Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5 : Using the Selection, Direct Select, Hand, and Zoom Tools

8/6/2012 6:09:51 PM
The first four tools in the Tools panel allow you to select objects and navigate within your project.

1. The Selection and Direct Select tools

The first tool on the panel, whose icon is a black arrow, is the Selection tool (see Figure 1). Use this tool to select objects on the stage so that you can modify their properties and to move objects on the artboard.

Figure 1. Selecting Objects with the Selection tool

The white arrow to its right is the Direct Select tool. This tool does not do anything different from the Selection tool when dealing with shapes you draw directly in Catalyst; its primary purpose is to allow you to select items within a group.


For more information on using groups, see the section Grouping Objects.

2. The Hand and Zoom tools

The Hand tool lets you move the artboard on your screen. This tool does not move or select objects on the artboard as the Selection tool does; it simply repositions the artboard. The tool's usefulness becomes apparent once you zoom in on your project and need to view a different section of the artboard without first zooming out (see Figure 2).

The Zoom tool lets you zoom in and out to either get a more detailed look at small objects or to view your entire project. You can zoom in to get a closer look by simply selecting the tool and clicking a spot on the artboard. Press and hold the Alt (Option) key to zoom back out. You can zoom in to 1000 percent and out to 25 percent.

Figure 2. The artboard has been zoomed to a magnification of 200 percent, and the Hand tool is being used to move to a different part of the artboard.

Catalyst Shortcuts

Photoshop and Illustrator users will be familiar with those programs' tool selection shortcuts and happy to find that the same shortcuts exist in Catalyst. With any tool selected, press and hold the Ctrl  key to temporarily switch to the Selection tool. Press and hold the Spacebar while using any tool to temporarily switch to the Hand tool. Pressing Ctrl  and Spacebar simultaneously gives you the Zoom In tool, while pressing Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar switches to the Zoom Out tool.

Most tools also have single-key selectors. Catalyst again uses the shortcuts with which Photoshop and Illustrator users are familiar. Press V at any time to get the Selection, or letter M to get the Rectangle tool. These shortcuts appear in the tooltips when you mouse over the tool on the Tools panel. Note that some tools, such as the Rounded Rectangle and the various polygons, do not have these shortcuts.

You can quickly switch to 100 percent magnification at any time by double-clicking the Zoom tool on the Tools panel. Double-click the Hand tool to jump to a Fit magnification — the level of magnification necessary to view the entire artboard.

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