Tools in Macromedia's products will now be consistent from program to program.

New Paragraph and Text Option palettes add dynamic text functionality.

Transform and Align palettes allow for skewing, rotating and aligning objects in a composition.

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JULY 24, 2000

Flash 5 Gets New Interface

Major upgrade due out in September

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

[Editor's note: We had planned on posting a comprehensive first look at Flash 5 this evening, but that has been delayed. Please stay tuned this week for more Flash details, along with examples and tutorials.]

Macromedia says it's giving Flash a major overhaul, including a whole new interface, for the new version due out in September, with a Flash 5 player scheduled for an August release. The company says the new interface in Flash is the first implementation of a standard interface that will appear in all Macromedia authoring products. Tools will also be consistent across all of Macromedia's authoring line (including a new Bezier pen tool), as will menu organization and keyboard shortcuts. (Flash 5 will also have customizable shortcuts.)

"Within the next six months, the majority of our customers will enjoy a seamless authoring experience across the products they use most often," said Tom Hale, senior vice president of product management, in a prepared statement. "Customers have told us they want a consistent yet customizable UI, and we're committed to delivering on that vision."

Macromedia Flash content will benefit from the tight integration with Macromedia Generatorú Developer Edition for automating Macromedia Flash production workflows. Macromedia FreeHand users will benefit from the ability to import native FreeHand files directly into Macromedia Flash, maintaining the design integrity of the file.

New features in Flash 5 will include:

  • New Bezier pen tool.
  • A Fill and Gradient palette.
  • A Transform palette for rotating, scaling and skewing objects.
  • An Alignment palette.
  • A Character palette for inspecting and editing font, font size, color, kerning, leading and baseline shift, as well as set links for text.
  • An Info palette to edit the size and location of objects.
  • A Text Options palette for setting the parameters for dynamic or text form fields.
  • A Paragraph palette for formatting alignment, indents and paragraph spacing.
  • A Swatches palette to import, sort and save color sets.
  • A Mixer palette for choosing colors in RGB, HSB and Hex and setting alpha transparency, as well as switching between Stroke and Fill colors.
  • A Frame palette for setting motion and shape tweens.
  • A Scene palette for navigating between scenes and managing scene names and scene order.
  • A Sound palette to edit sounds and special effects, such as fades and pans, as well as set loops.
  • An Instance palette for inspecting symbols and instances.
  • An Effect Panel for creating vector graphic effects like color tints and transparencies.
  • "Smart Clips" allow users to share and reuse components of interactive elements in a Flash project.
  • Extended action scripting. The syntax and structure for writing ActionScript is now the same as JavaScript. It also includes a new ActionScript editing environment.
  • Shared Symbol Libraries let teams of users on a project organize and reuse shared media assets across a project.
  • The Movie Explorer enables users to see all the components in a project and their relationships in a hierarchical structure.
  • Export to RealPlayer.

Macromedia Flash 5 is expected to ship in September. The product is available in a standalone version for $399 or as part of the Flash 5 FreeHand 9 Studio for $599. Registered users of Macromedia Flash can upgrade to Flash 5 for $149 or the Macromedia Flash 5 FreeHand 9 Studio for $249. Professional developers who are registered users of Macromedia Flash can purchase the Flash 5 Generator 2 Pro Developer Upgrade for $648. It includes Macromedia Generator 2 Developer Edition at half of its $999 price until Dec. 29. For more information, visit

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