Supporting the drag-out gesture

Adobe AIR 1.0 and later

To support the drag-out gesture, you must create a Clipboard object in response to a mouseDown event and send it to the NativeDragManager.doDrag() method. Your application can then listen for the nativeDragComplete event on the initiating object to determine what action to take when the user completes or abandons the gesture.

Preparing data for transfer

To prepare data or an object for dragging, create a Clipboard object and add the information to be transferred in one or more formats. You can use the standard data formats to pass data that can be translated automatically to native clipboard formats, and application-defined formats to pass objects.

If it is computationally expensive to convert the information to be transferred into a particular format, you can supply the name of a handler function to perform the conversion. The function is called if and only if the receiving component or application reads the associated format.

For more information on clipboard formats, see Clipboard data formats .

The following example illustrates how to create a Clipboard object containing a bitmap in several formats: a Bitmap object, a native bitmap format, and a file list format containing the file from which the bitmap was originally loaded:

import flash.desktop.Clipboard; 
import flash.display.Bitmap; 
import flash.filesystem.File; 
public function createClipboard(image:Bitmap, sourceFile:File):Clipboard{ 
    var transfer:Clipboard = new Clipboard(); 
    transfer.setData("CUSTOM_BITMAP", image, true); //Flash object by value and by reference 
    transfer.setData(ClipboardFormats.BITMAP_FORMAT, image.bitmapData, false); 
    transfer.setData(ClipboardFormats.FILE_LIST_FORMAT, new Array(sourceFile), false); 
    return transfer; 

Starting a drag-out operation

To start a drag operation, call the NativeDragManager.doDrag() method in response to a mouse down event. The doDrag() method is a static method that takes the following parameters:




The object from which the drag originates, and which dispatches the dragStart and dragComplete events. The initiator must be an interactive object.


The Clipboard object containing the data to be transferred. The Clipboard object is referenced in the NativeDragEvent objects dispatched during the drag-and-drop sequence.


(Optional) A BitmapData object to display during the drag. The image can specify an alpha value. (Note: Microsoft Windows always applies a fixed alpha fade to drag images).


(Optional) A Point object specifying the offset of the drag image from the mouse hotspot. Use negative coordinates to move the drag image up and left relative to the mouse cursor. If no offset is provided, the top, left corner of the drag image is positioned at the mouse hotspot.


(Optional) A NativeDragOptions object specifying which actions (copy, move, or link) are valid for the drag operation. If no argument is provided, all actions are permitted. The DragOptions object is referenced in NativeDragEvent objects to enable a potential drag target to check that the allowed actions are compatible with the purpose of the target component. For example, a “trash” component might only accept drag gestures that allow the move action.

The following example illustrates how to start a drag operation for a bitmap object loaded from a file. The example loads an image and, on a mouseDown event, starts the drag operation.

import flash.desktop.NativeDragManager; 
import mx.core.UIComponent; 
import flash.display.Sprite; 
import flash.display.Loader; 
import flash.system.LoaderContext; 
import flash.geom.Point; 
import flash.desktop.Clipboard; 
import flash.display.Bitmap; 
import flash.filesystem.File; 
public class DragOutExample extends UIComponent Sprite { 
    protected var fileURL:String = "app:/image.jpg"; 
    protected var display:Bitmap; 
    private function init():void { 
    private function onMouseDown(event:MouseEvent):void { 
        var bitmapFile:File = new File(fileURL); 
        var transferObject:Clipboard = createClipboard(display, bitmapFile); 
                            new Point(-mouseX,-mouseY)); 
    public function createClipboard(image:Bitmap, sourceFile:File):Clipboard { 
        var transfer:Clipboard = new Clipboard(); 
                            // ActionScript 3 Bitmap object by value and by reference 
                            // Standard BitmapData format 
                            new Array(sourceFile),  
                            // Standard file list format 
        return transfer;  
    private function loadImage():void { 
        var url:URLRequest = new URLRequest(fileURL); 
        var loader:Loader = new Loader(); 
        loader.load(url,new LoaderContext()); 
        loader.contentLoaderInfo.addEventListener(Event.COMPLETE, onLoadComplete);       
    private function onLoadComplete(event:Event):void { 
        display =; 
        var flexWrapper:UIComponent = new UIComponent(); 
        flexWrapper.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, onMouseDown); 

Completing a drag-out transfer

When a user drops the dragged item by releasing the mouse, the initiator object dispatches a nativeDragComplete event. You can check the dropAction property of the event object and then take the appropriate action. For example, if the action is NativeDragAction.MOVE, you could remove the source item from its original location. The user can abandon a drag gesture by releasing the mouse button while the cursor is outside an eligible drop target. The drag manager sets the dropAction property for an abandoned gesture to NativeDragAction.NONE .

// Ethnio survey code removed