript (in ActionScript, the tabIndex property is synonymous with the reading order).

 Flash Player no longer requires that you add all of the objects in a FLA file to a list of tab index values. Even if you do not specify a tab index for all objects, a screen reader reads each object correctly.

Tab order

The order in which objects receive input focus when users press the Tab key. Use ActionScript to create the tab order, or if you have Adobe Animate, use the Accessibility panel. The tab index that you assign in the Accessibility panel does not necessarily control the reading order.

Reading order

The order in which a screen reader reads information about the object. To create a reading order, use ActionScript to assign a tab index to every instance. Create a tab-order index for every accessible object, not just the focusable objects. For example, dynamic text must have tab indexes, even though a user cannot tab to dynamic text. If you do not create a tab index for every accessible object in a given frame, Flash Player ignores all tab indexes for that frame whenever a screen reader is present, and uses the default tab ordering instead.

Create a tab-order index for keyboard navigation in the Accessibility panel

You can create a custom tab-order index in the Accessibility panel for keyboard navigation for the following objects:

  • Dynamic text

  • Input text

  • Buttons

  • Movie clips, including compiled movie clips

  • Components

  • Screens

     You can also use ActionScript code to create a tab-order index for keyboard navigation.

    Tab focus occurs in numerical order, starting from the lowest index number. After tab focus reaches the highest tab index, focus returns to the lowest index number.

    When you move tab-indexed objects that are user-defined in your document, or to another document, Animate retains the index attributes. Check for and resolve index conflicts (for example, two different objects on the Stage with the same tab-index number).

     If two or more objects have the same tab index in any given frame, Animate follows the order in which the objects were placed on the Stage.

  1. Select the object in which to assign a tab order.
  2. Select Window > Other Panels > Accessibility.
  3. If you’re providing an index for the selected object only, in the Tab Index text field, enter a positive integer (up to 65535) that reflects the order in which the selected object should receive focus.
  4. To view a tab order, select View > Show Tab Order. Tab index numbers for individual objects appear in the upper-left corner of the object.
    Tab index numbers

     Tab indexes created with ActionScript code do not appear on the Stage when the Show Tab Order option is enabled.

Specifying advanced accessibility options for screen readers

Turn off automatic labeling and specify an object name for screen readers

  1. On the Stage, select the button or input text field for which you want to control labeling.
  2. Select Window > Other Panels > Accessibility.
  3. Select Make Object Accessible (the default setting).
  4. Enter a name for the object. The name is read as the label for the button or text field.
  5. To turn off accessibility for the automatic label (and hide it from screen readers), select the text object on the Stage.
  6. If the text object is static text, convert it to dynamic text (in the Property inspector, select Text type > Dynamic Text).
  7. Deselect Make Object Accessible.

Hide an object from the screen reader

You can hide a selected object from screen readers, and you can decide to hide accessible objects that are contained inside a movie clip or Animate application and expose only the movie clip or Animate application to screen readers.

 Only hide objects that are repetitive or convey no content.


When an object is hidden, the screen reader ignores the object.

  1. On the Stage, select the button or input text field to hide from the screen reader.
  2. Select Window > Other Panels > Accessibility.
  3. In the Accessibility panel, do one of the following:
    • If the object is a movie clip, button, text field, or another object, deselect Make Object Accessible.

    • If the object is the child of a movie clip, deselect Make Child Objects Accessible.

Create a keyboard shortcut to an object for screen readers

You can create a keyboard shortcut for an object, such as a button, so users can navigate to it without listening to the contents of an entire page. For example, you can create a keyboard shortcut to a menu, a toolbar, the next page, or a submit button.

To create a keyboard shortcut, write ActionScript code for an object. If you provide a keyboard shortcut for an input text field or button, you must also use the ActionScript Key class to detect the key the user presses during Animate content playback. See Key in the ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference. See Capturing keypresses in Learning ActionScript 2.0 in Adobe Animate at

Select the object and add the name of the keyboard shortcut to the Accessibility panel so the screen reader can read it.

Test your Animate content with multiple screen readers. Keyboard shortcut functionality also depends on the screen reader software used. The key combination Control+F, for example, is a reserved keystroke for both the browser and the screen reader. The screen reader reserves the arrow keys. Generally, you can use the 0 to 9 keys on the keyboard for keyboard shortcuts, however, screen readers increasingly use even these keys.

Create a keyboard shortcut

  1. On the Stage, select the button or input text field to create a keyboard shortcut for.
  2. Select Window > Other Panels > Accessibility.
  3. In the Shortcut field, type the name of the keyboard shortcut, using the following conventions:
    • Spell out key names, such as Control or Alt.

    • Use capital letters for alphabetic characters.

    • Use a plus sign (+) between key names, with no spaces (for example, Control+A).

 Animate does not check that the ActionScript to code the keyboard shortcut was created.

