Using the Timeline

The Timeline

The timeline is the part of the software where you control what happens on the stage and when. Layers are an important part of the timeline, becuase it is necessary to put each graphic on a separte layer.

Like films, Flash documents divide lengths into frames. Layers are like multiple strips stacked on top of one another, each having different images that appear on the stage. Layers in a document are listed in a column on the left side of the timeline. Frames contained in each layer appear in a row to the right of layer name. The Timeline header at the top of the Timeline indicates the frame numbers. The playhead indicates the current frame displayed on the stage. As a Flash document plays, the playhead moves from left to right through the Timeline.


A keyframe is a frame in which you define a change to an object’s properties for an animation (or include ActionScript code to control some aspect of your document). The order in which frames and keyframes appear in the Timeline determines the order in which they are displayed in Flash. You can arrange keyframes in the Timeline to edit the sequence of events in an animation.

You can perform the following modifications on frames or keyframes:

  • Insert, select, delete, and move frames or keyframes

  • Drag frames and keyframes to a new location on the same layer or on a different layer

  • Copy and paste frames and keyframes

  • Convert keyframes to frames

  • Drag an item from the Library panel onto the Stage to add the item to the current keyframe

To insert a new frame, select Insert -> Frame. To insert a keyframe, select Insert -> Keyframe, or right-click the frame you want to place a keyframe, and select Insert Keyframe from the menu.

Frame-by-Frame Animation

In Flash animation can be done in four basic ways: Motion Tween, Shape Tween, Guided Motion Tween, and Frame-by-Frame Animation. We will learn all types in this class, so we will begin with Frame-by-Frame today. Follow these steps to make your Frame-by-Frame Animation:

  1. Create a text box with a word or two in it and then use Break Apart (Ctrl + B) to separte the letters.

  2. Insert a Keyframe (F6) two frames to the right and move each of the letters to begin an animation sequence.

  3. Repeat the last step many times until finished.

  4. Test the Animation (Ctrl + Enter) and save your file.


  1. Open a new Flash document and make a Frame-by-Frame animation.

  2. Make it simple with only one or two words and 30-60 frames.

  3. Once complete, add some objects to it.

Frame-by-Frame Example: