Flash MX: Using the ScrollPane Component

Version: Flash MX
Level: Easy
Preview final movie

This lesson will introduce you to incorporating the Flash MX ScrollPane component into your movies for the purpose of scrolling thumbnails to load external .swf movies.

Step 1: Getting Started

We started by creating a new Flash movie and then creating 8 graphic symbols that will be used as our thumbnails. We also created larger .swf movies for each thumbnail that we'll later load into the main movie.

While this isn't necessary for demonstrating how to create and use the ScrollPane, we thought it would be of greater benefit to demonstrate the technique in a complete project. We have a tutorial on Loading Movies available here.

  1. Select all the graphics and/or buttons you want to scroll and convert them to a Movie Clip by clicking F8 and selecting Movie Clip.
  2. In the Name field, give your Movie Clip a name. If your Symbol window isn't already expanded, click the Advanced button to expand it
  3. Select "Export for ActionScript" under the Linkage section. You'll notice your Movie Clip's name is automatically inserted into the "Identifier" field.
MX ScrollPane Properties

Step 2: Adding the ScrollPane Component

If your Movie Clip is on your stage go a head and select it and delete it. We don't need it on the stage anymore. We only need to have it in the Library so don't delete it from the Library.

  1. Open your Components panel by going to Window>Components
  2. Drag the ScrollPane Component to your stage
  3. Position your ScrollPane where you want it in your movie
Components Panel


Step 3: Customizing the ScrollPane

Now I want to make the ScrollPane fit in my movie and set a couple of parameters for which way I want it to scroll.

  1. For Scroll Content, enter the exact name you named your Movie Clip. In my example, that would be "thumbnailscroll".
  2. Next, click on Horizontal Scroll and set it to "true"
  3. Set Vertical Scroll to "false"
  4. Leave Drag Content to "false"

Note: If you are loading your movie clip images or text dynamically, you would most likely leave the Horizontal and Vertical Scroll fields set to "auto" since this option will only add the scroll bars if the content is greater than the ScrollPane.

Resize the ScrollPane

Resize the ScrollPane by either entering the numeric values in the Properties Inspector for both the Height and Width or simply click Q (Free Transform Tool) and click and drag the ScrollPane to resize it.

You can see my custom settings in the image above. My Movie Clip is 60 pixels high (the size of my thumbnails) so I added an additional 28 pixels to that for the ScrollPane's height.

I matched the width of my ScrollPane to the width of my movie: 300 pixels. Go ahead and preview your movie by clicking F12.

Final Notes:

You may find yourself needing to tweak your Movie Clip a bit. For example, if you notice in my source .fla, I placed a black shape on a layer below my thumbnails. This is because by default the ScrollPane has a white background.

I also extended the black shape a little past each end of the the thumbnails to better position the thumbnail movie once it's loaded into the ScrollPane.

If I had kept the black shape flush left with the first thumbnail, the thumbnail movie would be loaded with the first thumbnail flush against the ScrollPane. I just prefer there to be a bit of a margin on either side of the thumbnails.

Final thumbnails