The only object type in Flash, that can detect mouse events is the Button object.
This means that there is only one way to make buttons with Flash: Creating a button object.
This may sound a bit too simplified, but many are confused by the techniques behind the more sophisticated buttons, that we will cover later in this tutorial.
Creating a button that changes upon mouseover-events is extremely simple. All you really have to do is to tell Flash how you want the button to look 1) in normal state, 2) when the mouse moves over the button and 3) when the user clicks the button.
Once you've learned this 3-step technique you can create buttons in seconds.
However, the buttons you create this way are: simple (that's why they're so easy to make anyway).
If you want to create really fancy buttons you should use a slightly different technique based on movie clips.
THE THREE DIFFERENT OBJECT TYPES
Flash handles three types of objects:
You probably allready noticed that when you edit Graphics objects you have the entire timeline available for it.
This means that Graphics objects aren't limited to static elements. You can easily create looping animations - simply by creating Graphic objects that uses more than one frame in the timeline.
Buttons are different from this. When you create a Button object you only have four frames in the timeline.
One is for drawing the button in normal state.
Another is for drawing the button when a mouse-over is detected.
The third is for drawing the button as you want it to look when the user clicks the button.
The last frame is used to specify which area you want mouse events to react to. That is: you can create a button that only reacts to mouseevents on certain areas of the drawing, - like the center of the button for example.
Movie clip objects
The final object-type: Movieclips, is similar to Graphics objects - on the surface.
In both cases you can create entire animations that can be dragged onto your main movie. But while animations made as Graphics objects simply loops over and over you can control the Movieclips completely.
THE TRICK BEHIND FANCY FLASH BUTTONS
You can create more fancy buttons based on very simple programming. (You do not have to be a programmer to learn to do this!).
Actions added to frames give complete access to controlling movieclips. This means that you can use "Play", "Stop", and "Goto Frame" commands on a movieclip, that is triggered when a certain mouse event is detected on a button.
Now - if the button is invisible and placed on top of the movie clip it will work as if the movieclip itself was able to detect mouse events.
The next pages will teach you - step by step - how to create both simple and advanced buttons.