Map a keyboard shortcut to a button instance Control+7 to myButton instance

  1. Select the object on the Stage, display the Accessibility panel, and in the Shortcut field, type the key combination of the shortcut. For example, Control+7.
  2. Enter the following ActionScript 2.0 code in the Actions panel:

     In this example the shortcut is Control+7.

    function myOnPress() { 
        trace( "hello" ); 
    function myOnKeyDown() { 
        if (Key.isDown(Key.CONTROL) && Key.getCode() == 55) // 55 is key code for 7 
    var myListener = new Object(); 
    myListener.onKeyDown = myOnKeyDown; 
    myButton.onPress = myOnPress; 
    myButton._accProps.shortcut = "Ctrl+7" 

 The example assigns the Control+7 keyboard shortcut to a button with an instance name of myButton and makes information about the shortcut available to screen readers. In this example, when you press Control+7, the myOnPress function displays the text “hello” in the Output panel. See addListener (IME.addListener method) in ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference at

Creating accessibility with ActionScript

About ActionScript and accessibility

You can create accessible documents with ActionScript® code. For accessibility properties that apply to the entire document, you can create or modify a global variable called _accProps. See the _accProps property in ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference at

For properties that apply to a specific object, you can use the syntax instancename._accProps. The value of _accProps is an object that can include any of the following properties:



Equivalent selection in the Accessibility panel

Applies to



Make Movie Accessible/Make Object Accessible (inverse logic)

Entire documents


Movie clips

Dynamic text

Input text



Make Child Objects Accessible (inverse logic)

Entire documents

Movie clips




Entire documents


Movie clips

Input text




Entire documents


Movie clips

Dynamic text

Input text





Movie clips

Input text

 With inverse logic, a value of true in ActionScript corresponds to a check box that is not selected in the Accessibility panel, and a value of false in ActionScript corresponds to a selected check box in the Accessibility panel.

Modifying the _accProps variable has no effect by itself. You must also use the Accessibility.updateProperties method to inform screen reader users of Animate content changes. Calling the method causes Flash Player to re‑examine all accessibility properties, update property descriptions for the screen reader, and, if necessary, send events to the screen reader that indicate changes have occurred.

When updating accessibility properties of multiple objects at once, include only a single call to Accessiblity.updateProperties (too frequent updates to the screen reader can cause some screen readers to become too verbose).

See the Accessibility.updateProperties method in the ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference at

Implementing screen reader detection with the Accessibility.isActive() method

To create Animate content that behaves in a specific way if a screen reader is active, use the Accessibility.isActive() ActionScript method, which returns a value of true if a screen reader is present, and false otherwise. You can then design your Animate content to perform so that it’s compatible with screen reader use (for example, by hiding child elements from the screen reader). For more information, see the Accessibility.isActive method in the ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference at

For example, you could use the Accessibility.isActive() method to decide whether to include unsolicited animation. Unsolicited animation happens without the screen reader doing anything, which can be confusing for screen readers.

The Accessibility.isActive() method provides asynchronous communication between the Animate content and Flash Player; a slight real-time delay can occur between the time the method is called and the time when Flash Player becomes active, returning an incorrect value of false. To ensure that the method is called correctly, do one of the following:

  • Instead of using the Accessibility.isActive() method when the Animate content first plays, call the method whenever you need to make a decision about accessibility.

  • Introduce a short delay of one or two seconds at the beginning of your document to give the Animate content enough time to contact Flash Player.

    For example, you can use an onFocus event to attach this method to a button. This approach generally gives the SWF file enough time to load and you can assume a screen reader user will tab to the first button or object on the Stage.

Use ActionScript to create a tab order for accessible objects

To create the tab order with ActionScript® code, assign the tabIndex property to the following objects:

  • Dynamic text

  • Input text

  • Buttons

  • Movie clips, including compiled movie clips

  • Timeline frames

  • Screens

Provide a complete tab order for all accessible objects. If you create a tab order for a frame and you don’t specify a tab order for an accessible object in the frame, Flash Player ignores all the custom tab-order assignments. Additionally, all objects assigned to a tab order, except frames, must have an instance name specified in the Instance Name text field of the Property inspector. Even items that are not tab stops, such as text, need to be included in the tab order if they are to be read in that order.

Because static text cannot be assigned an instance name, it cannot be included in the list of the tabIndex property values. As a result, a single instance of static text anywhere in the SWF file causes the reading order to revert to the default.

To specify a tab order, assign an order number to the tabIndex property, as the following example shows:

_this.myOption1.btn.tabIndex = 1 
_this.myOption2.txt.tabIndex = 2

See tabIndex in Button, MovieClip, and TextField in the ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference at

You can also use the tabChildren() or tabEnabled() methods to assign custom tab order. See MovieClip.tabChildren, MovieClip.tabEnabled, and TextField.tabEnabled in the ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference at

Using accessible components

A core set of UI components accelerates building accessible applications. These components automate many of the most common accessibility practices related to labeling, keyboard access, and testing and help ensure a consistent user experience across rich applications. Animate includes the following set of accessible components:

  • SimpleButton

  • CheckBox

  • RadioButton

  • Label

  • TextInput

  • TextArea

  • ComboBox

  • ListBox

  • Window

  • Alert

  • DataGrid

For each accessible component, enable the accessible portion of the component with the enableAccessibility() command. This command includes the accessibility object with the component as the document is compiled. Because no simple way exists to remove an object after it is added to the component, these options are disabled by default. Therefore, it’s important that you enable accessibility for each component. Perform this step only once for each component; you do not need to enable accessibility for each instance of a component for a given document. See “Button component”, “CheckBox component”, “ComboBox component”, “Label component”, “List component”, “RadioButton component”, and “Window component” in the ActionScript 2.0 Components Language Reference at

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