(this document applies to Flash 4)


The "outliner" tool -or officially: the "Ink Bottle" tool (silly name)- is perhaps one of the most-overlooked, and often-underused drawing tool in Flash.  This is too bad because this tool has the potential to produce some nice effects. 

What I'm trying to do here is just to point out some of the effects that can be done with the tool.  Just remember, that the effects shown here can be done very easily by varying the LineStyles, LineThickness, and colors.  


Please note that the "Ink Bottle" property can be accessed by several ways: a) clicking the "Ink Bottle"  b) from the "DrawCircle" tool (shown on the left); c) from the "DrawRectangle" tool.  For me, I find it easier to set the property "before" drawing the shape.
Let's draw the black button shown on the left.
1. Click the Circle tool. 
2. Select black as the outline color.
3. Select the default grayscale gradient (Flash preset).
4. Click the LineStyle pulldown and select "Custom" .
5. Set Type to Dotted.
6. Set Thickness to 8.
7. Set Dot Spacing to 3.
8. Click OK.

Now draw the circle to produce something similar to the "gear" shown on above left.

Depending on the size of the circle that you draw, the spaces between the dots may be uneven at the endpoints.  In that case, try drawing another one with slightly different size.



This can be done quickly and easily.
Set Line Thickness to 8.
Select "Dotted" as the line Style.
Set Dot Spacing to 3.
Draw a filled rectangle.


Line Thickness: 8
Line Style: Dotted
Dot Spacing: 1

When creating shape like this, the color combination is important.  If you don't get a good combination, don't give up.


Line Thickness: 4
Line Style: Dashed
Dash Spacing: 6 - 6


Line Thickness: 8
Line Style: Dot
Dot Spacing: 3



When you experiment with the thickness, spacing, and style, you can get something like these. 

Now, you might wonder what these shapes are good for.  I think they're good candidate for buttons.

December 1999
(C) F. Permadi