Library, Timeline and Multi-File Searches in Flash

As promised, I will be giving a more in-depth look at all of the panels in our recently released Panel Pack 1 over the next little while. Hopefully this doesn’t come across as a sales pitch (we actually lose money releasing these panels), I’m just hoping to share some of the work my team has put in over the past few months polishing these up for release.

I wanted to start with gSearch, because it is the most significant panel in terms of technical complexity and functionality.

We built gSearch to address three areas of searching that we felt were lacking (or completely missing) in the Flash IDE:

Searching the Library

gSearch lets you search the library of any FLA by linkage ID, bound class name, folder name, or library name. Clicking on an item in the results will select it in the Library, double clicking it will open the Symbol for editing.

Want to find every symbol in the library that’s bound to the class “FooBar”? Or track down that elusive symbol with the “myButton” linkage identifier? This feature makes it super easy.

Searching Timelines

Provides a simple and reliable way to find items on the timeline. This will search every symbol’s timeline to find matching clip/textfield instance names, library names, linkage IDs, bound classes, frame labels, sound names/linkages. Unlike the built in search feature, this will find instances that are not on stage (ex. in dynamically attached symbols).Double clicking on a result will open the containing timeline to the appropriate layer and frame.

No more hunting in vain for that instance named “foo” that’s referenced in the horrible AS1 code you inherited!

Performing Multi-File Searches

This allows you to select a directory, and perform a search on the contents of scripts in it (including all sub directories). You can use case insensitive searching, and even Regular Expressions. gSearch returns a sortable result list with the file name, type, and the number of matches in the file. Double click a result to open the file for editing. Makes it easy to hunt down every script that used the “myButton” symbol after you’ve used the Library Search to delete it.

This panel is super handy for both coders and designers, particularly if you ever inherit other people’s FLAs, or have to revisit old projects. It’s saved our butts (and others’) a bunch of times, and hopefully it proves useful to others.

For more info, see the gSearch page here.

Grant Skinner

The "g" in gskinner. Also the "skinner".



  1. Awesome! But I’d really love to see some Actionscript search support.

  2. Julian: The file search is just that. A multi-file search that you can point at a directory, and will search all your actionscript files.

  3. Maybe this isn’t what Juilian meant, but what about the ActionScript attached to the timeline of a Flash file, not in external files? We have a lot of legacy Flash stuff that is timeline code to the max.

  4. Can put in a request? How about a panel that allows you to document your projects?

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