Fast and Dirty





Start Flash and arrange the panes as you like them.

Remember that it is handy to see object properties. You will also need the actions pane quite a bit.

Rename Layer 1 as text and create a static text box on the stage. Select a suitable font name and size for your text.

Type your passage into the box including all the words that you intend to hide.

the text

Now create a new layer and call it boxes. This will hold the targets for the words that the user is dropping.

The targets will also hide the "missing" words so make sure that the layer is higher up in the layers list than text.


Insert a new symbol (File - Insert Symbol...). Call it box and select the Movie Clip behavior.

When the symbol editor appears, use the rectangle tool to make a rectangular box filled with white (or whatever colour you intend to use as the background) and with either a black hairline border or a white border depending upon if you want it to be visible to the user.

Close the symbol editor and then press F11 to show the library - box should be listed.

You can then drag an instance of it onto the stage in the boxes layer and use the Free Transform tool to adjust its size so it eactly fits over the first of the "missing" words.

the box positioned over the missing word

Carry on dragging instances of box onto the stage and resizing until all the "missing" words are hidden. Remember to keep checking that these objects really are being placed on the boxes layer.

Now click on each box and add a name in the properties pane. It seems logical to call them box1, box2 etc. This is necessary as we will be adding code to the boxes and referring to them in the code. Flash needs a sort of handle for each object so that the code makes sense.

naming an instance

Note that this method of hiding the missing words creates differently sized targets and therefore helps the user place the words. A more demanding activity could be made by typing the text in a set of separate text boxes, missing out the words so that they don't have to be hidden. The text can then be arranged so that same sized boxes are placed in the gaps. This sort of activity can have several "red herring" words e.g. opposites as well.


Create a new layer and call it words.

Use the Text tool to create a static text box on the words layer on the stage. It would be sensible if you selected a different text colour but make sure that the text size is the same as for the original text.

Enter the first word you hid in the text box. The user will drag this into the correct place to fill the gap.

Now select the text and tap the F8 key to convert it to a new Movie Clip symbol called word1.

Finish by naming this instance word1 so that we can refer to it in code later on.

first word

Unfortunately, the word symbols don't automatically have a background. This means that the user has to position the mouse over the letters very precisely when they want to drag them.

The answer is to load each symbol up in the editor by selecting it and then pressing Ctrl and E. You can then use the Rectangle tool to draw a white box with a white border around the text. Leave the editor with Ctrl E to finish editing each word.

you have to add a background

Create the rest of the missing words in the same way, naming them word2, word3 etc and arranging them, suitably mixed-up on the stage. If you are having trouble getting them lined up neatly, try the Modify and then Arrange options (but make sure that to stage is not selected).

Add a suitable instruction to the stage in its own, new, named layer.

This finishes most of the design part of the lesson. Its time to add some code.

add an instruction